A lot of "what ifs" on my schedule.
What if I make the UTMB lottery? What if I make the Hardrock or Western States lottery? Grand Slam of Ultrarunning again if I win the Western States lottery? Rocky Mountain Slam if I win the Hardrock lottery? What if I get shut out of all three lotteries? Do I go for the Midwest Slam? The Beast Series? And is there any room for me doing the Fat Dog 120 in British Columbia in Canada?
Let me lay out some things I DO know about for 2014...
I will be starting my structured training next week, establishing a base. This will put me on "standby" in case I do choose to do The Beast series. The first race of that series, Holiday Lake 50k, is the first weekend in February, so I have to be at least minimally prepared for that.
2008 Holiday Lake 50K ++. Photo by Andrew Wilds Photography
To help get ready minimally for the beginning of the year, I will be doing two early season races, the Watchung 50k run by the NJ Trail Series, and the Batona 50 mile Fat Ass on January 19. Both runs will be at a very leisurely pace. If I do choose to do The Beast and tackle Holiday Lake in February, those races should help me out a bit.
Going to tempt the Jersey Devil Again in January. Hope I don't get eaten by it. ;-)
Now here's the problem with The Beast. I would have to take six road trips to western Virginia and I don't want to do this be myself. I would only do The Beast if there was a good group going and can split drive times and travel expenses with. Eight hours of driving by myself is not something I look forward to. So I will be asking any area ultrarunners if they would be interested in doing The Beast.
For those who don't know what The Beast entails, it basically involves three 50k races in the spring, then the Grindstone 100 miler, the Mountain Masochist 50 miler, and Hellgate 100k in the fall. It's actually very convenient timing is it is out of the way of any summer races that I have my name in the lottery for.
Then there is the Midwest Slam. This involves four, maybe five 100 mile races if you do the Super Slam that start in the late spring and ends in late summer. The five races look very organized indeed, so it would be worth it to take a train ride to all of these races and camp out there. Again, it would be nice if there was a group doing this too, so I'll be asking around.
Trophy for a successful Midwest Slam.
Then there is Fat Dog 120. One of our Canadian Slammers, Iris P., first pointed toward this race as a great possibility if I strike out in all my lotteries. The course is plenty difficult. The men's course record is nearly 28 hours. 28 hours?!! Holy crap...what would I be getting into?
Not to mention The Barkley...so I'm not mentioning that. Shhh.
With everyone racing but me, I am absolutely chomping at the bit to race again. My promise not to race after the Grand Slam ends when 2013 ends, but I can at least start doing some training again to get myself in decent shape to run the early races.
Disjointed Thoughts Section
My Grand Slam of Ultrarunning Shadowbox is complete.
Now I just need to find room to hang it.
The Western States has eliminated all 50 milers for qualification to its 2015 race. For the most part, a lot of people, including me, have agreed with that decision. So many people have been entering the race that they were forced to raise the bar on the lottery qualifications. Now it's only 100k and 100 milers.
The Hardrock 100 has also raised the bar on its lottery. They have already had a very short list of races that qualify for their lottery. Well, the list has grwon a lot shorter. I can definitely understand eliminating Leadville from the list, since Lifetime Fitness has taken the race and placed more than 1000 runners on the course each year. The resulting chaos on the trails and on the roads, especially near the turnaround at Winfield, made for a trying time. Since it went against some of the core philosophies of ultrarunning, they decided to take it off their list.
The other eliminations, however, were puzzling.
Tahoe Rim Trail eliminated? HURT 100 eliminated? Those two were really tough trail races. I'm surprised that they were eliminated?
Massanutten? Now there's a real surprise. I understand that big hills are difficult, but in my opinion, severe rockiness is even worse. As a matter of fact, a lot of the runners who do Massanutten that normally train in the Rockies found this course to be very very tough.
To the Hardrock committee...take a look at part of the Massanutten course here. Now imagine doing 100 miles of this. Because that is exactly what the course entails. Maybe you can now understand why I consider this race one of the toughest 100 milers in the US.
I truly believe that if you can finish Massanutten, you can finish anything.
But hey, it's their race; they can do what they want with it. Other than Leadville, I just hope that they can reconsider these other races for their qualification into their lottery.
Lastly, Halloween. And the idea of giving kids candy.
Sure, I've gone trick-or treating as a kid, and definitely looked forward to getting candy.
But I think today, we are really going overboard on this "giving candy" thing.
So I won't be contributing to that unhealthy tradition. Instead, I'll give them some change instead.
Yeah, you can call me a heel, but today, kids are perhaps in the worst shape I've ever seen them. Maybe it's due to the overall lower quality food kids eat nowadays compared to the past. Maybe it's the elimination of physical education programs in the schools. But the kids today are so obese, that I really do feel sorry for them.
Sadly, I've seen more and more kids look like this. I'm absolutely terrified of their future.
They are due for a bleak future.
Listen, what people give to the kids today for Halloween is their choice. I'm not into telling other people what to do with the trick-or-treaters today. If you want to give them candy, that is perfectly fine with me.
But for me personally, I would prefer to give them small change instead. Sure they can turn around and buy candy with the money. I definitely understand that. With with the amount of candy they would be getting today, I can easily argue that the last thing they do with money is to buy candy with it.
And even if they do buy candy with it, that would be THEIR choice, not mine. All I did was give them the option to buy something else instead of candy. So my conscience is clear.
Anyway, have a HEALTHY Halloween. And take your hand out of that Halloween candy!!!