After the Massanutten Mountain Trails 100 mile run, I felt a sense of accomplishment. I had achieved my goal that I set in front of me some six months prior in addition to three other events I had signed up for leading up to MMT100. What else was there to do? Given my training schedule, I told Summer that if I got in to Massanutten, I would take it easy afterwards and spend the summer with the family and not worry about running long every weekend. And I did just that. A couple of beach trips and a trip to Atlanta and the summer was gone. I did continue running though.
One of the lifeguards at the beach saw me reading ultrarunning magazine and we started talking running. He was a former NCAA D-1 collegiate runner with a 15:xx PR in the 5,000 meters. Pretty fast dude. We laced up the shoes a few times that week and ran through the resort area. His easy runs were like tempo pace for me. It was fun though, and it sort of kick started me back into training mode and mentally gave me hopes of maybe increasing my speed while keeping my endurance. Speed kills. At least it does with me. Every time I try to get faster, I end up getting hurt. I tried to keep this in mind when I was out running, making sure I didn't run fast every day.
In September, I had thoughts of maybe submitting an application for the Hellgate 100k in December. I figured since I completed MMT100, that may be enough to get me in to Hellgate. I had also already signed up for Weymouth Woods 100k which is held in January. However, an ankle sprain threw all of that out of the window. I ended up running a total of 2 miles in the month of October. I even went to the doctor to have it x-rayed to make sure I didn't crack something. I roll my ankles all the time trail running, but something about this one in September was way worse. I guess I didn't help it by continuing to run for the next two weeks without giving it some rest. I'm stubborn like that. It finally healed though and I got back in to training mode.
Finishing the MMT100 meant that I had qualified for both the Western States 100 and the Hardrock 100 for 2014. Both of these are at the top of my bucket list of races. The results of the lottery for these two would determine what my 2014 racing schedule looked like. The day came and went and to no surprise, I was not selected for either. It was clear then what I would be doing in 2014.
At my first 50k, I met Jon Westmoreland who, in addition to becoming my pacer for MMT100, was also competing in the Beast Series that year. I had never heard of this but was intrigued. When I got home, a quick Google search turned up a year long race series that peaked my interest. Maybe not for 2013, but I knew that one day I wanted to do this. This year I will.
The Beast Series consists of the following races:
February 15 - Holiday Lake 50k +
March 22 - Terrapin Mountain 50k
April 27 - Promise Land 50k ++
October 3 - Grindstone 100
November 1 - Mountain Masochist Trail run (50M)
December 14 - Hellgate 100k
In addition to these races, I plan on doing the Lappers Delight 24 hour run at Jomeokee Park March 8-9. This was my first 24 hour run last year and my first time running through the night. It proved to be a huge help when I got to MMT100. In a perfect world I would like to also run the Iron Mountain Trail Run 50 miler Labor Day weekend as this would serve as a great final long run before Grindstone, but we'll see how things go. This weekend, January 11, I will be doing the Falls Lake FA near Durham. It ranges from 26-53 miles. My plan is to go at least 40. We'll see how I feel.
If I complete each race, this would definitely prove to be a huge year for me. My main goal is to stay healthy throughout though. I haven't had a year of running yet where I didn't have to take some time off due to either an overuse injury or something else. I'm hoping I can break that spell in 2014.
I'll leave you with my favorite photo from this year. Coming in to the finish of the MMT 100 at 32:35:47.
Photo courtesy Tom Toogood