Friday, January 26, 2018

Return to the Wild

Hard to believe it was only a year ago that I was taking part in the iconic Arrowhead 135. I still can't believe I actually finished it. My race report last year covers all that but a year later I feel I have yet to fully grasp all that happened. Now the time has come to return to northern Minnesota. Finishing once could have been a fluke so doing it again will be a big test.

I've spent the month after Tuscobia running a little bit. My longest run was 15 miles at a local "fat ass" event. I've done a few runs on the treadmill at the gym. It has been a bit of a struggle to get myself to get going but once I start running I feel good. The main problem now is I'm feeling bored and impatient. I want to get to the meat of the training for the spring and summer races and this small window between races does not allow for doing too much without risking injury or being fatigued at Arrowhead. And speaking of meat, I have most definitely been eating way too much in the interim. My justification is that I am putting on an insulating layer. Hey, it worked last year. Luckily my bathroom scale died and I haven't had to deal with it. Ignorance really is bliss but also a little chubby.

Where I want to be again
I don't have much more to say about Arrowhead that I haven't said previously (see the race report from last year). I'm very confident I can finish. It will be extremely difficult, mostly mentally. I have the advantage of knowing I have done it before and I am fully capable of doing it again. I will just have to keep telling myself that over and over again. The Tuscobia 80 was very hard and a very good reminder of the focus and determination these races require.
The weather looks like it won't be too extreme, with temperatures expected to range from around -10 at the start to 25 degrees towards the end. There may be some snow on the 2nd night that could affect footing and slow things down. Worrying about it won't change it so I will just deal with whatever happens.
This year I am going to give the unsupported option a try. This means I will not be allowed any food, water or aid at the 3 checkpoints. I will have to carry all my food and melt snow for water refills. I will not be allowed to go inside and warm up. It adds a bit of difficulty and will likely take longer. This should all be good practice for future winter races I'd like to try.

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I'm after the one in the middle

As always, the best part of these winter races will be getting to see the small winter ultra community. I'm looking forward to seeing everyone, telling stories, sharing some miles out there and giving big hugs after finishing. It's a beautiful thing we got going. See you in International Falls!

You can follow the race live beginning Monday Jan. 29 here:

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