This weekend marks the first weekend of a series for me. I have three ultras in three weeks in a row. The first is the 12-hour Adventure Trail Run in Triangle, VA. It's a 6.5 mile loop course that you do as many times as you can in 12 hours. 6:15 am to 6:15 pm. This being the first, I would like to do well. For most people, myself included, finishing an ultra is doing well. Looking at my past times, and what I think I am capable of, I am going to shoot for 10 laps. 65 miles. Really pushing towards the end of the race, 11 laps might be doable. I'm not too worried about it, I'm just going to go about this race the same as I do every race. Run how I feel. If I can go faster without killing myself in the later hours, I will. If I need to slow down, I will.
Having the race so close to home is nice both for me and my "crew." They can drop in and out and check up as needed but it also helps that it's a loop. I'll come back to the same place every time.
I'll let you know how this race goes afterward.
Next weekend is the Great Eastern Endurance Run 100k (62.2 miles). This race sandwiched in between two is probably a good thing because, barring all tragedies, it will be the shortest. Yet, it has another element thrown into the mix. Mountains. Now, some people say it's only a mountain if there is a tree line. Well, then it is a race with four mile long, steep, rocky, rooty, twisty hills. Either way, that one I will also run how I feel. This race will probably take the most strategy because the very next week is the Grindstone 100 mile. I will have to run semi-conservatively and focus on not annihilating my legs. There is no point in killing myself over this race, even though there is a $500 purse to the first person to break 10 hours. I personally think that will take a Kieth Knipling or someone like that to break that one. The first place guy last year got 10:37...and he was flying. Anyway, I'll have an update for that one as well.
The week after that, two weeks from tomorrow (yes, it starts on a Friday), is the Grindstone 100. http://www.eco-xsports.com/grindstone.php This is the website. This race has a big name to live up to in my mind because of the initial paragraph on the website:
"Grit, endurance, temporary loss of sanity. You might need all of these if you want to attempt Grindstone. If you want to finish, well, just keep in mind this is, without a doubt, the hardest 100 miler east of the 100th meridian."
On top of it being the hardest on this coast, I will have about 120 race miles on my legs from the previous two weeks, and that's not including the daily stuff that keeps me sane. It starts at 6 pm to level the playing field. Most 100's start early morning and the front of the pack runner's are all trying to beat daylight so they don't have to run in the dark. Most front of the pack runners still have to run in the dark for a little while, just not as long. This puts the back of the pack at a disadvantage because no one runs 100 percent as well in the dark. It just doesn't happen. Its going to be tough, and I hope it lives up to it's name.
...And that's all I have to say about that.