Holy crap, I haven't blogged in awhile. I've had some increased responsibility at work, blah, blah, which has cut into my free time a bit, but I mostly haven't written because I haven't had much to write about, running-wise. (I've been trying to get Lexi to pick up the slack a bit, but softball kept her very busy this spring.) I've raced only once since Mount Mitchell, running the Mount Penn Mudfest 15K outside Reading, PA in April. This was I think my sixth or seventh time at Mudfest, a race which I absolutely used to love but which underwent a change in race management this year and, unfortunately, a complete revamp of the course. Now, instead of a technical but joyously runnable course that I can absolutely hammer, it's yet another trail run in the northeastern US so choked with rocks it prevents establishing almost any rhythm whatsoever. Rather than just go on another rant about how much I hate that crap, I'll spare everybody and just say that I did not enjoy the trip and won't be returning. Oh well.
But that's been it from a running standpoint. Even training has been mediocre at best. I had a work situation in May that I'm not going to get into but that ate up a ton of time and energy, to the point where I took nearly as many days off in May (seven) as I did in all of 2013 (thirteen). For the second year in a row I registered for the Ice Age 50K and then bailed last-minute. I had plans to run the Prospect Mountain Hill Race in Lake George in mid-May but couldn't get out of work. I considered trying to get into the Great Adirondack Trail Run and then remembered how much I hate shit like that. When Jodi went to Orlando in mid-May for a conference, I was at pretty low ebb, trying to figure out when I might race again (July? September?).
And then Glen Redpath, a three-time top-10 finisher at Western States, said, "Why don't you come pace me at States this year?" Now this is normally something I'll just answer "no" to right away. It's not like I can leave Jodi with the kids for five days at the drop of a hat. But this came at the perfect time; with Jodi just having finished a little "me time" of her own, I was due for a little trip. And while my fitness isn't quite up to racing snuff, this was exactly the sort of thing I needed to get motivated again.
So I'm heading out in two days for Western States, the site of my first experience with ultra marathons ever (I was a medical volunteer in 2005). The goals of the trip are: (1) pace Glen to hopefully another top-10; (2) run well at the Montrail Uphill Challenge on Friday, hopefully up front if I'm feeling good; (3) set a beer mile PR; (4) drink a shit-ton of Russian River; (5) meet a whole bunch of people and maybe make some contacts who can help me launch my top-secret ultra rankings project, which I'll reveal more about when it starts progressing some. If everything goes well and I feel like my fitness is ok, I may head up to Loon Mountain the first weekend of July for the national mountain running championships the following weekend. But I'll post some stuff from Squaw if I can stay sober enough at night to work the iPad.