I can't help but to begin this post laughing. Laughing about my 2014 New Years post on Facebook about running every possible ultra that I could find, but not running any of them well. I sure hit the nail squarely on the head with that prediction. It's okay though. I had to traverse the rocky road instead of the nice paved one. It's emptied me out here to where I am now.
I've promised myself to take some proper rest time over the summer and actually train for a race. I've decided that race will be The Laurel Valley 32 Mile Ultra on August 9th. This gives me 12 solid weeks to train and improve my overall fitness with every expectation of shattering my fastest finishing time of 9:13.
Why Laurel Valley? Why now?
Most everyone I know that has ran this rugged & remote section of the Foothills Trail agrees that there is something very different and special about it. It possesses those intangible attributes that are nearly impossible to capture with words or photographs. Maybe that's why National Geographic named it as one of 50 of the Worlds Last Great Places.
August 9, 2014 will be my 6th official race, but 16th overall time of running the course. Each time I've gained something new from each experience. It's one of the few trails that keeps pulling me back in. Even where I swear off ever running it again after a tough finish. It's the perfect race to prepare for and expect solid results from.
Maybe it's more about the friends that I've shared nearly 500 grueling miles with out there. It motivates and excites me to see so many others taking on the challenge. Some do well and some don't, but either way they have to finish. One way in - one way out. That's part of the mystique of the trail.
So in closing I will have Laurel Valley in the back of my mind for most of the 2014 summer. Not only the race, but the experience and cloud of friendships that have been built through it over the years. I will be lining up on that hot & humid August start line ready to embrace what lies ahead. Faster, leaner, and more focused that ever on a strong finish, but more importantly a meaningful adventure.
Oh and it sure would be nice if the heavens could pour down some of that sweet summer rain just like last year as well!