Well, I wanted to post something like that. I wanted to come into HURT in the best shape and ready to run off the front, or at least give the front runners a race. Instead I came into Cascade Crest 100 last August in great shape, underperformed, took some time off, did some unfocused running, miraculously won the Peacock 100k in record time, took more time off, did some jogging, felt ready to train for HURT, got sick, got interrupted by work, and finally got into training almost exactly one month ago.
Today I ran my last long run. Almost five hours, 23ish miles, and 6500' of climbing in the Nature Center. The goal was a nice steady '100 mile' pace, lots of climbing, no injuries, and a quick recovery. As I sit here typing I'm amazed that I was able to do that run with not an ache or pain lingering. Hopefully that's a good sign!
I've gotten a bit slower than my peak last summer, but since I got into training late I focused on consistent runs, getting some steeper climbs in, and some faster runs on trails to practice the agility needed to jump over wild boars or roosters that inhabit the trails around here. No 100 mile weeks with insane vertical, but this week I topped out at 76ish miles and around 18500 feet of climbing. That's going to be enough, it just kinda stinks that I'm just starting to really feel ready to train hard for another month, but times already up!
So some high points of my 'training':
1. I love how living here in Kailua allows me to run to some very difficult and steep mountains right from my doorstep. I just feel intuitively that there are gains to be had by running fast on the roads, hammering the legs up and down trails on mountains like Olomana, and then asking the ole' pins to deliver on the roads again to get back home.
2. Exploration. Every time I go somewhere new and get out to run I come away impressed with what I find. When I was sent to Wilmington, Delaware for simulator training my reaction was 'ugh'. I knew that there would be little of interest there, especially in early December. I was wrong! I got to enjoy a week of winter, a foot of fresh snow, and lots of miles on great trails in some beautiful state park areas. Hawaii trails are more challenging, and certainly offer stunning scenery, but doing something new was a great way to get motivated for a month of hard running.
3. When I'm sick of grinding out an hour or two on the roads or trails I've found that doing what I've termed an 'adventure run' fits the bill. Usually this simply means I'm going to run and hike up something steep.
4. I enjoyed spending some time on my new (to me) windsurfer while I was taking it easy after Peacock. I could almost feel myself getting smarter and more athletic as I tried to teach myself this fun sport. I am really looking forward to getting back out there after HURT!
What am I expecting to happen on the infamous five loops of HURT?
Gary Robbins had a down month in November and early December, but he's put in some quality work since, and is clearly the favorite to win again. He's simply world class, and understands how to run a course like this better than anyone. Yassine Diboun has also been training hard, and I'm pretty sure he'll be near the front. There are a few other runners that will come in ready to throw down, notably Tracy Garneau. She's the female course record holder at just a tad over 24 hours, and she's shooting for sub 24 this year. I hope she has a great run!
The best bet for me will be to take it out easy and controlled, inside the top ten, and wait for people to come back to me. We'll all be slowing down, but for everyone except Gary it's going to be a game of who slows the least... it's going to get ugly! I know I haven't trained as much as some of these guys, so it just makes sense to conserve what I have, eat a lot, and hopefully maintain a positive outlook that will allow some magic a-la Peacock to occur. Let's see if I can stick to the strategy! My backup plan is to run right at lactate threshold for as long as possible...
After HURT I'm taking a few weeks completely off running, and after that it will be short fun runs only for a few more weeks. I want to spend more time windsurfing, more time on the mat at our wonderful Jiu Jitsu school, and more time with the family doing things like hikes or kayaking in Kailua bay. After that I'm not sure. The plan is to try to get into Cascade Crest 100 again though, so if that happens I'll be trying for a breakout run there, and that means several months of hard training.