After coming up short at Chicago this year, I planned on running CIM in December with hopes of running sub 2:19. After a few weeks, though, I realized that I needed to change my plans due to a lack of motivation. Even though I have enjoyed the past two years of training, I began to get bored with the same training schedule and the flat training surfaces on which I had been running. Shortly after bailing on CIM, I registered for the Bandera 100k and almost instantly I became excited about running and training again. I will have to admit that the first time I ran over three hours I had a rough time of it. I felt horrible the following day. Although, as the weeks progressed and I continued to increase my long run, I started to feel like I was just getting warmed up at three hours.
I have run a number of long runs since in the mountains. It has been a nice change to hit the trails again. My favorite training run for Bandera was two weeks ago. I met up with Peter Maksimow and the Incline Club and we ran the Longs Ranch loop. After that I continued through Manitou to Crystal Park; Peter drove because he didn’t want to run on the roads. We jumped onto the the Intemann Trail and then up over Section 16 where Peter turned around. I continued onto High Drive and then the 666 trail where I hit Captian Jacks and back down High Drive then the Intemann Trail. From there, I headed down Crystal Park Road where Peter and Nora cheered me on. I was able to get a few extra miles on the Manitou roads before calling it a day. The run totaled 34 miles in 5:15 with over 8,000ft of elevation gain. Due to some over indulgence the night before, I struggled with some stomach issues. I won’t let that happen in Texas. These types of runs have kept me motivated throughout the week because I am looking forward to the next long run.
My family will be joining me for the trip to Bandera; I hardly ever travel without them. Their ability to crew me during the race gives them a sense of involvement in my running. This time will be easier than ever because we just purchased a new truck camper for our Tacoma. It might be a little different sleeping at a rest stop along the way but we are all excited for the new experience. Fortunately, my brother Jordan and his wife Jessica will be traveling with us. They have more experience traveling than we do; they have been traveling the country in their modified Honda Element. Jordan will be running the race as well. He has been training for the 50k. He and I have been training together and it has been awesome to have a training partner. With the new treadmill, he and I are able to run together during some of our tougher runs.
As far as Bandera goes, the field is looking really strong. And, with a National Championship on the line, I am confident a few of the guys are going to leave everything out on the course. I am a little nervous with the distance. I have only run 50 miles twice before and I haven’t had a good race at that distance so the extra twelve miles seems a little mind boggling. The biggest issue has always been my stomach, but I think I have figured that out over the last two years. Hopefully my stomach will cooperate. I believe I am a totally different runner than I was two years ago. My last ultra race was in June of 2010 and I did absolutely no training for that one. I only decided to run Golden Gate 50k a few weeks before the race. Before Golden Gate, I ran the Moab 55k in 2009 so I have really only run one ultra in three years. Since then, I have improved my speed and endurance. Even with this change, I really only have one goal and that is to finish Bandera. I plan on going out easy and then depending on how I feel during the last 50k I may start to pick up the pace. With my focus in 2012 being ultras, I feel like I will be more prepared come early spring. Either way, I just want to have fun and gain a little more ultra experience.