Updated race plans/thoughts on the right.
It feels self-indulgent to talk about it, esp. as a non top-tier runner, but I appreciate the support and encouragement from others, and enjoy reading others' plans.
The big race is Bighorn, and although it's a "backup" to not getting into Hardrock, it really isn't a backup at all. I'm calm and patient with getting into Hardrock eventually, and every year that goes by makes me feel stronger and more ready for it, so I'm happy to experience other courses in the meantime. We drove through the Bighorn Mountains once, in June a dozen years ago, as we were moving from Minnesota to California, when I was excited to get to Yellowstone as quickly as possible. I had no idea about the Bighorn Mountains, but found the scenery to be a stunning drive; in many ways, more pristine and inspiring than Yellowstone itself. And I'm positively stoked to participate in a Bighorn race for the first time -- I've never been to any of the races! It sounds positively beautiful and has the vibe and appreciation for outdoors and the race itself, which began in part as a response to planned development projects. A fellow runner this past weekend told me the wildflowers were more amazing there than anywhere she had seen (including the Four-Pass loop, San Juans, etc.)
And check out this old NYTimes article:
"And it all ends in a park in downtown Dayton that feels like small-town summer Saturday night distilled to its essence of lawn chairs and barbecue smoke."
Sounds like my kind of race!
I know several friends planning on running it, so it'll be great to see each other and push each other.
I'd love to have a pacer or two as well! I know lots of people have their own races or commitments already.
Similarly for Hardrock: I'd love to pace out there if anyone wants it or knows somebody that does.
Quad Rock is of course always a great time and stellar race: looking forward to seeing everyone up there. I'm apprehensive about not training on the course anymore, but it'll be a fun reunion. Hopefully the excitement of being back "home" will make up for the lack of familiarity. FC folks, can you be kind and pretend I'm still one of you? That support is immensely helpful!
Most of the same can be said for Salida, although it's still early and kind of a training-race itself.
Along the way, J is doing a couple half marathons on the roads, so I'll be joining her for Platte River in April, and OKC 3 weeks later (marathon for me). We'll see what happens there, I now have more trails to run on from my front door but less flat roads.
So mostly interested in any/all advice for Bighorn. I've read a detailed report from a baggy-shortsed Fort Collins runner back in 2009, in which he had a simple plan:
About half way up the climb, I decided to put my pre-race plan to work and eased into the lead, running a little deeper into the climbs than Karl was prepared to. The plan was fairly simple: build an early lead and try to hold it.
Brilliant as that plan was, I'm not qualified to be so ambitious, but the "Rusty Spurs" 24-Hour goal is clearly an aggressive focus for me. That would require my best 100M trail performance to have a shot at it, which means both a smarter race and training. There will be a fun bubble of folks right around that goal as long as possible -- a big challenge any year, and we have no idea on course conditions or weather. So given the course layout, late start time, etc. -- anybody have a good set of splits or other suggestions?
Otherwise, looking for long weekend days in new places on bike and foot (and combinations of both).
Good luck in 2014 and see you out there!