OK, OK, so the actual racing season started months ago for everyone else, but for me in my lame-legged world, the fun is just starting to heat up. Sure, I'm not running full speed just yet, but the miles are piling up and my shin no longer feels like it's being hit by the lightning bolt on the Gatorade bottle after my runs. I know the speed will come, but quite honestly, with my desired pace in my upcoming races hovering somewhere between 9 and 10 minute miles, I'm not too worried about running any sub-5 splits any time soon.
Coming up in less than two weeks is the much-anticipated Viaduct Trail 100 in PA. With a solid month of training in the swamp air of DC under my belt, I'm ready for whatever heat/humidity northern PA has to offer. It's probably pretty unrealistic to think that I can run the full 100 miles considering my last long run was back in April, but whatever...this sport pretty much re-defines the word "realistic", so I'm just going to head up there and get it done.
One really cool thing about this race is I will also be testing out a new (to me, anyway) way to post audio updates on my blog during the race via Utterli. I've set up my cell phone to automatically post my calls to my blog, so I figure I'll check in every 25 miles or so with an update. Since I'll be heading up there alone, it'll be a nice way to assure Elizabeth that I haven't been eaten by wild pack of Pennsylvania wildebeests or something. Given the issues with lots of races having trouble getting their live web-casts to work in remote locations, I hope this audio-posting thing catches on with more runners and their crews since they only need a cell phone and not a computer w/ internet connection to make it work.
A couple weeks after Viaduct, I'll be heading out to West Virginia to run Adam Casseday's Cheat Mountain 50 miler, and then if I can still walk, the following weekend I'll be running The Ring, which is a 71 mile loop of the entire orange-blazed Massanutten Trail in VA. Most likely I'll need to choose one or the other of these two races to run, but we'll see how the old legs hold up. Regardless of the races, I'll be using those two weeks as peak mile training weeks for the 24 Hour National Championship in Cleveland on October 3.
So that's the next month or so in a nutshell for me. Hopefully I'll have 3 low-key but super-fun and healthy races in the books by time September rolls around and everything gears up for Cleveland..."Hello, Cleveland!!"
One last note: I left work early last Friday to head out for a fun 26 mile run in the woods. It was 90 degrees and humid out there, so I had my Nathan 2L hydration pack loaded up to get me 13 miles in to the only water-source out there. About 6 miles into the run my brand-spankin' new hydration pack sprang a leak. Crap! I'm sure all the deer and squirrels found the sight of me trying to suck the last drops of water from the side of my hemmoraging pack quite hilarious. For me it was less amusing considering how hot it was and how I'd have to run 6 miles back to my car w/ no water. Needless to say, the day didn't turn out to be as fun as I hoped. When I got home I sent the Nathan folks this photo and asked nicely for them to replace my defective bladder since I've only used the thing about 4 times to this point. I hoping they come through for me in time for the Viaduct race.