Sunday, May 19, 2013

One step at a time. Logistics and the Colorado Trail Speed Record

The greatest journey begins with a single step. I have heard this many times and although it's true, it didn't mean much to me until recently. This whole year that saying keeps ringing in my ears. ( I suppose "running" through my head would be a better analogy.)

In attempting what I consider large scale endeavors from directing a trail marathon to planning a 600 mile run at over 10,000' elevation it is easy to get weighed down by the details. One can readily succumb to the stress of the juggling act and cower under the pressure. Large scale projects are a lot to take on, and yes, they can be scary but the only thing to fear is failure, and failure isn't the end of the world. Lately I'm able to take on larger tasks without stressing...I suppose it's all about mindset. 

I recently spoke to friend about tactics for his first 50 mile ultramarathon. One great piece of advice we discussed is to never stop making forward motion. The same holds true in planning these large scale endeavors. As long as you keep making progress in the planning phases and chip away at the end objective, you can do many things you thought impossible. Just pick one manageable piece of the puzzle, figure it out and keep going.  

In an ultramarathon don't try to run 50 or 100 miles, just run to the next aid station. In planning a race, I can't do it all in a day, but I can plan aid station menu's, or contact a sponsor for prizes. Just like Bill Murray says in that horrible movie, What About Bob,  just make baby steps! 

I think we are capable of a lot more than we believe. We just have to make that first step. Today I booked my flight for the Colorado Trail speed record attempt I'm tackling this summer. It started by just making a page on Facebook, then ordering maps and figuring out the route, and today I bought tickets. Through the support of friends and family this is going to happen. I am daunted nonetheless, but making forward progress! 

Last year prior to attempting the Tour de Virginia I was injured. I went in to the 14 day, 580 mile stage race with everything but machismo. I deemed each day I finished a success. In turn, I had a blast and finished healthy. Without a care in the world I ran 40 something miles per day through Virginia in 100 degree temps for 14 days. I didn't focus on tomorrow. I just lived in the moment and enjoyed it, pushing the limits each second. 

The anxious feelings I've had regarding this summers endeavor in Colorado are quickly making way for positive vibes. I'm prone to be my own harshest critic. The pressure I feel is from within. That's why I spill my guts on these pages for you folks. I'm talking to myself, reinforcing lessons I've learned... Writing is how I analyze and understand my experiences... I know this feat in Colorado is undoubtedly the biggest challenge I've ever taken on.

The injury I suffered before the TDV last year allowed me to put less pressure on myself. I need to ease up on the pressure to prepare and remember the many lessons I've written about over the year. I can do this, but I have to find the mindset first. I have to learn to practice mindfulness and live in the moment. That same drive which pushes me to the limits of my personal potential also push me to overtrain, (not allowing recovery from training) . Living in the moment I train effectively; when I feel good I train hard, when I feel worn I recover and get stronger. I have faith in my training and I'm not scared to take an easy recover day. The hay is in the barn.     

I'm flying into Colorado on the 16th. I'm meeting Eric, Robin, Mike, and more on the 17th to enjoy one day in Colorado and discuss logistics before we begin what will seem to be non-stop running for 600 miles. I am not going to go into many details about mileage and how we plan to break the current FKT, (fastest known time), until after the fact. The current FKT, (or speed record preferez vous?), is 8.5 days.  

Until then it's going to be a crazy ride. I'm headed up to the White Mountains in NH to see Kara's family next week. I'm planning to do a Presidential Traverse and a Pemigewasset Loop run. Both are epic White Mountain runs with time above treeline. Snow should be minimal, but I'll see how the trails look next week. Late season snows could still fall. A week after returning from NH I'm doing a 12 hour race as a training run for Colorado. The race is the Hawthorn 12 Hour on June 8. We're going to the Bean Blossom Bluegrass Festival the day after the race which I am psyched about! Since we'll already be in Indiana it worked perfectly. The following week I'm off to Chattanooga to be Mr Dad and watch Denali while Kara has some line shows. Chattanooga is awesome and I'll be getting plenty of training miles in, on, and near the Lookout Mountain 50 course. Upon returning from Indiana, I have one week until I jump on a plane California bound to pace rock star Traci Falbo in her first attempt at the papa of all ultras, the Western States 100.

All of this movement and travel helps facilitate that mindfulness I mentioned earlier- Just going with the flow, and breaking the routines I easily fall in to. The greatest journeys begin with a single step, just keep making forward progress.



  1. Pacing Western, then Colorado Trail- sweet. You'll do great. Have fun, and we want lots of good pics!

    I can't imagine how much airfare you're spending- fly to California, Colorado, and Utah...

  2. Yes! A sweet summer indeed! I'm very lucky that I don't have to cover airfare for the Grand Slam since I'm pacing... I don't have much to complain about in life. Denali is awesome, work is well, and the running is going well...

  3. Troy,

    Josh Katzman here. When are you planning the Pemi (or Presi) run? I'd be very interested in joining, especially for a Pemi. Even if it is during the week, there's a chance I could play hooky from teaching to make it. If you're interested in some company, shoot me an email at - hopefully I could keep up! If we don't meet up, enjoy it and I hope you get some good weather.