After 3 months' hiatus, I'm back in training mode and loving it. What's the next big thing? The Tarawera Trail 50K, in Te Puia, New Zealand, on Saturday, November 12. Which will actually be Friday, November 11 in the USA. So that's confusing.
Don't get me wrong - when not officially training for a race, I maintain an aggressive routine of running and CrossFit. But Hal Koerner's 50K training plan is ambitious (check out his book on the favorite things page), and having a specific goal to train for is highly motivating.
I've completed 50K trail races before - 4 total now - but, the Tarawera Trail 50K will be my most challenging in terms of net elevation gain, which will be around 5,600 ft. I realize this pales in comparison with ultras in the Western US or Europe, but the other trail ultras I've completed to this point have been around 2,500 ft. gain - half the amount of the Tarawera. So, as I work through the training plan for this race, I'm focused both on perfecting my comfort level with gnarly trail terrain, and HILLS. I will not be able to get enough hill climbs, stair climbs or squats in these next 3 months.
Today I made it out to the Potomac Heritage Trailhead at Algonkian Park in Sterling, VA for the first long run of my week 2 plan. It's become my favorite local trail for its complete sense of peace and seclusion from the bustling metro-DC area it serves. And though I've come to know the trail's twists and turns well, I'm always amazed at how drastically its appearance changes with the seasons. Today, the trail had been trimmed back since I last ran it, thankfully, but there were several newly downed trees to navigate and more creepy crawly creatures than I've seen in a long time, including a snake and lots of spiders. Really, I wiped out so many spider webs today, I feel kind of bad about it.
15 miles, 800ish ft of elevation gain - and buckets of sweat - later, I felt strong, satisfied, and excited to have a strong start on the road to Tarawera.