The week of July 6-12 saw a lot of progress in my recovery from the Mohican 100. I covered 70 miles for the week, including a 31-mile weekend. Although right now I'm fighting some minor plantar faciitis that I'm treating with ice, overall I feel pretty good and am closing in on a total recovery.
With the Buckeye Trail 50K (July 18) and Burning River 100 (Aug. 1) around the corner, it is easy to feel tempted to enter these very popular local races, but I'm not going to because I need to focus on recovery and preparing for what's next. The lure of the BR100 is especially strong, as it was my first 100 (2007) and this year's race is attracting a very competitive field. Fortunately, the fact that I've already committed to returning as pacer for the reigning BR100 champ, Tim Clement, will keep me out of the 100 and on track for two quality 50-milers this October and December, respectively.
At some point, I will go for two, three or more 100s in a single year, but that won't happen in 2009. I need to decide what's more important--trying to break 2:50 in a marathon I have no shot at winning, or reaching whatever potential I may have as a 100-mile runner who has a shot to win some races. Seems like the decision may be easy. More immediately, it'll be interesting to see what I can do in a 50-miler.
Which brings me to what's next. I've registered for the Tussey Mountainback 50-Mile race, which will serve as the USA Track & Field 50-mile national championship and be held in State College, Penn., and also for The North Face Endurance Challenge Championship Gore-Tex 50-Mile Race in San Francisco on Dec. 5. Between now and then, I have some miles to run, some hills to scale (a la repeats) and some track intervals to hammer. The goal is to create a me with super-strong hill legs, excellent turnover and beastly endurance. I do not intend to run either race like a chump, or to show up in San Francisco just happy to be there.
I first need to get rid of this plantar faciitis. Plantar scares me, because I've seen the havoc it can wreak over a period of months.
Before I sign off, I want to throw out a big congrats to two ultrarunners I really admire. Hal Koerner of Ashland, Ore. won a very hot 2009 Western States 100 with a blazing-fast time of 16:24. Hal was the reigning champ from 2007 (the 2008 race was canceled due to wildfires) and beat an outstanding field. Held in California's beautiful Sierra Nevada region, the WS100 starts at the Squaw Valley Ski Resort and ends in Auburn, traversing mountains, ridges and canyons. I admire Hal's strength and tenacity.
Congratulations to another incredible ultrarunning talent, Karl Meltzer, on his win at the Hardrock Hundred in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado. With 66,000 feet of climb and descent and an average elevation of 11,000 feet, Hardrock is generally considered to be the most challenging 100 in the nation. This was Karl's fifth career Hardrock win and his third 100-mile win of 2009. He also won the Masanutten and Big Horn 100s and, from what I hear, is out to collect seven 100-mile victories this year to break the record he set in 2006, when he became the first person to ever win six 100s in a single calendar year. At 41 years of age, Karl is amazing and simply doesn't seem to have many limits to what he can do in mountain races and at altitude.
The goal this week is log 75 miles and start getting in some good quality, with hill-repeat and track workouts. I still haven't decided what my track program will look like, so for now I'm going to stick to mile repeats and may squeeze in a few 800s and 1200s.
Onward and upward!