Can you handle 130km of burly Squamish goodness in just over twenty-four hours? The concept here is simple – race the 50 miler and 50 kilometer events on back-to-back days.
Seems simple enough, except that I’m undertrained and underprepared and a little anxious, but yeah, I’m running the Squamish 50/50 this weekend.
06/14/2014 – Bryce Canyon 50k – Bryce Canyon, Utah
A 50k race starting at 7,800 feet above sea level, slicing down through blood orange-red sandstone hoodoos before steadily climbing through an undulating 5,500 feet of crisp green pine groves, the Bryce Canyon 50k in southern central Utah is an understated race which should find some national coverage in the not too distant future.
The Bryce Canyon 50k is my fifth event of the year and takes place this coming Saturday (06/14/2014) not so surprisingly in Bryce Canyon, Utah (although not in the National Park). While traversing the western cliff of the Paunsaugunt plateau and taking in the expansive view of the Dixie National Forest to the east, the course winds it’s way up 6000 feet of vertical gain through singletrack sand trails weaving past monumental and towering hoodoos and spires hovering between 7500 and 9000 feet above sea-level.
04/20/2014 – Yakima Skyline Rim 50k – Yakima, Washington
What has 31 miles of distance, 9,500 vertical feet of elevation ascent, high fives, congratulations, and pizza and beer afterwards as a reward? That would not be me. Wait, what? What has 26.8 miles of distance, 8,450 vertical feet of elevation ascent, full body cramping, strangers and sweepers stopping to make sure you aren’t dead, an aided 2 hour rescue by truck, and a DNF? Oh right, now that would be me, other wise known to the Race Director and all the volunteers who helped get me off the mountain as Runner 411 or “did you see that guy who was laying on the ground in the fetal position?” or “I heard that runner was unconscious.”
The Yakima Skyline Rim 50k is my second event of the year and takes place this coming Sunday (04/20/2014) in the Umatum Recreation Area up, down, over, and through the Yakima River Canyon in Washington. At around 9,500 vertical feet of elevation gain, this out and back 50k ridge course should be the hardest race I’ve attempted yet.
Let’s start with this – I’ve never run a race with 9,500 vertical feet of elevation gain. Actually, let’s take a step back – I’ve never even run that amount of elevation in a day. And actually, let’s take one more step backwards with both feet this time – I’ve never walked or ran 9,500 accumulated vertical feet in a week. So…I see no reason why this race shouldn’t go well. (Ah yes, double-negatives.)
03/29/2014 – Gorge Waterfalls 50k – Cascade Locks, Oregon
So this race was just another one of your every-weekend fairly rocky, rooty technical but at the same time soft singletrack 6000 foot vert point-to-point 50k run through ankle high streams, over snow patches, past stretches of moss covered everything, in sunshine, rain, hail, and wind and traipsing under, around, and through 500 foot tall waterfalls through the Oregon side of the Columbia River Gorge in the Pacific Northwest.
The first event of the season is always a litmus test. Am I ready physically? Am I undertrained or overtrained? Am I ready mentally? Remember what this feels like? Have I finally figured out how to run long distances as pain free as possible? All great questions and in one ‘little’ run I’d have answers to all of them. Continue reading