Through the first three weeks of twenty-four week training for Bighorn 100 in Wyoming, I was on schedule, strong, and finding that I had more speed than I was used to tapping into. The structure of having to go to bed early more days than not and waking up incredibly early for training has been very fulfilling.
Life and training in Colorado has been quite different from the comforts of New Jersey, a place I’ve lived and training nearly my entire life. Altitude, mountain running and trails are three variables I’ve had to contend with since the move to Boulder in August. Before moving, I’d found a trail that ran the perimeter of my development and a retirement community, under power lines, through a barren masonry plant property, and momentarily on a rarely used train track. It was far from interesting and on the day I heard gun shots in the distance - learning later there was a firing range nearby - I vowed not to make my way out to those parts again.
The trails in Boulder, well, its simply a mecca out here. Even after the floods washed away chunks of well-groomed trails, runners have hardly taken issue with what was left behind. Its all still in play and all still wonderful.
As for altitude and mountain running, its something that will improve over time and effort. In the days after the move from sea level, I quickly jumped into some hard runs that tested my body’s ability to do without as much oxygen as I had grown accustom. Luckily, no altitude sickness. The mountain running has been a challenge, but I’m dumbfounded by the thought of training at sea level for a 100-miler with over 16,000 ft of elevation gain. Its certainly wouldn’t have been impossible, but I just don’t think I could have done enough in New Jersey to prepare myself for what would be in store come race day at a mountainous ultra.