Sunday, July 17, 2011

Prepping for Leadville

Leadville is a rather interesting race - it's a very runnable out-and-back with most of its elevation gain concentrated between miles 40 and 60. I've heard from many folks that if you can make it over the second ascent of Hope Pass, and you keep eating and drinking, you are very likely to finish. In fact, the aid station with the greatest number of DNF's is Winfield. The prospect of a second hike up the steep side of the beast certainly has something to do with it.

With that in mind, I'm planning to do a nice, long (mileage and time) run sometime this week, probably Tuesday. I'll be heading out to the Tolt Pipeline to do some out-and-backs between Duvall and Bothell. The trail is rolling, with numerous albeit short hills. You are almost always going up or down, and it's extremely runnable...gee, sounds like a race I know. I'm aiming to do 33 miles or so, figuring just a smidge under 5 hours. 33 miles gives just under 5000ft of gain, a similar amount per mile as Leadville. Although, in this case, the gain is much more evenly spread throughout the run.

I've been testing out my right ankle lately, which has developed an instability and potentially a little tendonitis (more acute than chronic). It started after I rolled it a few too many times on a run at Cougar Mountain. The Cougar Mountain Ring trail, as it's called in 50 Trails Runs in Washington, is not so much a run as a series of jumps over rocks, logs, and roots, and around countless curves and chicanes. After my 20-miler there today, I am resolved to not set foot there whenever I'm nursing even a minor injury. Late in the run, I rolled my right ankle twice in two minutes and decided to call it a day. I don't think there is any other trail that chews me up so much. If you're looking for a good training run for the HURT 100, Cougar is certainly an option.

I picked up a Nathan 2V Elite Plus (pet peeve: there is no "normal", the "Elite Plus" is the only 2-bottle belt offered by Nathan...just call it the "2V") and tested it out at Cougar. It's great: shock cords around the belt to stash gear, removable pockets, and well-padded holsters. Hopefully it performs well at Tolt, and if it does, I'm sure I'll be using it at Leadville. Aid stations are sparse compared to other races, and I feel that I can monitor my hydration and refill better with bottles.

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