After a great race season, ending with the Umstead 100 in April, I left Kentucky for San Diego and headed south to the Mexican border to hike the Pacific Crest Trail- a long distance hiking trail stretching nearly 2700 miles from Mexico to Canada. It was an incredible experience, and one full of growth and redirection. You can read my blog about the adventure @ trailjournals.com/rocketPCT
The journey was an amazing one, in which I met my goals, and can be summed up with the following quote my cousin Jeff sent to me regarding my last blog entry in my trailjournals.com/rocketPCT site;
"The only Zen you can find on the tops of mountains is the Zen you bring up there."
Robert M. Pirsig
I've signed up for the Iron Mountain 50 miler on September 3rd and now I've just received incredible news that I will be blessed with the opportunity to run in the Ultra Race of Champions in Virginia. This is a 100K race and it holds the toughest competition of any ultra in the country. I'll be racing against runners like Geoff Roes, Ultra Runner of the Year in '09 and '10, Dave Mackey, Karl Meltzer, (winner of more 100's than anyone in the world!), Ian Sharman, (winner of Rocky Raccoon in 12:44!), Eric Grossman, Andy Jones-Wilkins, etc. This is the most stacked field ever!
The race organizers of UROC have been amazing in their professionalism and organization. My original plan was to focus on improving my 3rd place finish @ Pinhoti 100 miler in November, but to be a part of this race, the UROC 100K I am now driven to focus mainly on UROC. Although I still strive to improve on my finish at Pinhoti, UROC will be my training focus definitely! Honestly, I really think that after hiking 1600 miles on the PCT and building a good base in my off season over the summer, running Iron Mountain and UROC will still do nothing but improve my form at Pinhoti even though UROC is the focus.
I'm doing road work now this week to get my legs back into form, and allow my joint to be off trails for a bit after the PCT. On road runs this week I'm doing some short intense threshold work, at or near 5K pace. Next week I'll begin my hill repeats out on the monster grades at Jefferson Memorial Forest, my main playground of trail running. I had planned on doing big mileage weeks the next few months in prep for Pinhoti, but now with UROC as my "A" race, my raison d'etre so to speak. I am focusing on quality over quanity and will probably not run over 150 miles during a week. UROC has 13,000' feet of elevation gain, therefore climbing prowess will be all-important. Fortunately I am at my lowest weight and body fat %, which will be of utmost importance.
The Iron Mountain Trail Race will actually be a great tuner race for UROC as it is also in Virginia on the Appalachian Trail and involves a great deal of climbing.
My bio should be up on the UROC site shortly. I can't believe this is happening! I'm pretty excited, and to hold this opportunity after my wonderful period of growth and reflection on the PCT is a whirlwind of positive energy.