I ran the Orcas 50k for the 7th time last week. It was muddy. It was fun. I ran like I always run this race, slow to start, cruise until mile 20, kill the hills and pass people, hang on down the last descent and fight off cramping the last mile to the finish. My goal was to break 5 hours. I ran 5:00:45. About 45 seconds better than last year only this year the course was like running through uncooked brownie mix spread thick over a steep, lumpy, wet sheet pan. At the finish I looked like I'd run a "warrior dash" only with an extra 29 miles. I was pleased with 8th place as I am 29 years older than the kid who won. So it goes.
2015 is shaping up to be epic. First off, I got through the Hardrock lottery and will be toeing the line in Silverton for the fourth time. I WILL avenge my DNF from last year and have made this my "A" race for the year. Hello vertical training.
After last year's experiment in over racing, I have decided to take a hint from other elite runners of a certain age and trim down my race schedule to include ample time for recovery. I like running. Last year I felt like I trained hard for Western States in June, raced it, then spent the rest of the year trying to recover for the the next race. I was sore from April until October. Lesson learned.
Having a taste of racing in Europe has wetted my appetite for more. While at UTMB, waiting to check in my carry on luggage also known as my "Mandatory gear", someone handed me a pamphlet on running in Croatia. The idea had never crossed my mind before. I was intrigued. My wife has some Croatian roots so I kept the flyer and brought it back home along with a bottle of pastis, some unused euros and a new vest. I kept the thought of Croatia burning all fall and finally researched the race, the only 100 mile race in Croatia, The 100 Miles Of Istria which crosses the Istrian peninsula from Labin in the East to Umag in the West. I mean, really, what the hell? 100 miles on the frontier of European ultra running? Who could resist? Apparently most the people I invited to come run it with me. Finally, Roch Horton said to me, "I'm kinda tired of the classic American 100s. Croatia sounds fun." Game on!
Last year Jay Aldous from Salt Lake City was the first American to run the 100 Miles of Istria. He won. He said they treated him like a rock star. When he found out we were thinking of going he signed up to defend his crown. Now there are five runners from the USA signed up. We are still outnumbered by runners from Russia, Slovenia, Hungary. The race is April 17th. The 100 mile training starts last week.
My new year's resolution is to take advantage of whatever opportunities present themselves. I hope you do the same. I have the opportunity to spend some retirement funds living life while the living is good, I've got the support of my family, friends, and sponsors to expand my limits. Isn't that what we are here to do? Explore, expand and live like someone left the gate open? I should probably learn how to say bathroom, beer and where am I going in Croatian.