Bring it On! The Summer 2012 Racing Series

Leadville belt buckle

Leadville belt buckle for Sub 25 hours

While we’re kicking off our spring marathon season this weekend with the inaugural Rock N’ Roll Madrid Marathon, we have also recently set our summer racing schedule by signing up for a host of races that should prove adventurous , challenging, and rewarding. Plus, I’m feeling highly over-confident today and a bit ornery so it’s time to sling some low quality game, talk some trash, and get excited for the summer of racing.

Our spring racing season is set to wrap up at the end of May with a tough trail marathon on the west coast of Ireland. Shortly thereafter, we plan to travel back to Ohio, pick up our car and belongings, and then head out to Seattle, which we plan to call home for at least the next 6 months. So for the summer, we’re shifting from a European racing theme to a Western US filled schedule. It starts off with:

Vancouver, USA Marathon: We’re kicking it off with the 2ndannual marathon in our old home town of Vancouver, WA on June 17th. It’s a flat course over familiar terrain. We are friends with many of the participants and were even able to score a deal on our entry fee. This also gives me a chance to try and take down Cody Barton’s course record, and show our friend Josh what the marathon is all about. (I warned of poor trash talking!)

Missoula Montana Marathon: With the tag line, “Run the Best in the Wild West”, how could we resist? We loved the city back when we visited 7 years ago and have heard good things about this race from our Swedish marathoning friend Anders. The July 8thrace fits nicely into our schedule and will be a fun trip over to Montana from Seattle. Plus we are going with our good friend Eric. He has the hook up with family members that are graciously hosting us. I would also like a little redemption from the Chicago Marathon of 2010 when Eric went trotting by me midway through the race as I wussed out and got walloped by him. So watch out Eric, it’s on!

The Wonderland Trail: This is where it starts getting a little crazy (and I’m looking for other crazys to join me). Inspired by Killian Jornet and the running film Unbreakable: The Western States 100, I am attempting to run this awesome 93 mile trail around Mt. Rainier over the course of a weekend. We already booked our campsite for Saturday, July 14that the Cougar Rock Campground alongside the trail in the National Park because the park gets very fully in the summer. The plan is to run around 60 miles on Saturday and then the last 33 miles on Sunday morning to complete the loop. We’ve had some friends express some interest in being part of it (Alex and Rocket Cop) and we would love more company, either as crew, pacer, or running the entire crazy thing with me.

White River 50: We’re going back! On July 28th, it’s back to the land of Mt. Rainier as we go back to the site of our first ultra marathon, the White River 50. We did this back in 2008 with minimal training and no ultra experience. We ran well and I even won some shoes as an award, but this time we should be older and wiser (this is questionable), plus we’ve been doing a lot of long distance running with training more focused for ultras. It’s an awesomely brutal course with two big climbs totally somewhere near 8500’ ft of elevation gain on only two climbs. It’s rugged and rough, and it’s a great preparation for the grand finale of the summer schedule.

Leadville 100: Three weeks after the White River 50, it’s out to the highest town in Colorado, Leadville, for the 29thannual “Race across the Sky” 100 mile run. The course elevation ranges from 9200’ to 12600’ and is a seriously challenging out-and-back course. Thankfully, we signed up back in December (Chasing the Belt Buckle) for this race which quickly sold out. It should be a rocking trip with four of my friends joining in on the race and numerous more making serious claims about joining us in Leadville for pacing and crew duties for this unique and amazing event.

The race is on August 18thand 19th– I love races that take two days. It has a 30 hour time limit and a completion percentage somewhere below 50%. We have been wagering as to which of the five of us has the best odds of finishing and who has the best odds of finishing fastest. My brother Jeff had high odds after his stellar 20:39 performance at the Rocky Raccoon 100 back in 2011, but then he got a stress fracture and hasn’t run for two months. Our friend Ryan is a tough competitor with a fast 50 mile time and a marathon of 2:33, but he’s never run the distance, and he’s coming from the lowlands of Charleston, SC. Matt Van Cleave, an old Cincinnati philosophy and running friend has signed up as well and has been doing big miles. While he’s done a 50k (and maybe a 50 miler), he’s inexperienced at the 100 mile distance. However, he also has a fast marathon PR in the ballpark of 2:40, and he logs some serious miles up in the flat lands of Minnesota/North Dakota. I am a wildcard. I’ve dropped out of a 100 Miler (Rocky in 2011) but I’ve also finished one (2012 Rocky with food poisoning). My marathon PR is decent but I have shown I can wuss out too. The dark horse is my brother’s friend Eric. While having never raced even a marathon, this guy got inspired by ultras and was the impetus for Jeff, Ryan, and myself signing up. The edge he may have is that he is rumored to be taking the summer off from school and work to live in Boulder and train at altitude all summer while the rest of us are running near sea level only to jump up to the 10,000 ft range for the race.

So who will it be? The guy who has actually done it before (Jeff), the guy that has rocked at every distance below the 100 (Ryan), the work horse trainer (Matt V.), the wildly inconsistent me, or the dark horse (Eric)? My money is on me right now! But that may be due to the over confidence I’m feeling today. Madrid may very well knock me down a few pegs since I haven’t done any speed work (nothing under 8 minute mile pace) for over a month.

But here it is, summer 2012. It’s quickly approaching and there is so much to look forward to. Thanks to everyone that is already part of the excitement and encouragement to those that are on the fence about getting involved. There are only so many summers and so many opportunities to experience the amazingness that comes with these types of events. They’re awesome in and of themselves but they’re even better when done with friends – even trash talking friends! So come on out and support us, run with us, or talk a little game with us because as Tony from P90x says, “It’s time to bring it!”.

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