After a down year for my running in 2021, some may have noticed that I’ve been running with a bit more purpose in the past two months. There’s a good reason for that. I’ve got to get in shape for the High Lonesome 100 Mile in late July. Yup, I’ll be running what looks to be an amazing 100 miler in Colorado’s Sawatch Mountains thanks to* High Lonesome presenting sponsor Laws Whiskey House.**
While I’ve barely been on the course, I’ve spent some time in the area. First, I’ve been there a couple of times while crewing Meghan Hicks’s Nolan’s 14 runs in 2016, 2017, and 2020.
I’ve also been there to scout and attempt a Troutman (which combines running a marathon and catching Colorado’s four trout species along the way … among other things) and again when I ran my own Troutman 100 miler (entraining a Troutman in a 100-mile effort) in October 2020. From what I’ve seen of the area centered around the Chalk Creek drainage (home of Princeton Hot Springs), I can’t wait to check out the course, which tackles higher terrain than I’ve spent much time on in the area.
I’m particularly looking forward to a couple of sections along the way. From miles 25 to 35, there’s a double crossing of Laws Pass from the tiny high-altitude town of St. Elmo to Cottonwood Creek, where I’ll hopefully take in some stunning panoramas of the Sawatch.
While I’ve not looked at the timing, I hope I catch both sides of Chalk Creek Pass around mid-race in daylight so I can check out some headwaters that I’m unfamiliar with. Finally, there’s the last 30-mile, net-downhill stretch from Monarch Pass back to the finish, the running of which I’m taking as a personal challenge.
Aside from the race and the scouting, I’m so excited for the motivation that the promise of the race is providing me, not only in my training, but also in hopefully improving some areas of weakness in my past ultrarunning and current fitness.
I’ve got four bullet points on my whiteboard guiding my journey:
- Many long runs – I’ll talk more about this in a future article, but being competent (or better) on the runnable sections of High Lonesome will be a key focus.
- Retrain hiking – Hiking the climbs is normally one of my ultra strengths. In chaining myself to my desk last year, vert wasn’t a thing. This should come easily enough (both in physiology and in motivation), but I’m consciously aware that it must be done.
- Achilles rehabilitation – Yeah, both my Achilles are garbage (improved from hot garbage) at this point. I’m being more diligent in my stretching, adding in some percussive massaging of my calves, and will be doing some more targeted bodywork on my Achilles.
- Learn fueling – This will likely be another standalone post, but, in short, I’ve mostly been good on fueling in ultras through 16 or 17 hours and, then, I more or less stop eating. I’m working with nutritionist Meredith Terranova on some in-race fueling adjustments in the hope of fueling and feeling strong in the later miles of High Lonesome.
Admittedly, there’ve been some highs and lows in my running over the past two months, but many more highs and the lows I can and have rationally attributed to other outside stress or overreaching a bit on the training side of things (like two pairs of 20 milers within a few days). Still, the big picture and little detail motivation is there.
Last Saturday, I jumped in the Silverton Whiteout, a mostly fat bike race that allows runners to join in on what was an 11-mile loop this year, with plans for a 22 miler and hopes for a 33 miler … but as lap three rolled along, I felt good and got the itch for a fourth lap to bring me up to 44 miles. As I was confident I wouldn’t injure myself or set my training back too far, I tacked on that extra lap, finding my weak spots and working through them. I could hope for nothing more from the day.
So, here I sit in my office on a sunny February morning in Silverton, Colorado, dreaming of running High Lonesome this summer and all the steps along the journey to get there.
Call for Comments
- What 2022 event(s) have you motivated to get out there and train right now?
* The vast majority of High Lonesome’s entries are split evenly between men and women in a lottery. There are a few additional entries outside the lottery, including five sponsor spots, of which Laws has one. (Entry details.)
** I know the good folks of Laws from their support of the conservation non-profit that I’m a part of called Running Rivers and the Flyathlon (run/fish) races the organization puts on. Cheers to Laws!