|On the Skyline Trail, near mile 24 of the Woodside Ramble 50K. Photo by Sam Hsu.|
"Beat is training to walk a thousand miles to Nome in February," I replied.
"Right. But what are you training for?"
"Well, I'm training to survive Beat's Iditarod training."
It's true. You have to be pretty fit just to stay warm and alive while exerting yourself all day in subzero temperatures. I was reminded of this last year during our New Year's trip to Shell Lake, when the simple act of walking 25 to 35 miles a day in temperatures down to 30 below left me feeling absolutely shattered at the end of every day. That kind cold-forged exhaustion makes any 50K I've run feel like an easy stroll in comparison. I keep reminding myself that Beat has to do just that and more every day for a thousand miles. I can't comprehend it, honestly, because the big picture isn't imaginable. I only know that it's possible when dissected into achievable goals, one mile at a time. I learned this back in 2008 when I (and thinking back to my endurance and experience level then, rather inexplicably) took a bicycle 350 miles to McGrath. But here, five years later, I still feel deeply intimidated at the prospect of going for long walks or rides in extreme cold. And this is exactly what we plan to do over the holidays in Fairbanks, Alaska, where we'll spend a week-plus testing Beat's Iditarod gear, hiking, and camping. Brrr. I need to make sure my inner furnace is well-powered.
Woodside Ramble 50K in Huddart Park. As I mentioned last week, Beat and I really enjoy these organized trail runs. It's true we could go out and run thirty miles on our own, but the race structure always prompts me to push myself more than I would otherwise, whether I'm having a good day or a bad one. Plus, you can't beat the catering (Christmas Oreos and Clif Shot Bloks were my choice for this run) and the frequent friendly faces are also part of the fun (In this race, the volunteers dressed up like elves and hung Christmas lights around the aid station canopies.) We were able to meet up with our friend Steve before the race. Steve is also training for the Iditarod Trail Invitational, the 350-mile version. It was 37 degrees in town just before the start. Beat is making this face because it's "cold." (And note that most of the California runners in the background are still wearing shorts.)
|Photo by Scott Dunlap|
GPS data and heart rate graph here.
But for now, faster is not the goal. Survival is. I'm feeling pretty good about our trip to Fairbanks next week, where it is currently 80 degrees colder than our fun run in 40-degree rain.
In other news, I did not get into Hardrock during Sunday's lottery (no surprises there.) I wrote a column for Half Past Done a few days ago about the indignities of race lotteries. Truthfully I'd rather stay away from them, but so many intriguing events have lotteries in place (no surprises there.) Unless one more lottery somehow goes my way, 2013 might just be a summer of self-supported adventures. Yay!