Less than 3 weeks to Bear Mountain. I haven't raced a 50 miler since Sulphur Springs in 2010 and that didn't work out so well for me. I'd like to think that I'm at a better place in my training than I was two years ago. My training has been solid, I feel great, I feel strong. I under no illusion: Bear Mountain will be a b!tch. It will be my slowest 50 miles ever. It's the nature of that course. This should be an awesome, fun filled trip though. Should be a hoot and a half.
As I mentioned above, training is going well. Quite frankly, I don't remember ever having such a solid base going into the season. My training going into 2009, following Norrie Williamson's book "Everyone's Guide to Distance Running" was close, but included very little trail running outside of races themselves. My experience is that road hills are not up to the task when it comes to preparing for trails. Most road runners, when confronted with the dramatic inclines in most trail races, throw up their hands in the air and declare that trail running is not really running. I find that road runners are often obsessed with their pace and can't handle it when they have to slow down, regardless of the terrain. That's why they hate hills so much. When I'm in Sedona, how many times have I stared in amazement at runners on the sidewalk, wondering why on earth they would run on pavement when they could be out on the hundred of kilometers of amazing trails a few hundred feet from their current location. After talking to a couple of people about this, apparently the answer is pace. Who knew? More trails for us! That being said, looking at how popular trail running is becoming, I guess that more and more people agree with us that pace isn't everything.
So, this year I've got a deeper and wider base than ever before. Hopefully, this will pay off at Bear Mountain. My biggest problem with that race is how hard to race it. When do I run up a hill rather than walk? I've run only three 50 milers and my last two have been a lesson in bonking. My first one went well, but I nearly passed out at 35 miles at Haliburton in 2009 and almost quit at 43 miles at Sulphur. Hopefully, the additional training and experience will help.
If I'm totally honest though, the thing that freaks me out the most about Bear Mountain is the