Speedgoat 50K pre-race thoughts

It’s time to start tappering for my next race coming up on July 28: Speedgoat 50K. Having logged over 60 miles of technical mountain running in the past week (including just over 20,000′ of elevation gain), I think I’ve hit the max in training that I’ll be able to squeeze in before the starting line. I’ll probably hit up Green Mountain once more tomorrow and head up into the high mountains for a 3 hour run over the weekend but that’s about it. There’s always that voice in your head that tells you that you could have done more, but with the race day soon approaching there’s nothing left to do but trust that what you’ve done has been good enough. I feel strong, a little bit nervous, but, most importantly, happy. I’ve had such a blast “training” that it hardly has felt like training at all.

To be honest, I don’t really know how to tapper and usually don’t bother with it for a 50K trail distance race but Speedgoat is more like a 50 miler in my mind: it will take as long as one, will hurt as much as one and includes as much (or more) elevation gain as one. Just take a look at this bad boy elevation profile:

There are more 1000 to 3000 foot continuous climbs & descents in there than I’ve ever had to face before. The uphills will be brutal and the descents will be pure hell (especially that last one…OUCH!). Race director, Karl ‘Speedgoat’ Meltzer, has designed the course to break you and take pleasure in it. The fact that it is the only race in the US (or the western hemisphere for that matter!) that is part of the International Skyrunning Ultra SkyMarathon Series makes me more than a little bit nervous.  This race is not a hard trail run, it is a gloriously gnarly mountain run.

So why in the name of anything sane would I sign up for something like this completely out of my own free will?! Because it will be awesome in all it’s beastliness. I love ultra running and I love running high up in the mountains.  I love running on rough and rocky terrain and tackling steep uphills. I love sheer downhills a little (ok, a lot) less but I accept that you to love one, the uphills, you’ve gotta learn to love (or at least tolerate) the other, the downhills.  Above all, I have loved preparing for this race and I am super excited about the challenge ahead of me.

In terms of my main goal for this race, more than ever before, it is simply survival. If I can make it to the finish line in one piece with minimal (emotional and physical) scarring and a smile on my face, then I will be the happiest person on the planet. According to ultrasignup, I am currently ranked 15th out of 79 female entrants with a projected finish time of 7:29:28. I have no idea where or how they got that number and if it is at all realistic, so I am ignoring it and wishing I had never seen it to begin with…

Ryan will be making his 2012 trail racing debut at Speedgoat! He’s been battling a relentless nagging ITB injury (for years now) but despite that stupidness he’s in great shape and I suspect he will kill it out there as long as his ITB behaves. He’s ranked 16th overall (out of 333 entrants) with a meaningless projected finish time of 6:26:58. More than anything else, this course will be great training for his upcoming 320km race across the Alps!

I will run Speedgoat with my camera and hope to take advantage of the slow forward progress to document the insanity and what is sure to be a gorgeous mountain setting. Until then… I’m off to the lake for a nice ‘n easy “recovery” 2 mile swim…!

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