Thursday, July 2, 2009

Way Out from Western States...

I have been going through various race reports from trail runners that took on the Western States 100 this past weekend and I have concluded that I have some experience and improvement to gain before even thinking about taking on the training for the gold standard of 100 milers.

This probably isn't such a bad thing.

I am only 30 years old. Local trail superstar Kevin Sullivan is in his later 30's, as is Scott Dunlap, whose blog I read quite often. I'd like to think that in the span of 5 to 10 years I can keep improving my fitness to regain the fitness I enjoyed as a college runner, before making the worst decision of my life - giving up on running entirely.

On a smaller level, I have trail friends, who I also consider superstars, that are going on to earn the "Mountain Goat" award for running all 6 USATF-NE Mountain Running Series races. Even this series is something I'd love to take on, but I know I just don't have the fitness to do it. I am working on it, but the fact remains that my body composition is still in flux, and I need to be careful what I do.

Just last week I threw in a hill workout on a beast of a hill in the area. It really is a great hill. Long, steep, and uneven, which is perfect for training all those muscle groups in the legs that are needed. I am also throwing in a little more raw speed work. Yes, I would get faster by running more miles, but as a coach I know that the way to get faster is to challenge the body on a weekly basis with speed work. There is more 'coach speak' about this principle, but I really don't think it matters too much. A couple years ago when I started running again I was hoping to one day get back into being able to do a long run. I think I have aptly accomplished that with last year's marathon training, and this year's dipping of toes into the land of Ultra Running. Now the goal shifts to increasing the long runs to challenge 50k and 50 miles this Fall, but also to get stronger and faster with speed and hills.

I think 2010 will be my Mountain Goat attempt, and after that I can start thinking about Western States (or any 100), perhaps in 2011 and 2012.

Of course this is all just thinking out loud. I definitely want to make an attempt at 50 miles soon, but I also have some unfinished business with 50k. All this thinking really makes me appreciate the encouragement of friends, and the discussion of how with the right plan, anything is possible. One day in the future I'll look at my GAC 6 Hour time and distance, and it will seem silly, but the real memory should be how much I learned on that run about having a good pacer with a great plan. Not unlike my "First 5k" walkers and runners, I just shows the possibility of pushing the limits of one's potential.

Happy Trails!

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