Race awaits in Bighorn Mtns.; follow my progress live

16 Jun
Marta Ostler pauses along the trail for the Bighorn Mountain Wild and Scenic Trail Run on June 7, 2014. The 100-miler starts June 20 and the 50-miler on June 21. Portions of the trail have been described as a "shoe-sucking bog," and this portion qualifies as that. (Photo courtesy Michelle Maneval and the Bighorn Mountain race)

Marta Ostler pauses along the trail for the Bighorn Mountain Wild and Scenic Trail Run on June 7, 2014. The 100-miler starts June 20 and the 50-miler on June 21. Portions of the trail have been described as a “shoe-sucking bog,” and this portion qualifies as that. (Photo courtesy Michelle Maneval and the Bighorn Mountain race)

Here we go: Wyoming or bust.

By Thursday night, Barb and I will have trekked the 1,000-miles to Dayton, Wyo., and bright and early Saturday morning, my niece, Melissa Davidson, and I will hit the trail on the Bighorn Mountain 50-mile trail run.

I can’t wait.

After a few setbacks in training after the first of the year, I was finally able to ramp up my mileage in May, logging 173 miles. This is the highest monthly mileage I’ve ever run. Since I limit myself to four runs a week, that means my average run was 10.3 miles. By the end of the month, I had completed long runs of 20, 25 and 30 miles, and those were all done one day after doing medium-long runs of 8-10 miles. When mapping out my training, I had hoped for a 35-miler, but time got away from me.

Most recently, I’ve been on a three-week taper, and my form and speed (all things are relative) seem to be returning. The break from the long runs was needed.

Snow still dots the landscape on June 6, 2014, near the start of the 50-miler in the Bighorn Mountain Wild and Scenic Trail Run. The 100-miler starts on Friday, June 20, in Dayton, Wyo., and will turn around near this spot. The 50-miler starts on Saturday, June 21, at the Jaws trailhead. (Photo courtesy Michelle Maneval and the Bighorn Mountain race)

Snow still dots the landscape on June 6, 2014, near the start of the 50-miler in the Bighorn Mountain Wild and Scenic Trail Run. The 100-miler starts on Friday, June 20, in Dayton, Wyo., and will turn around near this spot. The 50-miler starts on Saturday, June 21, at the Jaws trailhead. (Photo courtesy Michelle Maneval and the Bighorn Mountain race)

Some of the best news I’ve received in the past few days is that the trails, even at the highest altitude, are snow-free and passable. But there are plenty of “shoe-sucking mud bogs.” Since there have still been flurries on the mountain and the overnight lows have remained in the mid-30s, the lack of snow on the trails is really welcome news.

We’ve rented a cabin less than a mile from the start of the race, which is a real plus from a logistical standpoint. I hope to get in a short run on Friday morning to test the trail and get a feel for the challenge. The race begins at 6 a.m. Mountain time on Saturday.

Follow me:

  • This link from the race organizers will provide updates at three checkpoints in the race. For the 50 milers, it is will give updates at mile 18, mile 34.5 and the finish. According to the website, “Each time the participant reaches one of these timed points, their pace is recalculated giving you a view of where your runner should be at their current pace on the course map.”
  • Scan for resultsIf you’d like to track the results on your iPhone, look up “It’s Your Race” in the App Store or click on this link to go directly there. Or scan the QR code here to go straight to the site. For even quicker results, you can narrow it down to: 50M race, male, 50-59, Smidt.
  • Here’s a link for the Android version of the official tracking app, via Google Play.
  • Barb will post occasional updates to either her Facebook page or my Facebook page.

I’ll let you know next week how it went.

Powder River!

You can wish me well in the comments below. I could use all the support I can get.

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9 Responses to “Race awaits in Bighorn Mtns.; follow my progress live”

  1. Christine Brandenburg June 16, 2014 at 6:25 pm #

    Good luck, Mark! Run well and have fun!

    Like

  2. cindy iutzi June 16, 2014 at 9:20 pm #

    This would be a good time to run mindfully, be in step with the moment, exercise your judgment, listen to your body and tear up the trail. Have fun!

    Like

    • Mark Smidt June 16, 2014 at 9:22 pm #

      Thanks for the good advice. I plan to enjoy every step.

      Like

  3. @chasing42 June 16, 2014 at 10:44 pm #

    Good luck!

    Like

  4. Imarunner2012 June 17, 2014 at 11:11 am #

    Good luck and run well my friend. I ran a marathon in Maine over the weekend. Went over to Campobello Island in New Brunswick and back.
    People were awesome, race was killer, a good time was had by all. 50 miles just seems so painful sitting here today. What type of pace do you run these races at?
    Andy

    Like

    • Mark Smidt June 17, 2014 at 11:32 am #

      Thanks, Andy. I saw your post ahead of your race about needing a passport. I wondered how the event went for you.

      Trail ultras are kind of a different beast. “Pace” has such a different meaning for them. This one will require me to run through mud bogs where the trail is soaked from snowmelt; creek crossings are common; many of them have pretty hefty vertical. This race will top 9,000 feet elevation before dropping down to 4,700. Then it gains about 2,300 feet of vertical in 5 miles, going from 4,700 feet back up to 7,000 — and it keeps going up from there. For us commoners, a rule of thumb is to hike the uphills and run the downhills and flats. This one is 52 miles with a 15-hour cutoff (17:30 pace), and that’s the only average pace I hope to maintain.

      Like

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