This is it, race week. Wednesday I'm flying to Salt Lake City and driving to Logan. Friday before dawn I'm headed up the trail to Bear Lake.
Week ~5 was a rest week at the end of a big training block. I biked and ran for less than 4 hours. Week ~4 I ran for 12 hours, 53 miles, and 8,500 feet of elevation gain. Much of that was above 10,000 feet in Rocky Mountain National Park, my go-to for accessible high country. I ran up to Granite Pass, 12,100 feet, just below the Longs Peak boulder field, and test drove the gels that will be served at the Bear 100. Spring Energy's Awesome Sauce is good! I could eat them all day. Spring's Speednut product is a bit harder for me to stomach. One of those every few hours might be all I can take.
At the end of week ~4 I did some volunteering at the Black Squirrel Trail Half-Marathon, a race I've run several times. I helped park cars in the pre-race darkness and get first-timers pointed toward registration and the starting line. I saw the Milky Way in the clear, dark early morning sky. I caught up with the race directors, Nick and Brad, and saw other friends in the first mile of the course. Volunteering at events is always needed and fun. I recommend it.
In week ~3, I ran for 9.5 hours, 42 miles, and 5,700 feet. In the interest of fine tuning, I went out in the heat of the day and took my poles. In week ~2, last week, I got the new COVID vaccination and did less running and more yoga and body-weight strength and mobility exercise. Split squats with dumbbells made me sore, but I am over it now.
Where am I at now, in week ~1? I think I have enough experience and adequate training this year to finish. Three events of 40 miles, including one overnight, and one at very high elevation. The heart palpitations that were troubling me last year almost never occur now. I'm well over my most recent sinus infection. I've got all the gear I need and am physically and psychologically prepared for hot weather, cold weather, and rain or snow. The race will have more food than I can eat along the way and will deliver my five drop bags to aid stations and the finish line. I don't have a crew or pacer for the run, but think I'll be fine without. Reality is that it's harder to have these as you get older. Your family is busy and your friends are busy with their own families. I'm shy, but not shy about forming small ad-hoc teams on the trail, so I expect to be fine on that front.
The Bear 100 Endurance Run starts with 5,000 feet of climbing in the first 10 miles. I can do this. At least it's at the beginning and not the end. That leaves only 17,000 feet for the last 90 miles. I'm joking about this to keep my spirits up. This will be super hard, a big bump up from my hardest week of training, and I'll need to go even deeper into the unknown than I've done at the Never Summer 100K. I'm ready to see what happens out there.
The one thing that's concerning me is that I have a persistent ache in my right foot. Yesterday I went out for an hour in my Nike Terra Kiger's to see if I might want to bring them along as a shoe option. The answer is no: they don't have enough padding for my foot in its current condition. I feel worse today than yesterday. There's at least a small chance that I have a bone stress problem. The pain and swelling is right on the "N-spot". I'm not going to let this stop me from starting and will see how it goes on Friday. I've got a pretty high pain threshold and will be stashing some ibuprofen in my later drop bags. Cold rain and cold, numb feet, if the forecast holds, might help, too. How is that for positive thinking?
If you want to follow along on Friday and Saturday, the live tracking should be at https://data0.adilas.biz/bear100/. My bib number is 314. That website currently shows last year's race. I expect that this year's progress will be shown on Friday morning.