Looking to the horizon

While we’re signed up for our first 50K, the Dead Horse Ultra and our first 50Mile, Rocky 50 we, you know, haven’t actually done those but still I’m looking forward at the future.

The next run for us would be a 100K.  There aren’t as many 100K’s out there as I might like due to our particular qualifications such as monster vertical is a problem since we can’t train for it easily or well.

Although to be fair I’ve found reclined indoor bikes to at least seem to be pretty good at strength training the old quads for vertical.  That’s based on the soreness after doing an hour of bike at the 50% to 75% maximum resistance settings followed by an hour of elliptical in the same resistance.

a lot of my height is waist up, not waist down.

SO… maybe that’s our vertical option?  We did 2000′ of Carls over the weekend which works out to right around 10k but it’s such technical terrain that it took almost 3 hours to do.   Interestingly one side of the hill is easier going up but some scary stuff coming back down.  We were out and backing it instead of looping it to get the the most elevation in the shortest time frame.

My feet are still a concern unfortunately.  After Saturday’s power hiking we did the Snake route on Turkey Mountain, the 5k loop version, not the 3.5mile version (basically cut out that short narrow loop out near the end).   Including a loop down to the restroom at the main site we did 22KM with an average of 13 minute miles.  We were on pace to break into 12’s as we were consistently getting more negative with our splits.   It was an attempt at our current thoughts on our Ultra pacing which is a half K walk to start with to get things warmed up, then run 1K and walk .25k and every 6k extend the walk to half K.  Lather rinse repeat.

Bottom line is the hike went okay but the run every step was painful, not in the walking on ground glass pain but in the deep bruise that someone is thudding with a medium weight hammer way.

#injuriessuckballs

What it works out to for us once we get warmed up is a 6 minute run and a 90 to 120 second walk.  My walk pace is slow, a lot of my height is waist up, not waist down and I am not built like a Kenyan but more like a line backer.

*ramble alert*

So back on topic, for the future I’m looking at 100K’s.   Of interest is the Zion 100K as the terrain looks gorgeous and the vertical isn’t too bad at under 4k although a big chunk of it is front loaded in a short section that if we don’t do it smart will burn us for the rest of the run.

I also found Antelope Canyon which doesn’t have a 100K but it’s an even more spectacular terrain and scenery.   So it’s either a 50 mile or a 100 mile at that one, anything less isn’t worth the expense of getting there to me.

Things like that make it very hard to try and determine where I can go.  It’s a time issue, a training issue, a money issue.

The 100K Unicorn

Although it’s very much a cart before the horse, we’ve been forward looking at our next distance milestone, in this case the 100k.

We’re already signed up and travel plans made for our first 50K, Dead Horse Ultra and our first 50Mile, Rocky Raccoon 50.

It’s a shame too as I would so win the best ass award.

But Ultras are a little different than shorter races in that there are in most (all?) ultra’s there is a small fixed number of slots for runners.  And these can be as few as 40 slots to as high as 500 (that I’ve seen).   So a popular race tends to fill up fast.   We were looking at a very pretty race in the great lakes area and it had filled up like 2 weeks after they opened sign ups.   And it was 8 months before the race date.

Long story not very short we’re trying to plan our races out in the long view so we don’t miss a sign up for a race we really want because that means another year before we can try for it again.

So assuming the 50K and the 50M doesn’t kill us (me really) then the next step is the 100K.

There’s some key pieces I’m looking for in our first 62 mile race.  I don’t want multiple short laps for my first race of any distance.   I want to get my monies worth out of scenery and experience.

There also can’t be a bad amount of vertical because we have no way to consistently train for long verticals around here.   So less than 8K mandatory, less than 5k preferred.

Technical terrain is fine, I’m slow anyway so it doesn’t hurt my pride/pace to have to slow down to crawl up a vertical cliff face.

Scenery is important, there has to be something worth seeing at the race if I’m spending money on a plane ticket.

Best Ass

Time of year is critical.  I physically would have serious issues with a warm/hot race.  The Javelina Jundred seems like a party race for example but 12 hours in the sun in the desert in the heat would probably kill me.   It’s a shame too as I would so win the best ass award. 😉   I need something between September and March and preferably between November and February.  This is due in large part that I have dehydration problems with heat.   My water intake mechanics are not on par with my water outflow mechanics.  i.e. I sweat like a pig and my body doesn’t keep enough resources in reserve to process water fast enough.   This isn’t a performance concern, it’s a serious health concerns.

Soooo I’m painstakingly going through all the race calendars I can find and filtering them for 100k’s and then going through each one and documenting their laps/route types, their total vertical, the time of year and historical temperatures for the race, distance between aid stations.

Another key piece is tracking down race reports for the races and seeing what other people thought of them.  Were the aid stations good?   Was the route well marked?  Were there any surprises?  How was the bathroom situation? And was the race enjoyable, as much as one can enjoy pushing oneself to such ridiculous extremes.

My current rough initial list is.  All of these need further looking into but they made the initial cut just based on vertical and time of year and cut off times.  Where I could find any I added links to race reports/reviews.

Secret Beach

ORegon
October early
6600 feet vert, 16 miles of sand running, 5 miles of road running
Out and back loops
17 hour cut off

Mines of Spain

Iowa
October late
8400 feet vert
20mile loop repeated
23 hour cut off

Cuyamaca 100K

California (SD)
October early
8800 feet vertical
3 separate loops
19 hour cutoff
highest 6500k

Race Report, Race Report, Race Report

Cave Creek Thriller
(Not technically a 100K but an 80k with the Double 50k + 30k)
Arizona
Temps in the 90’s
October mid
50K day run, 30k night run
Race Report Race Report

Ordnance 100K

California
2 separate loops (40 and 22)
7200 vertical
Aggressive cut off of 16.5 hours
Finisher medal is a glass
DFL award
Race Report, Race Report, Race Report

Zion 100

Utah
April mid
7300 feet vertical
Large route, minimal out and back branches
Some major slopes from time to time
21.5 hour cutoff
Race Report, Race Report, Race Report

Crazy Desert Trail Race

Texas
March early
15 mile loop repeats
Has actual dinosaur footprints on it.
22 hour cut off
Race Report, Race Report

Black Canyon

Arizona
February mid
point to point
20 hour cut off
7000 of vertical
buckle for 100k
Race Report,Race Report, Race Report

Trail Trashed

Nevada (near vegas)
March early
31mile out and back
20 hour cut off
5900 of vert

Race Report, Race Report,

Grandmaster Ultras

Arizona
31 mile loop x 2
3800 feet of vertical
48hour cut off