But you can’t take the girl out of ultras 🙂
If you have been paying super close/stalkerish attention to my tweets lately, you may have noticed that I haven’t quite hit my offseason. I took a week easy after IMAZ to get my legs back under me, and then started to test the waters because I had one last Bonus Race planned for 2011 (C’mon…you know I can’t be a devout follower of the Biscay way without a bonus race in mind!)
On Friday I will be running the Hellgate 100K. This is one of Dr. Horton’s well-known ultra events in the Virginia mountains and has been on my bucket list for quite some time. Back in September I was pondering a way to capitalize on the fitness I felt would be there after IMAZ. First I thought maybe a 5k? Nah….A marathon? Maybe finally break that 3:30 barrier? Nope…..a 100k sounds so much more appealing 🙂 After being accepted into the race I put it on the back burner and only brought it back out after Arizona. I wasn’t hell-bent on racing this. While I wanted to, I’m well aware of what an ultra takes mentally and physically. It wasn’t until this past weekend when I decided that I did have it in me, and more importantly, I *wanted* to run this.
One of the great things about the Ironmans this year is that they taught me a new kind of mental toughness in racing. But the one thing that has been missing from these races is the element of survival. The primitive simplicity of an ultra – just you, your shoes, and the trail. Having to get from point to point on foot, over the rivers and through the woods (okay now I’m just being dramatic). No bikes to worry about getting a flat on, no fancy wetsuits. There’s something to be said about the satisfaction that comes from the survival element of an ultra. In an ironman there is always another competitor at arms length. In an ultra, you may run by yourself for the entire day. That solace in the solitude of racing in the mountains is something that I have missed and am excited to have time to experience it again this year!
Another reason I’m excited for the race is that Carly will be pacing me the last 20 or so miles (her first experience in an ultra!) and Ryan will be rounding out the fearless crew to get me through the day. Here is a link to an “interactive” story about the race. You will note that this event actually starts at 12:01 am on Friday night. I have done a 6pm ultra start before – never later than that – so this will surely be interesting. One thing is for sure about making all the runners run through the night is that it does tend to equal the playing field a little bit. Though, this course is tough enough it’s known to equal the playing field regardless….I would consider 15-16 hours a good time for me to finish in, making this a very tough course.
So the rest of week will be some light days on the legs and more so logistical planning – it’s been a while since I’ve had to plan drop bags or crew directions!