While I certainly enjoyed my reward for running so well at Umstead (a week off), I hit the road last night for a quick 6 miles as soon as I got off the plane from my trip to LA. No rest for the jet-lagged, you know? As you might expect, my legs felt super-strong after taking so many days off, and aside from a slightly irritated right achillies tendon, everything feels 100% and ready to push hard for the next few weeks before Massanutten.
This will be a unique pre-race training schedule since there are only 5 weeks to go before the race. I'll use 3 of those weeks to climb as much as possible with less emphasis on big miles - the other two weeks will be a nice taper to rest up (I'll need it before this beast of a race).
Massanutten has just shy of 20,000 feet of elevation gain spread fairly evenly over the 12 mountain passes you need to make during the race. Having already trained on every step of the 101.8 mile course, I know first-hand how the elevation gain seems much worse when you factor in the horrible footing on most of the trails. Since I can't head up there and pave over the rocks to smooth out the course, I'll just have to focus on making the climbing a little easier by doubling/tripling my usual Treadmill Death March schedule. Lucky me.
One note on Umstead - They haven't posted any race photos yet, but I'll be sure to include any of me or the people in my race report in a post here when they do. As of right now, this is the only shot I could find worth posting.
This is seconds before the starting gun went off (notice many of us with our hands on our watches). I'm on the left (in the red shirt) leaning toward Missy, who I mentioned early on in my report. The guy in the middle in the white shirt is eventual-winner Serge Arbona, and the guy with the highly reflective "T" on the front of his shirt just over my shoulder is Matt Kirk.