The Grand Slam of Ultrarunning (wiki) is quickly approaching, four gruelling races within a 10 week time period. I'm in great shape right now, but would love to get in even better shape! I have now less than 13 weeks to prepare for the 4 races that make up the Slam.
Western States 100 - Point-to-point race, climb to (maybe) snow pack on top of mountains in beginning, descent into torturous canyons with heat up to and above 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Huge hills throughout the course.
Vermont 100 - Beautiful course, More than 15,000 feet of elevation gain, many hills that can come at the athletes, especially the last 30 miles of the race.
Leadville 100 - Race in High Rockies, extreme lack of oxygen, climb Hope Pass to over 12,500 feet. Twice! Powerline hill at mile 80-85. Hell awaits here before getting to the finish line.
Wasatch 100 - the last race in the Grand Slam - by far the hilliest of all the races with about 25,000 feet of elevation gain. Another point-to-point race. No flat section on the course at all, would be on extremely tired legs from doing the other 3 races. Also very beautiful to do. Reaching the finish line here and realizing success in the Grand Slam would be even more beautiful!
What do these races have in common? You got it...HILLS!!! And therein lies the focus for the rest of my training...developing the hill muscles necessary to not only to survive, but thrive in the mountains.
This Friday and Saturday coming up, I will be in the White Mountains of New Hampshire tackling the mountains there. I am figuring about 15 miles on the Appalachian Trail on Friday, then 20 miles on the neighboring trails on Saturday. If the weather is OK, I will try to climb to the top of Mt. Washington on both days.
The next week I will be in Harriman State Park closer to home and run some great hills there.
The other big change now is my cycling, another critical component that developed my hill legs for Vermont last year. Now that it's spring, I can finally be able to stay outside all the time instead of on the trainer. And I will be very aggressive on the bike for the last 13 weeks.
I feel that I am exactly where I want to be at this point of time for the Grand Slam. If I can put an exclamation point on this training, it's going to be one heck of an eventful summer this year!!!
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