I run my first ultra on October 12th. A 50K trail run in the San Juan Mountains around Durango, CO. If you’ve ever run a 10K, this is five of those. A marathon would be about four 10Ks. The trail starts out around 6500 feet (Durango’s elevation) but is run almost entirely above 7000 feet, nearly reaching 8000 feet on the 4th of its 5 major humps. The trail description is “runable”, but on the same web page is also called “never flat, rolling twisty single track.” So the runable perspective is of someone who lives and runs in Durango. Click on the elevation profile chart to see better detail.
My buddy Rob, who happens to live in Durango, talked me into this with the prospect of free registration. He knows someone. Hell, I’ve been known to sign up for a run because of their cool hat. This was a no-brainer. Except of course I’ve never run this far before. Still, I’m oddly confident I can do it. Maybe my stomach will feel differently in the starting corral, but I don’t plan to push my pace hard. In fact, I expect to stop at several of the aid stations to down my sports drink and smell the Yucca. Probably for no more than 90 seconds. Any longer and stiffness sets into the muscles. Plus, I believe my conditioning is such that my heart rate will mostly recover by then.
I won’t be disappointed if I walk most of this event. My original plans for this weekend were for a 40 mile hike over two days – same thing almost. There’s a 9 hour cut-off though so I’ll be mostly running. Rob predicts we’ll need 8 hours. I forecast 7.5 hours. Ever the optimist.
We’re currently planning what to carry on the run. We’ve decided to forgo water. I’d be carrying 70 ounces of liquid electrolytes if I were hiking but to me the point of signing up for these spectacles is to leverage the aid stations and travel light. We’ll wear running vests to carry gear – mostly to be prepared for weather – and some food. I’ll likely carry my iPhone for pictures to feed the blog. I won’t listen to tunes though. It’s way more fun to chat with some of the other crazies out on the trail.