Firstly, Nick Clark a Brit exiled in the US has this past weekend finished in 3rd place at the Hardrock 100 in a total time of just under 28 hours. 13 days prior to that Nick finished 3rd at Western States in sub 16 hours. Hardrock makes Western States look like an afternoon stroll. With 34000 feet of climb and descent at an average altitude of around 10000ft it is easily the hardest 100 out there (Im not counting the Barkley). My quads still hurt from WS. That is an absolutely phenomenal effort and it is scary to think what Nick might have been able to do if he hadn't already stacked 100 miles in to his legs two weeks earlier!
Second, Shannon Farrar-Griefer is currently en route to Stovepipe Wells part way through Badwater, 135 miles through Death Valley. Badwater is bad enough on it's own but Shannon also finished at Western States and even more incredibly, is also attempting the Grand Slam and will therefore need to be on the startline for Vermont just 72 hours after finishing Badwater on the other side of the country. That, to me, right now, is absolutely insane.
Mentally, going in to race 2 of the Grand Slam I am in a good place and I can't wait to get started. I feel calm and relaxed and ready to take it on. I'm excited to see Vermont. I had a blast at Old Dominion a few years ago, running through the rolling Virginia countryside in a humid fog and I feel like Vermont could yield some similar scenery - pretty much the best part about racing in different locations.
Physically it's hard to know what kind of condition I am really in but I feel pretty good. I haven't slept well during the two intervening weeks but my legs have been pretty well rested so my energy reserves feel reasonable. My feet aren't healed but the blisters have gone so although I've got some weak spots where the skin is a few layers short of recovered, there shouldn't be any extra issues there. My shin and quads are the two things that are playing with me a little. The shin feels good but I still get the odd pang of pain and as for my quads, well they are still a ways from recovered. I absolutely smashed them to pieces a fortnight ago and last week playing golf, hiking around for maybe 4- 5 miles, crouching down to line up putts became almost impossible. So it's a few more ice baths another sports massage and some intensive stretching and off we go to the race on Thursday evening!!!
I am a little bit concerned about the number of people who have messaged me saying that now Western is out of the way, just enjoy Vermont it's way easier and you'll be fine!!!! Complacency isn't a particularly good thing to take into a 100 miler, I've been there once before at a 100 and come unstuck so I will go in to Saturday with respect for the distance and the not insignificant 29000 feet of elevation change and take it one aid station at a time.
I don't think there is a way to follow this one online so I'll report back from the finish (I hope). We have a 30 hour cut off here so once again I will be shooting for somewhere between 24 and 30 hours depending on how the legs hold up!!!!
|Aid Station Fayre?|