The mountains of New England could be calling again. Hard not to want to get back there! The White Mountains of New Hampshire, view from Osgood Trail.
After the JFK 50-miler this past fall, I promised myself and my wife that I would lay off the really long stuff for a year. My running/racing plans for 2008 are based around 10-milers and half-marathons. Running 50 miles is not on the radar screen... unless, that is, it is done as a 3-person relay.
Mike Keene is in triathlon mode this winter and spring. He is a mad man swimming, biking, and running, working up to the Eagleman half-ironman in Cambridge in June. He was talking to a product developer at Ibex (unpaid plug, they make some of the most comfortable, coolest clothes on the planet for running, backpacking, biking, you name it; I ran JFK in just a short-sleeve Woolies t-shirt and Zephyr zip t-neck up top, 11+ hours from 29 to 42 degrees; and they are having their winter sale at the moment), who gave a hearty endorsement of the Vermont 50 races--50 mile mountain bike, 50 mile run, 50K run, 50 mile relay. Without really giving it much thought, we had a co-ed team willing to toe the starting line.
The course for the relay is three legs: leg 1 is 12 miles, leg 2 is the hilliest and longest at 22 miles, and leg 3 is 16 miles. Keene draws the second straw with me running anchor. Not sure this is going to happen, registration opens in May, but it looks like an absolute blast, with the start and finish at a mountain resort in Vermont, which means family can come along and enjoy themselves.
If you plug around the website and look at the course topography, there is some substantial elevation change, which you would expect in New England. So stay tuned, and maybe even think about pulling a team together for late September.
In news closer to home and present, I have only been averaging one or two runs per week, in the 8-10 mile range. My running times are staying in a reasonable zone: I did a 10-miler two weekends ago in 1:26:14 and my 7-miler this past Saturday in 59:20, without pushing hard, so keeping in the 8-9 minute mile range over middle distances. Looking forward to getting a trail run in this weekend.
A special shout-out and get well soon to our boy Stephen Bardsley, whose consecutive day running streak had topped 400, and who was only stopped by appendicitis and an emergency appendectomy. Stephen is an inspiration--I will NEVER run every day for more than a year, or even half a year--and was training to go sub 3:30 at the B&A trail marathon this weekend, which the smart money says he would have done hands down. I can only guess that Stephen is an impatient patient, who is antsy to get back on the road and trails. You'll be out there soon, ace. A speedy recovery and much needed rest to Bardsley.