Saturday, December 05, 2009

The Journey Continues - WS100 Here I Come!

As if things weren't getting busy enough around here, a new journey I set into motion just over two years ago just took a big step forward. I was selected in the lottery to participate in the Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run, June 26-27, 2010. The odds of being selected this year were about 1 in 5.

I have to admit, I'm a bit intimidated by this one. I've done the distance, but only once, in nearly ideal weather, mostly on trails I'd run before at Kettle Moraine. They say there's about 12,000 feet of climbing and descending at Kettle, but it all happens over dozens and dozens of little ups and downs none of which is ever more than about 100 feet at a time.

There are no mountains in Wisconsin, or Illinois, or anywhere else anywhere near home.

Starting at Squaw Valley, California, the Western States course climbs 2,550 feet in just the first 4.5 miles, and continues from there to climb another 15,540 feet and descend nearly 23,000 feet before the finish in Auburn. It's not considered a high elevation race, but its peak of 8,700 feet at the top of the Squaw Valley Ski Resort is a bit higher than the base of Snowmass Village, Colorado, where Jenni and I have taken several skiing vacations. Just walking a couple hundred feet up the hills in Snowmass Village the day we arrive there always sends my heart rate soaring.

Now I can't help but picture myself breathing hard, heart pounding, legs already burning...and another 95 miles still to cover.

Temperatures in the high country can get as cold as 20 deg, and it's not uncommon for the mercury to rise over 100 in the canyons. Heat and I are not the best of friends. Ironman Wisconsin 2005 taught me that.

So, yeah, I'm a little uncertain about whether to be more excited or nauseous about this challenge.

How could it possibly get better than that?

Wednesday, December 02, 2009