Plugging away during the 2011 Oil Creek 100
Well here we are in October, and the 2012 ultra season is quickly winding down. It has been an incredible year for me on the running front. I hope to summarize some of the highlights in my annual "end-of-the-year" post, but for now I want to spend just a minute or two focusing on the next month. Tomorrow I'll be participating in my last scheduled ultra of the season before I pack up the ol' running shoes for the winter, and head South again to to Antarctica (I deploy end of November). Last year at this time I had just run the Oil Creek 100 and was prepping for my last race of the season, my home-town Tussey Mountainback 50. This year Oil Creek was moved back a week so I won't be running Tussey next weekend. Again I'm torn between being excited at the prospects of another ultra....my 21st in total, and my 10th 100-miler, and being sad that the season is winding down. So I thought....
Why does it have to?
I have been thinking a lot about how I might better close out 2012, and I'll admit that several zany ideas have floated through my head. I tossed around an idea of attempting an all-out FKT-style blitz along the mid-state trail here in PA. I've never attempted a speed record, but I think I'm ready to...and the 300+ mile Mid-State Trail seems like a good bet. The only problem is that various trail sections are now closed and rerouted due to Marcellus Shale drilling/fracking and because it's now hunting season (many parts of the trail go through gamelands). This sort of put the kibosh on that idea. I also toyed with the idea of doing a one day Allegheny Front Trail blitz (~45 miles), but again, I would be faced with a potential hunting issue. Also, 45 miles just doesn't seem like a "big bang" to end the season. I tossed some bike-touring thoughts around, but my most recent idea, and one that I'm starting to lean towards is a length-wise run across Delaware. I mapped out a pretty cool route that would take me along coastal and backroads (in addition to going through some cool/hip towns). It would be about 125 miles total.
Still though, I'm not sure what I want to do. Feel free to send some ideas my way in the comments if you can think of a better and more unique challenge that would be relatively local to Pennsylvania. I'm open to team efforts or whatever. I just want it to be unique, exciting, and of course, challenging.
I'll post updates as things materialize and something of an official plan takes shape. I hope to do whatever I am going to do...the weekend of the 27th or of Nov 3rd (before it gets too cold).
As far as tomorrow, I don't really have a game plan. I'm headed up to to the race tonight just bringing a smile and a hope to have a pleasant run. I am also looking forward to seeing some friends and familiar faces. Last year I had a ridiculously good day at the race, finishing 5th place overall and crossing the line under 22hrs. This year I don't anticipate that type of finish at all. Like usual, I'm going to listen to my body, try to keep the smile on, and see how things evolve. Sure there is always that part of me that gets a bit fired up during an actual race...so I just don't know how it will be for sure. This time, I will also have someone coming with me to cheer me on....so perhaps I'll have a little extra motivation to make it to the end of each loop a bit faster :-)
At any rate....wish me luck as I close out my "official" race schedule for 2012.
I am certainly looking forward to what 2013 may bring as well.....
Last year's sub-22 gold prize....