July 24, 2008

Thursday, July 24 - Buckeye Trail 50K

I did it. I completed my first ultra marathon, the Buckeye Trail 50K (31.64 miles/3800 ft. elevation gain). Going into the race, I had two goals for myself. One, finish under 5 hrs, and two, finish in the top 20. With a finish time of 5:18 I didn't make the 5hr mark, however I did manage to pull 16th place. 185 runners started the race and 156 finished it. I guess for my first ultra, 16 out of 185 isn't bad.......but of course, it's not good enough. Already I'm looking for another ultra before Colorado. I found one in PA, now I just have to find the time to fit it in.

Running 31 miles was killer prep for the Elk hunt this fall. During the race I found myself completely miserable, to the point where I wanted to give up. Which in my mind, makes this perfect preparation. Running for 5hours and covering 3800 ft. in elevation is something you have to really want to do. Just like DIY hunting. The Idaho trips alone told me there's nothing easy about chasing Elk in the mountains. I suppose that's what running and bowhunting DIY have in common. With both, everything starts and stops with me. If I fail, it's because of me. But if I succeed, it's also because of me. There is no one else to blame, no one else to point the finger at.

So now I find myself looking ahead and counting down the days (56 to be exact). I just hope I am putting myself through enough training and hardship to finally be successful. With 8 days of bowhunting and carrying everything I have on my back (food, water, shelter, and the trusty Pearson) I hope this is my year. It would be truly be a dream come true.

July 17, 2008

Thursday, July 17

Well here I am, 2 days from race day. 2 days from seeing what I am made of and if all the prep work has paid off. In a little over a year, 1 year and 17 days to be exact, I have went from running nothing at all to pounding out 40-60 miles a week, completing 2 Marathons, and now I'm getting ready to toe the line on an ultra, 31.6 miles. All to prepare to fulfill the quest of tagging my first Elk.

Saturday is race day and I just looked at the weather and it's going to be hot, they're calling for temps at the 90 degree mark which should make this a pretty good experience of pain and suffering. Perfect preparation for the trip. Haven't been doing much running at all this week. I'm ending the taper stage before the big run. I know tapering is good for the legs, but it really plays havoc with you mentally. Feels like you're unpreparing rather than preparing........ it's all a mind game.

I'm getting really excited about the hunt, with only 63 days left Colorado is right around the corner. I have now gotten all of pins set with the exception of my 60 and knowing where my bubble hits. Last year with the 07' Z-34 my bubble hit at 73 yards. "Need to get" items keeping coming off my list. Each time I go to the store I keep picking up more and more food items, pretty soon the list will be down to zero. Equipment wise I pretty much have everything I need with only a few items left to acquire, pretty much down to the nitty gritty at this point. The bugling is almost here!

July 3, 2008

Wednesday, July 3

One of the things Pup and I have been working on is settling on a solution for how/what we're going to use for a stove in the backcountry. We have been discussing different options and ultimately settled on what we think is an awesome solution....an esbit stove. Stove and fuel for 8 days weighs less than 10oz. I did a little research and found that these stoves can be bought at most Army surplus stores. So yesterday, I stopped and picked up a stove and 4 boxes of fuel tabs for a whopping $8.60. When I got home I put it to the test and boiled 2 cups of water in 6 minutes. Perfect. Each Mountain House meal (my dinner each night) calls for 2 cups of boiling water, of which I can make in less than 6 minutes. Check one more off the list.

Preparation for the ultra and hunt has been going good. With the race only 2 weeks away there's no time to rest. Each day I try to pack on more and more miles getting myself ready for the ultra. Today I hit the trail for 20 miles in the pouring, and I mean pouring rain. It rained the entire time I was running. It rained so much that a steam I normally cross by just walking on the tops of rocks was up to my knees. At that point, I couldn't help but wonder how many other people would be doing this right now? How many other bowhunters push themselves this hard just to hunt Elk?

Not many is the solution I came up with, most would take an easier route. I pushed on and harder. I said it once and I'll say it again......failure is not an option in my book. It's just not in my make up. Whatever I can do to improve my chances in the mountains I'm on it. If that means pounding out 20 miles on the hills of the buckeye trail in the pouring rain, than sign me up. If it's easy, I want no part of it, give me a double shot of pain and suffering. As Cam says, "Easy Seldom Makes Memories" and I'm all about the memories!