Wrapping Up 2017...and my 30s
Last night I went on a quick happy hour run on the trails at Cherokee - our urban park not far from my house, which has a 5ish mile loop with some small hills. I was solo and I took the time to think. Which sometimes is not really thinking - it's a clearing of the head and focusing just on the task at hand. I enjoyed the sunset and pretty leaves and reflected on the beauty of this local park I have at my fingertips.
Before it got dark, I stopped to revel in the dusk, by myself. And capture the moment. I don't usually run on Fridays but I had some mileage to catch up on from earlier in the week, and I had the time (and I had a rest day on Monday). I kept my pace easy, though I was underdressed for the cold temperature and had to go a bit faster just to stay warm enough.
Anyway, I'm training again. After 3 weeks of mostly rest after the 50-miler, I decided it was time to plan what was next. 2018 is planned with two big races and a 24 week training plan was built for the March race, but I was intrigued by a more local trail 100K (62 miles) that is in December. I read a blog post about it that made it sound ridiculously hard. I needed something that scared me. Something maybe out of my league, but maybe attainable if the stars align. I thought about it for awhile, did some research, talked to Mike (my husband) about crewing me, and then signed up.
The race is December 2-3 near London, KY (closer to Manchester, KY though) and is 62 miles with 12,000 net upward elevation (which is the same as the 50-miler I just did). There appear to be some very steep climbs but the course is also quite hilly with ups and downs, which is different from MN which was more just steep long climbs. There will be fall/winter challenges with the weather and the leaves on the ground covering roots and rocks. I keep thinking I will need to bring 8 pairs of gloves so I can always put on a dry pair. It will be a very small race and from what I can tell, primarily runners who are more experienced than me, and likely faster. I will be alone. I will definitely be running the last many miles in the dark. I have plotted out pace scenarios and aid stations on a spreadsheet. I have started to think about gear and need to practice running in cold weather. I have arranged for a pacer for the last 10 miles.
I have been adding in stairclimber workouts and yoga for this training cycle, along with some more strength work. Still have not done much biking and I need to get to that starting this upcoming week. Last weekend I did an adventure run out in Hoosier National Forest with a few friends, and that was fun but 25 miles was the furthest I had run since the 50-miler, and I could tell! It was also a hot day for November (in the 70s) and I could have done a better job hydrating and fueling for that weather. I ran out of water with over 3 miles left!
On December 6th, I'll be 40. No matter what happens the weekend before at the 100K, I have had a really great year. A great year of development and growth and fitness and fun, pushing myself and listening to my body and learning about being an ultra runner, but also of translating those things I've learned to my home life with family and work. I've been doing a lot of reflecting this year, and I am always striving to become a better person. Bring on the last few weeks of 100K training!