Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Training in Minnesota, gunning for Badwater '10

I'll make this quick... It's REALLY hard to hit my daily mileage outside here it turns out, but I'm going to do my absolute best to hit my goals. The good thing is, if I can actually pull off 100 miles in these conditions, I'll be MUCH better off than if I were to run 100 miles a week on easy terrain in Baltimore. My quads are getting one heck of a workout running here, so it's just building my conditioning even faster. The temperature today was finally warm enough to where I was at least reasonably acclimated to train outside for a couple hours, of course given that I was wearing a long-sleeve shirt, sweatshirt, jacket, face mask, neck mask, ski hat, headlamp, 1 pair of shorts and 2 pairs of pants, ski socks, and toe warmers. Phew... Anyway, it still took me exactly 2 hours to go 13 miles, which is pretty much absurd for me. I have to run on the side of the road obviously so I won't get hit by cars and the snow is pretty thick everywhere with a nice layer of ice underneath, so I was just slipping around everywhere. My gel packet that I took was nearly completely frozen in my pocket after about an hour, so I had to try to warm it up before I could even eat it. I know, however, that if I can keep this mileage up, especially here in MN, I will be in absolutely extraordinary shape for Rocky Raccoon. The weird thing, though, is that the one race that's been on my mind a lot lately is Badwater 2010, the 135 mile race across Death Valley in July (in nearly as many degrees as the race has miles), from the lowest to the highest point in the continental US (the forest service has banned competitive events from scaling all of Mt Whitney, but the truly crazy competitors just rip off their bibs after 135 miles and continue the additional 11 mile ascent to the top of the mountain). I imagine that this is probably related to the fact that the selection process for 2009 runners (no, I did not and am not going to apply for 09) is about to take place. There is nothing I want more right now than to run Badwater '10 and become one of the youngest people to ever attempt or complete the course. It might sound pretty crazy to want to run this race, but amazing challenges like this seem to provide a feeling for me something like that of nostalgia, only that it's for something that I have yet to do. Before running Lean Horse '07, my first ever 100 mile run, I had a feeling somewhat like this, only to a lesser extent. Badwater is billed as the "ultimate challenge of champions" for a reason and I know that it may seem like sheer stupidity to 99.99999% of people, but it's almost just something that I feel that I "have" to do, if that makes any sense. Badwater is something I want to do solely for me, not really to prove anything to even myself, just something that is strongly beckoning me. I think only a handful of people really grasp and understand my motivation for running the races that I do since it's rather hard to verbalize why I do what I do, but those of you that have some some sort of insight can probably see the attraction to a huge epic race like this for me. I guess it's early to be thinking about 2010, but at the very least, if I ever feel like cutting a day short, I just ask myself, "Do you want to run Badwater in 2010 or not?" and then I finish my run in its complete form, often tacking on extra mileage.

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