I am going to start off by saying this year is going to be Epic. For many of the popular ultra-races, they hold lotteries to create race entrant lists because they cannot accept all of the applicants. Last year the race lottery gods were not on my side, failing to get into the lotteries of Way Too Cool, Barkley, Western States, Hardrock, and Wasatch. This year has been a little bit different. To make sure I did not fall to the lottery gods again, I started off by scheduling a 100K race in Nicaragua. Then Western States lottery then hit and I got in. Then the Barkley Marathons lottery approaches and… well… yeah… This year is going to be an adventure to say the least.
Late Winter: I am kicking of the year with a trip to Nicaragua to race the Fuego Y Agua 100K on 2/7 held by RD Josue Stephens. The race is held on the Island of Ometepe; an Island formed in the middle of Lake Ometepe by two Volcanoes called Conception and Maderas. Conception stands at 5,282 feet and Maderas stands at 4,573 feet, both of which we get to climb. With recent course changes, the course now adds some additional climbing hitting both peaks of these still active volcanoes, navigating through jungles of roots, scrambling, volcanic rock, and managing some rainforest mud. On top of that, it is traditionally in the mid 80’s with as much humidity as one can take. Not only is the course epic and the landscape incredible, but the event also serves as a charity to the local communities providing a trash cleanup day, school supplies donations for the children, and a free running event for the community. All in all, Josue has created a world class event with a great mission. This is one of three races I am most excited about! Especially the part where I get to also explore the country the week following the race, taking in some beaches, surf, beer, and other adventures with Kristine. I am not sure who will be toeing the line, but my goal for FYA is to win. Last year there were a handful of Elite runners and I am hoping this year we will also have a good group up front to push the pace.
Spring: Following up Fuego Y Agua will be Way Too Cool 50K on 3/8. Traditionally one of the most competitive 50K’s in the country, this year is no exception. Alex Varner, Chris Vargo, Leor Pantilat, Jacob Rydman, Galen Burrell, Rob Bien, Brett Rivers, and I am sure others that I do not recognize. My stretch goal was top 5, until I got into Barkley Marathons which will be held 3 weeks after WTC. This beast is going to change my training plan so drastically, that I am not sure I will have the speed to compete for top 5 so I may need to adjust. Barkley Marathons… I don’t know what to say. I was there last year to see the craziness that is Barkley Marathons and help crew for Toshi. It was definitely an experience and I am excited to be going back to see the great people I met and for the chance to see what lies “Out There.” The other impact this race… or run… or death sentence has on my schedule is that it is only 2 weeks prior to Lake Sonoma 50 on 4/12. Again, I am not sure how Barkley will impact Lake Sonoma and for now am on the fence if I will even run it. But as usual, it is drawing one of the bigger elite crowds with 20+ of the best runners in the country. Rob Krar, Sage Canaday, Dave Mackey, Nick Clark, Ian Sharman, and so on… We will see if I run it, otherwise will head up to Healdsburg to help out and root on my quicksilver teammates. Following Lake Sonoma 50 will be Miwok 100K on 5/3. Miwok is a great prep race for Western States on a very fun and tough course. Ian Sharman, Gary Gellin, and Chris Wehan will all be returning and providing some speed up front. My goal for Miwok would be a win, where I would need to make sure I race smart and maintain late race foot speed to meet that goal. These three guys are animals.
Summer: I have put into the Western States Lottery 3 years in a row and I am 2 for 3 in the lottery. I really sympathize for those who are still trying to get in after 4,5,6,7, even 8 years (Sorry Mark Tanaka). WS was my first 100 miler. After running only 1 ultra, the headlands 50, I was inspired by Unbreakable and put into the lottery not expecting to get in my first year… I was selected. It was not only amazing getting into WS100 on my first try but also having it be my first 100. My experience there was incredible and the support I had from my family and friends helped pull me to the finish in 18:47. I am coming back to the Western States 100 on 6/28 with more ultra-experience and am excited to not just run WS100 as I did in 2012, but race WS100. Stretch Goal: M10.
After June, I am not sure what the second half of the year will hold for me. I would like to do a lot more exploring in the Sierra’s on the JMT, High Sierra Route, Yosemite, Tahoe, Etc… I would also like to go to Colorado for the first time to either explore or race and see what all the hype is about there since I hear they have some OK mountains too.
- Fuego Y Agua 2/7, 1st
- Way Too Cool 3/8, top 5
- Barkley Marathons, Finish (of course)
- Lake Sonoma 4/12, Top 20
- Miwok 100K 5/2, 1st
- Western States 100 6/28, Top 10
- Explore the High Sierra’s and Colorado – Bag some Peaks!