Western States in June. Hardrock 13 days later in July. And now, its official, UTMB in August. Bam. Bang. BOOM! 2013 is going to kick ass. 2013 is going to kick my ass, to be more specific. To assist with the altitude factor at each race- mostly at Hardrock- the good folks at Hypoxico were kind enough to set me up with an altitude tent. Right now it’s still sitting in a box on the living room floor but pretty soon I’ll be sleeping high and training low. I’ve heard over and over from stud runners who live at altitude and travel low for races how the “extra” oxygen makes them feel beastly. I can attest to this feeling from my own experiences when returning to sea level after weeks spent at altitude. It sometimes can be hard to compete against guys (and gals) who live and train high, in my opinion. When I look back at my 100 mile race results not always but often I see those who finished ahead of me live at altitude or train at altitude or both. I’ll be very curious to see how experimenting with an altitude tent pans out. Hopefully in the very least it can help provide that extra 1% to 2% that I need, or that I think I need, to better compete at long distance, mountainous runs.
As per usual each year, running in January is beginning to feel really good. Not too long ago it seemed difficult to shake the soreness from my legs. From the knees down they simply did not want to cooperate. They felt tight. (I winced.) They ached. (I whined.) They felt sore. (I groaned.) That is to be expected after a long year of running followed by a full month off I suppose. Now I’m feeling fairly springy from the bed as soon as my feet touch the floor. Better still, after a run I feel strong and hardly sore at all. Hopefully I can ride this feel-good state all the way through to the end of August but I realize that is simply not possible- definitely not with the 100s I have lined up at least. I also think the shoes I ran in mostly during December were too worn down. Note to self: stop running in shoes the first time you think they’re worn down, not the tenth.
The spring schedule at this point is wide open. Next month I will run a counter-clockwise loop of Dennis Herr’s TWOT (The Wild Oak Trail), followed two weeks later by another speed attempt on the Rivanna Trail. Speaking of which, folks, I have received confirmation from nine runners who plan to show up for the Rivanna Trail time trial. Honestly, that is about double the size I expected so it’s shaping up to be a fun morning about town. Next Sunday, the 27th, we’re running another loop from Riverview at 7:00am. Again, for those who wish to run it is a good idea to get to know the loop. C'mon on out!
Other than TWOT and the Rivanna Trail, event wise, not much else is piquing my interest for this spring. Certainly a return to Promise Land in April would be epic but we will be soaking up rays in Hawaii that week. Running the Appalachian Trail from point-to-point through the Shenandoah National Park is the only other thing that really gets me excited when I consider running options for the spring. I'm seriously considering doing that. I’m pretty sure all of this will soon change and I’ll be adding events; in the very least a few local short distance events, like the Montalto Challenge. Sadly, we'll also be out of town the weekend of the Charlottesville 10 miler. Damn it.