Aug 8, 2008

t-minus 3 weeks till the Grand Teton 50 miler

Seen on the LIE in Queens. This bumper sticker normally says "this car climbed..", I love this modification & wish there were more like it.

There I was, somewhere on the Kakiat Trail, just starting what would probably be my longest *trail* run before the grand teton 50 miler, about a half-mile from the parking lot where my wife dropped me off, right above an exposed rocky area & right below an exposed rocky area, when a severe thunderstorm paid a visit. It scared the living daylights out of me. It pinned me in place, crouched on a small rock, for about a half-hour before I felt like I could resume the run.

Calling it a "run" is a little bit of a stretch, because most of the trail was a sprained-ankle-mine field of wet rocks everywhere - too technical to run safely. So I powerwalked hills with reckless abandon, racking up about 3500 vertical feet of climbing (and about that much descending) over twelve miles or so. My moving time was 4 hours, and that 20/minute pace is about what I'll need in three weeks to finish the Grand Teton 50-mile ultramarathon under the 17-hour cutoff. The good news is that I finished with a TON of energy, the course is not nearly as technical as Harriman, and there won't be as much climbing per mile. Bad news is that it was only 12 miles, and my legs are going to be hatin' me in three weeks at about mile 40. This weekend will be my last opportunity for a super-long run before the race, and I am planning on waking up early tomorrow and going at least 12 miles, but I'm secretly hoping to do 18 or maybe even 21.

Next weekend, with only two weeks to go, I probably won't do as much, but I do want to run at least a mile every day during the next two weeks because that kind of streak seems to do wonders for my fitness in general. I also intend to lose about 15 lbs in the next three weeks, getting to 275 and making the GT50 as easy as possible (I've already lost 10 in the last week.)

My flight, by the way, leaves on August 22 and I'll be arriving in Denver. We'll be spending two weeks in the area. There is no itinerary except for the race itself, but I do know that I'd like to spend most of that time in the outside of cities. Si I'll probably hike Mt. Elbert (highpoint of Colorado) early in the week (Sunday?) to acclimatize a little and to get a last-minute hill workout, then kind of meander around the rockies, gradually working our way back north, until we get to the Jackson area to do the race. After that, it's completely up in the air. We may go west towards Utah, Arizona & Nevada, or maybe east towards the Dakotas and Mount Rushmore. I like the idea of having no itinerary - this is going to be a stress-free vacation and if I spend a lot of time lying on an easy chair outside a swimming pool with a view of the rockies, I won't be that disappointed.

If you're interested, I plan to use twitter to send status updates from the race as it happens, and you'll also be able to follow my progress here:

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