I wasn't going into this into this in the best condition. I'd done little running since Nepal, fought off a cold and was operating on reduced calorie intake since New Years in an attempt to send those holiday pounds back from whence they came. The 5am wakeup call after a poor night of sleep didn't help either. All pre-run excuses aside, I was still excited upon meeting Harry and Martina at the Park-n-Ride anticipating a fun day on the trails. I'd try to ignore the fact that the Arrowhead 135 was looming on my calendar only a few short weeks away.
|Evidence of having fun along the way (photo courtesy of Martina Koldewey)|
Fun. That was the order of the day and a beautiful day it was, perhaps even too beautiful if that's possible. By the time I reached the turnaround at the Chabot Marina a little after 9am, the sun was warming the air and I was already sweating much more than expected. An hour and a half later, along the exposed ridge, I was starting to cramp. I bummed a salt tab off another runner since I hadn't brought any of my own. The temps were probably just reaching low 60s, but for the remainder of the run back to Skyline Gate, I felt as though I was in a mid-summer run. On the final climb, I was hot, dehydrated and even dry heaved once. This was pretty much the antithesis of training for a race across snow-covered trails in northern Minnesota.
I stopped at 25 miles, foregoing the ultra distance to keep my cramping legs from getting worse. It's pretty paltry as a longest run before such a serious undertaking, but if my experience at Susitna last year is any indication, running for 5 miles straight in those frozen conditions will be more than I'll do. With the extremely mild December and no snow in the mountains, race-specific training has been impossible. With the arctic air being hogged far north of the border all month, Minnesota hadn't seen much snow either. I was beginning to think that I'd be dragging a sled across the grass for 135 miles. The new year has seen snow and a few sub-zero temps reaching International Falls, so things are looking up, so to speak. It looks like I'll be heading in under-trained and ill-prepared, just like I like it.