Well, I will leave as soon as I get this mess of gear organized and loaded up. The preparation is, basically, done at this point. Now I must rest the legs and get to higher ground where I can attempt to acclimate. What a shame, because I realized yesterday morning that I am finally getting acclimated to the suffocating southern Indiana heat and humidity.
The training met my expectations. Many two-hour runs were punctuated by both quick asphalt miles and Stru Hill repeats. I climbed that hill faster than ever, even while sweating like a yard sprinkler. My focus on the Hill probably cost me in leg turnover on the roads, but that is OK since there isn't much asphalt to run on in the SJS50. I doubt that I will want to run sub-6 pace at the start or end of a 50 Mile event.
Even though it came late due to the pinched nerve in my shoulder, cycling also played a role in my preparation. Last year I was able to rely on the BS (Big Saturday) 3-5 hour workouts in which I rode 75-120 minutes after 2-3 hour runs. This year I ran those 2+ hour runs more often and gradually added cycling as I was able. For instance, in recent days I ran 1.5-3 hours as described above and then followed up with 75-90 minute rides. While my overall fitness is not great, due to low cycling endurance, I am running quite strong for an old has-been who never was . .
Here are a few observations that came to mind while I was reviewing my log last night. I did not trip or fall or turn my ankles even one time during this CO build-up. This was a first! My core work was at an all-time high because I did not allow myself to forget the irritating and hilarious (to my sons) back failure which caused me to finish the Silver Rush 50 looking like I needed a cane. Well, actually, I DID need a cane! Also, while my cycling was limited (just yesterday I reached 500 miles for the year), I have been pushing the pedals hard enough to turn in a 26 mph 12-mile time trial and, more recently, a 27.3 mph 10-mile training ride.
All of this leads me to believe that I have put in the effort. Now I must get this Indiana body to higher ground. I am looking forward to a leisurely week of acclimation during which I will revisit the high country around Leadville before moving on to the Lake City area for some course recon. I had originally planned to go directly to Lake City, but the 5-8 feet of snow on parts of the SJS50 course will likely cause the race committee to hold off on a decision to use an alternate snow route until just before the race. I want to pack drop bags (the crew just landed summer jobs!) before I leave, but what goes into those bags depends on the course. So, I will wait.
Of course, I do not plan to simply complete the SJS50 and return home. I also intend to climb the eleven San Juan 14ers I have not climbed before I head east. That goal will largely depend on my recovery from the SJS50 and the snow pack. I am definitely packing all of my winter gear while remaining hopeful that the warm air continues to liquefy the snow. Recent reports indicate that the snow, while being quite deep in many places, becomes slushy in the sunlight. I post-holed my way up the Crestones back in 2007 and I can say that is one adventure I am not ready to repeat every day for a week.
This promises to be another fine adventure. I am excited about the people and mountains I will come to know. And, of course, the memories and stories that I will be able to cherish and share.