I think it might be a good idea to post more often than just every six months or so. This way, I won't have to recap all of life's events in order to keep everything straight.
I'd love to say that the months since my last post were spent in the mountains training hard and getting stronger, and that's why I haven't posted. July and August and September were spent trying to get my life in order in terms of gainful employment. There are several reasons that those three months were not ideal in terms of stress levels, training, or even financial stability. Stress was high because though I was working at the running store, and loving it, living in Fairfax and trying to pay off a lemon for a car and not living at home is tough at best. Training was rough because primarily because I didn't have gas money to get out to the mountains to properly train for the Ultra Race of Champions 100k (more on that in a bit). With several weeks spent studying for a potential job, taking tests, and online classes, I ended up literally running out of that building. Funny story but maybe not for a public post. At the end I landed a job working for a DoD contractor. There is plenty of that kind of work around the DC area, though, I am in an office.
So all this is leading to a very rough day at UROC. At the end of September the UROC 100k took place. I was lucky enough to land an elite spot so I was able to skirt the race entry fee. This was a huge plus, I wouldn't have been able to race otherwise. All the training I had done for the race had been in the last month or so before the race and had been on local trails that had minimal elevation gain, and were not super technical. I was able to get in two runs over 20 miles. I hadn't spent any time looking at the course, had no idea what I was in for, and was largely just running blind. I'm not entirely sure why I even started the race that day. I think a lot of it was due to just needing an outlet to blow a massive amount of steam and running 100 or so kilometers seemed like a pretty good way to do it.
The race started out with guys like King, Mackey, Canaday, Clark, heaps of others in the elite category running steadily down the trail. The race started out with a pretty serious downhill and then with retracing your steps back up. Right away, on the down hill I could tell my quads were not going to agree with me that day. It was not exactly what I wanted to feel before the first aid station at mile 4 but hey, what can you expect with no training?
The day was great for running - weather wise. Cool, misty, perfect. The course was scenic, but I have to admit, not looking at the course description and seeing that it was a little over half on road hurt my mental race. The details are gruesome at best, and I tried to hang on to a decent pace as best I could. But with 9 miles to go I sat down, felt my eyes doing all sorts of weird tricks. The rest of the miles were all on pavement and that appealed to me about as much as having open heart surgery while being awake. After a couple minutes, I decided to keep going mainly for the sake of finishing what I started. I rolled into the finish line in 16th in a time of 10:37:25. Not thrilled but hey, there will always be another race.
For the future, I've got Hellgate 100k. Next weekend actually. I've looked at the course and I think I know what to expect. I have been able to get out to the mountains for a good couple of long runs and I'm feeling a whole lot better about this one than I did about UROC. Brian will be pacing me starting at mile 42 or 46...they are the same aid station during the race but I'm not sure anyone ACTUALLY knows how long this race is...