Six days to go before my biggest running challenge yet. But first, a bit of background….
In the fall of 2007 I ran my first marathon – the OBX marathon. I was (and am) proud of this achievement. But, in retrospect, it was a relatively easy marathon – to the extent that a marathon can be easy. I wanted more.
I got it a few months later, when I ran my first ultramarathon – the Holiday Lake 50K++. At 34(ish) miles through the woods on trails and fire roads, Holiday Lake bore little resemblance to the flat asphalt of OBX. I was hooked on running long distances through the woods. Still, I realized that as far as trail ultramarathons go, Holiday Lake was pretty tame, and there were bigger adventures to be had.
While realizing that I preferred trails, I returned to the roads for the Charlottesville Marathon a couple of months later. I wanted to run this one for two reasons. First, it was my hometown marathon, so I felt like I should check it off of the list. Second, it was supposed to be tough, with some big hills. I wasn’t disappointed.
So, I ran an “easy” marathon and then a more difficult one. I ran an “easy” ultramarathon and … you can guess what’s coming up next weekend. The Promise Land 50K++ ((thanks Keith Knipling for the great race report) is my next step along the ultramarathon progression. Billed as “The Toughest 50K You Will Ever Love”, it runs over the tallest mountain in central Virginia (twice), and boasts 7,300 feet of climb over its 34 miles. I think this one will constitute a “more difficult” ultramarathon.
And what after that? Assuming I get through Promise Land, there is no shortage of challenges to choose from. A 50K (even a Horton 50K++) is a short race, by ultramarathon standards. Ultras also come in 50 mile, 100K and 100 mile flavors, and some even push beyond that. As long as my knees, my wife, and the good Lord allow, there are lots of possibilities….
But first, I have to get through Promise Land.