In about three weeks, I’ll be attempting the Grindstone 100 miler in Swoope, VA for the second time. The first time around, I DNFed around the half way point. It was an abysmal failure, but a great learning experience. My preparation for this attempt feels much better.
Last year, I was overly confident based on my positive experiences at Western States. This was my thought process immediately before the race:
I ran very few miles, did zero technical trail running, didn’t plan for the 6pm start, made a poor shoe choice, and used a fueling strategy that was flat-out stupid.
Since last year, I’ve run somewhere around 1,000 miles on comparable mountain trails, run several ultras including the Bighorn 100, Grand Mesa 100 (DNFed, though), and the TransRockies stage race, tweaked my fueling plan, and dramatically improved my sleep deprivation training.
I’m also familiar with the course. This is significant as Grindstone is a seriously difficult race. The course itself has about 46,000′ of elevation change (which I love) and many parts of the trail are extremely technical. The course itself was far more difficult than Western States or TransRockies, and even a little more difficult than Bighorn. Weather isn’t quite as extreme, though.
The lead-up to the race has been… bizarre. It’s been an eventful week, and not in a good way. All three kids got sick. Shelly and I got sick. Through my own stupidity, I broke my laptop hard drive. There’s a very good chance I lost my trail running book, which was 90% finished. I’m attempting to recover it, the the prospects are poor. I’ve worked through the anger stage and am now accepting that I’ll have to rewrite it.
There IS a silver lining, though. The rewrite should be more coherent.
On a positive note, we’re currently camping in Virgina. This will give Shelly and I a chance to train on the actual Grindstone course. That, coupled with my training and preparation, should net better results this year.
In the coming days, I’ll post more details about my progress.
For those that live in West Virginia (or the Washington DC metro area), Dr. Mark Cucuzzella and I will be conducting a clinic tomorrow at 11am at Two Rivers Treads in Shephardstown, WV. I’m excited; Mark is a brilliant running form teacher. If you can make it, the trip will be worthwhile!