29 June 2011

24 Hours of Towers Update 1

30 July 2011  7:00 AM
Soderberg Trailhead in Horsetooth Mountain Park
Fort Collins, CO

You all hoped we forgot, didn't you.  You should know better than that by now.  24 Hours of Towers is still alive and kicking.  Can you think of a better way to spend a Saturday?  An entire Saturday.

We have previously stated our goal was to have fun, and it still is.  Being a little competitive though, we did notice a couple collective total benchmarks our friends to the south set one April day on Mt. Sanitas.
  • 34 Runners
  • 240 Summits
  • 745 Miles run
  • 325,440 vertical feet
It will be fun to see if we can meet or exceed those numbers.  The first should be easy as we've had nearly that many runners out on a single Thursday evening run up Towers and over 100 different people over the last year.  745 miles can be beat with 107 round trips.  That's very doable.  The vert is going to be tougher, it will take 192 round trips to beat that total.  And that is why we need everyone to come out, even to run one lap.  They will all count towards our total.

To help people set goals we've come up with some ideas to help you out.
  • The Birthday - Run your age in miles worth of laps.
  • The Starry Night- Run laps all night, starting Sunday night at dusk.  With a new moon that night there will be stars-o-plenty to guide your way.  Slap on some glow bracelets and have fun.
  • The Solo- Run one lap up and down.  7 miles and 1700 vertical feet. 
  • The FCTR Twelve Pack - If a Baker's Dozen is 13 then a FCTR 12'er has 14 beers.  2 Laps is 14 miles and 3400 vertical feet.  That's a run worthy of a beer or two.
  • The Cool Dude - One a lap Sat morning, another Saturday evening when it's cool, and a third Sunday morning, timed to finish at breakfast time (7 AM).  Three laps is 21 miles and 5100 feet of vert, nearly a mile, all in cool weather.  
  • The Ultra - 4 laps will give you 28 miles (6800 feet of vert), that's an ultramarathon, and tougher than some 50Ks.  Bonus, we have a generous 24 hour cut off. 
  • The Pikes Peak Plus - 5 laps 35 miles with 8500 feet of vertical gain.  Pike's Peak marathon is only 26.2 miles and less than 8000 feet of vert.  
  • The Meaning of Life - Run 6 laps and you'll have traveled 42 miles (and 10,200 feet of vertical gain).  If you don't find the meaning of life in your 42nd mile you're free to keep running.  
  • The Nearly Jemez - 7 laps will leave your GPS reading 49 miles and 11,900 feet of vertical gain.  We know you couldn't sleep at night being so close to the 50 miles and 12,000 feet of vert at the Jemez 50 so we won't judge you when you run out a half mile and back to get the Garmin to turn over to 50.
  • The Vermont - 9 laps is 15,300 feet of vertical gain, that's what you get in the Vermont 100.  
  • The Leadville - 10 laps will give you 17,000 feet of vert (70 miles), roughly the vert in the Leadville Trail 100.  It saves you 30 miles though!
  • The Western - 11 laps is 18700 feet of vert (77 miles), a touch more than the Western States 100 has.
  • The Wasatch - 16 laps will give you a respectable 112 miles and 27,200 feet of vert which is just a bit over the 26,900 ft of vert found in the Wastach 100.  With 12 extra miles take solace in the overall grade being less here.
  • Mr. October - Nick says he thinks 19 laps is possible.  That's 133 miles and over 32,000 vertical feet.
  • The Hardrock - 20 laps would be 140 miles and 34000 feet of vert, basically the vert in the Hardrock 100.  
24 Hours of Towers FAQ

Can I run as part of a team?
  Of course you can.  If you each do 4 laps you can even call it an Ultra Team.

Do I have to run for 24 hours straight?
  Of course not.  Run when you want.  Stop when you want.  Eat when you want.  Drink beer when you want.  You don't even need to start at 7:00 AM if you don't want to.  

Should I be done by 7:00 AM on Sunday?
  If you want to join us for a big campstove breakfast you should.

Do I need to sign up or register?
  No.  This is not a race, just a bunch of trail runners getting together.  We'll have a log at the start/finish campsite, I54, where you can record what you ran.

Will there be other things to do besides run?
  Of course.  We anticipate a crowd at the campground during the day and hopefully into the night.  There is even rumor of a boat or two being around for the day.  If the usual FCTR shenanigans aren't occuring at basecamp I'll be disappointed. 

Where should I park?
  The best place to park will be the Soderberg Trailhead.  There's a $7 daily fee to park there if you don't have a Larimer county park pass.  The gate to the trailhead does close sometime in the evening though the park remains open, I will get the specifics and post them at a later date.

26 June 2011

The mental side of running

  You may have noticed I haven't posted much lately.  The biggest reason is simply history, I am not a consistent blogger.  Another reason is that I was in a bit of a mental slump though.
In March and April I was running well, both in terms of speed and pushing to new training distances.  I was feeling good about the Big Horn 50 Mile race I had signed up for.  Doubt started to creep in though in mid-April.  It started with an injury to my right arch, a strain or something, I am not 100% certain.  The injury didn't sideline me but did curtail my fast running as fast running seemed to irritate it most.

  I was still running my planned weekend long runs and was still maintaining weekly mileage volumes which I planned on.  Nonetheless  doubt over Big Horn still managed to creep in.  I am typically very positive when running (the Moab Red Hot excepted), this was new territory for me.  The nature of my doubts had to do with the large "no man's land" nature of the race, the territory between my longest run, 33 miles, and the race distance, originally 52 miles.  This was not going to change during my training as 30 miles was the longest I planned on running, and is typical of a 50 mile training plan.

  Fortunately I know some great runners in the Fort Collins Trail Runners who did a great job talking me off the ledge by sharing their race experiences and advice with me.  Slowly their advice took root and over the two weeks before the race I was gained confidence, or at least was less afraid of the unknown, and I found myself eager to find out what was in store.

  The evening before Big Horn, and the morning of, I was less nervous than I have been for some other races I've done.  As the race started I focused on small chunks of the race, not the big picture.  I didn't think of "no man's land" until I was actually there, and by that point I was feeling good because I hadn't been dwelling on it.  I kept the negative out, something I failed to do at the Red Hot, and I had a very enjoyable race.  I've done a good handful of 30+ mile training runs and races now and I can honestly say none of them were as enjoyable as Big Horn, quite possibly none of them were as easy as Big Horn.

  The physical tools have to come first, the endurance, the training.  But all the physical stuff can be thrown out the window if the mental game isn't in order.  Yogi Berra was right.  The converse is also true, the limit to what we can push ourselves to do is lot further away than many of us realize.  Going into Big Horn I couldn't wrap my mind around the idea of running a 100.  I now see how it's possible.  I'm nowhere near ready, physically nor mentally, but I can now see the path to get there.

  I have been quite pleased with the sense of accomplishment that completing Big Horn has left me with.  It has left a smile on my face for over a week now.  My friend Mary, who also ran her first 50 at Big Horn, summed it up well yesterday when we were out running, she said she was still on a runner's high.  Me too.