Redefinition

February 20, 2010

This afternoon I’m taking my Cub Scout den to see the U.Va vs. Maryland wrestling match. In addition to being a fun outing that will help them satisfy one of their requirements for a badge, I thought that going to a collegiate wrestling match would be educational as well. When I told my 6-year-old son about the planned outing, he confirmed my hunch.

“Will we get to see The Undertaker? Because my friend said The Undertaker took down Romeo Roselli.”

“Um, no Will, that’s a different kind of wrestling. That kind is fake, but the kind we are going to see is real.”

“Oh. Will they still get bleedy?”

This should be an eye-opening experience for this group of 6 and 7 year-olds. I hope they won’t be disappointed when no one gets hit over the head with a folding chair.

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Holiday Lake (Mudbog?) 2010

February 9, 2010

This weekend’s Holiday Lake 50K++ ultramarathon promises to be a wet, snowy, muddy mess. The trail is currently covered by about 5″ of snow, with another several inches forecast. Later in the week, the temperature is expected to rise a bit, so the snow will turn to slush and then to mud. Figure in around 300 runners covering the same single-track trail for 16+ miles, and then doubling back and covering the same ground again, and one can only imagine what a slop-fest it will be. I wouldn’t be running it otherwise.

One day, I hope to approach the first ultra of the year in great shape, trained, rested, and ready to rumble. Saturday will not be that day. Work, weather, and a general malaise have hampered my training, and I had nearly made peace with the thought of taking a pass on Holiday Lake.

And then came the snow, and I realized that this will be no ordinary ultra. Just as last spring’s Promise Land 50K will be remembered for its heat and humidity, this year’s Holiday Lake promises to be remembered for its snow, mud and muck. How could I pass up the experience?

I harbor no illusions about running a PR. Given the conditions, few if any will be able to do that. My main goal – really my only goal – is to beat the 8 hour time limit. I believe that’s doable, but given fitness level and trail conditions, it’s no sure thing.

If nothing else, the experience should give me something to write about.

P.S. For anyone who thinks that 8 hours for a trail ultra through the snow and mud sounds easy, come join me on the starting line at 6:30 a.m. next Saturday. You might want to bring an extra pair of dry socks.