Aug 19, 2008

Grand Teton 50-mile ultramarathon: 10 days to go!

Sorry about having another Rizzo photo - but that tooth won't be missing forever, and I want to get my laughs while I can!

Right now is Tuesday afternoon. On Friday Morning, I'll be boarding a flight for Denver, Colorado - and then making my way over the next week to the Jackson area in Wyoming to compete in the Grand Teton 50 miler..

Holy crap!

I'm a lot of excited and nervous right now.

The main thing to me.. is how much "new" there will be. Think about it: about 10,000 feet of climbing in a day. The most I've ever done is about 4500. Also, 50 miles in a day. The most I've done is 31. Either one I'm sure I can handle. Both on the same day? oh boy.. And the other thing - are my trail runs around Harriman really sufficient for this kind of task? I don't know..

On the other hand...

I don't have to go fast. Because the race coincides with a 100-mile ultra (competitors run 4 laps), the time limit is very generous on my measly two laps, and as long as I keep going, I can finish no matter how slow I go. So this really is a test for myself.. No matter how sore I get, no matter how tired I get, no matter how much pain I go through with each excruciating step, I know I can keep going. The only thing that would stop me is an actual acute injury.. Sherpa John wrote to me once. He said, "Mental Toughness... through this you WILL accomplish ANYTHING." Am I as mentally tough as I like to think I am? Well.. I'm going to find out..

Cut the sappy crap, steve. What's the deal with your training?

I know I'm ready for very technically rocky terrain - which I don't think is an issue there, judging from people's photographs. Rolling hills, I've got covered. I've surprised myself lately at how well I handle them. My daily mileage is pretty pathetic - almost non-existent - but I'm very pleased with my long runs. Two days ago I went 22 miles, super slow, hit some hills late in the run, and felt great. It was my longest "training run" ever. I felt even better the next day - it was the first time ever I felt somewhat "normal" the day after going more than 15 miles.

Then again, I hold no delusions. 22 miles on asphalt with 1300' of climbing is a lot different than 50 miles on trails with 10,000'. But, as I said above, it's all about being very conservative, taking advantage of the generous time limit. With that in mind, I know for a fact that I'm going to LOVE this race. Looking over the competitor list, I saw a couple of names that I recognized - some from personal correspondence, others from being famous names in ultrarunning. Plus - it's the Grand Teton area! How awesome is that?? I can't wait!

Provided that I have a signal (I think I will), I will try to send short updates on my condition during the race via Twitter. You can follow that at this URL: (this also updates my facebook status.)

Also, if you're ever curious as to where I am while I wander around the rocky mountains for the week before (and after) the race, you can sometimes get updated information here:

I might climb mount elbert (highpoint of colorado) on Sunday or Monday. I don't know. On one hand, I think it'll really help with my hill training, especially at altitude. On the other, will I have enough recovery time? dunno.. it's only 9 miles round trip.. but with something like 4500-5000 feet of climbing, it's hard to judge. I tend to recover from that kind of workout quickly, but it's impossible to know if I'll be regretting it at mile 27, 5 days later..

That's it for now. I'll post again before the race.


  1. You can do it Steve! Just keep moving!

  2. Well Steve, just keep moving up Fred's Mountain. I did the 100 last year and will be back again this year. The climbing is a bear, but if you take your time it is easily doable.

    Best of luck to you !

  3. thanks!!