I’ve been casting about for a goal for the last year or so, something physical, something hard, something worth doing for the experience of doing it. It began to coalesce in November as some kind of long distance running race, gained clarity on a Rim-River-Rim push at the Grand Canyon in mid-December, and was finally nailed down when I decided to run the Leadville 100 this August.
Leadville is a 100 mile race above 10,000′ out in Colorado. It’s considered to be one of the tougher 100s to finish and if you do, is a worthwhile accomplishment. It’s a hard race, but not impossible, and definitely meets the requirements of a physical goal. I’m in.
I’ve trained for races before, as a swimmer, a runner, a Naval Pentathlete, and a paddleboarder. I used to hold two-a-days as the holy grail of training, basically thinking that mo’ trainin’ is mo’ bettah. At 35 and a couple of wins plus a couple of injuries behind me, I’m through that phase.
Some of the best advice I got (although I didn’t use it at the time) came from a crusty old Navy Masterchief named Lucky Verlinde, the coach of the US Navy Pentathlon team while I was there. He was a huge proponent of listening to your body and not being afraid to try new things. With only 8 months to go from 7 miles a week to the fastest possible 100 in 30 hours or less, I’m dedicating this effort to really tuning in to what my body is telling me. This means pretty minimal mileage per week, a norm of 3 workouts a week with the occasional extra lifting session thrown in, and a TON of recovery time. The basic set up is 1 day of tough distance (plenty of hills & elevation), 1 day of sprints/repeats, and 1 day of heavy lifting (squats, deadlifts, and cleans.)
I’ve found a local running buddy (Lauren M) who is into running enough to not be afraid to push hard, have got a good support group in the form of wife, dogs, and my local crew, and my good friend Kevin Montford out in Colorado has already signed up for the race, so I’ll have someone to chase.
Lauren and I kicked off the “official” training on Tuesday, January 15th with a 7 miler in Mission Gorge doing the Fortuna loop, and then hit 5 x 800s in the park today. It’s begun.
Am I crazy? We’ll see in 8 months. In the meantime, follow along on this path of running discovery.