Three days to Collegiate Peaks 50 mile. I ran this in 2009 in a lackluster 8:13. Of course, like everyone, it seems, I have several excuses for the time: off course, shoe problems, sun in my eyes, whatever.
I've fretted over how to approach the back to back weekends of 50 mile races (CP this weekend and Ice Age the next) - take it easy at CP and run hard at IA, run hard at CP and limp through IA, take it easy at both and just use them as great long runs to get ready for the onslaught of 100s. I've finally settled on the plan to run both as hard as possible. I counted 12 people on the entrants' list whom I can see annihilating me (Dylan, Duncan) and/or beating me in a closer, more even run down (people of ability similar to mine like Garett and Todd G - and several others). I've had a decent knack for being realistic and pragmatic when it comes to self-predictions and can typically run my own race based on feel without worrying much about others around me. With that in mind, I'm shooting for a 7:40 finish at CP; hopefully that'll be enough for a single digit placing.
Ice Age is another ball of sticky wax. Sea level, not knowing who's running, a typically fast race up front (Todd Braje was disappointed with his 6:20 win there last year, feeling he could run faster - I think he got a bit lost) - these are points that make a finish prediction difficult. I can, however, extrapolate from pouring over past results (something I love doing and have been called an ultrarunning encyclopedia - or stalker, whichever, whatever…) and project myself into the mix. If I recover from CP well and can show up somewhat fresh, I'd like to run 7:1X. Of course, a 50 miler can wreck the body depending on how it's run and I could show up to IA lucky to crack 8 hours. I've been resilient in the past (racing 100 miles, 54 miles, 100k in a six week period last fall; yeah, I was cooked at the 100k but stumbled through it) and hope the extra oxygen and excitement of racing IA can smooth out the rough edges and carry me through. Todd Braje is the one person I do know will be there and I'm guessing a 5:5x finish from him. I'm excited to meet him and get to see him run f-a-s-t.
Truly, I'll be glad to have May done and under my belt, so my real season can start in San Diego in June. My main focus is Leadville and Bear; everything else is just sweat, dirt, and time.