Last month as I was searching online to find a triathlon ( I entered one for tomorrow..but the race was full and my registration was returned) to enter, I began to search for blogs relating to triathlon. I found many many blogs which I am now enjoying very much. It's interesting to note that the triathlon community is much more vocal and public in their quest to train, than the ultra runners. Ultra running blogs that I have found are few and far between.
So, in reading these triathlon blogs I found that many of them are working toward their goals a year, or two years into the future. They are training now for an Ironman that is two years away. They are setting the foundation of a very detailed, very in depth training program that will ultimately get them to their goal: the Ironman.
All summer I've been thinking about running/racing goals. What do I want to do? Where do I want to go?
I want to run the Grand Slam. The premier ultra marathon race set. The grandest of the grand.
The Grand Slam of Ultrarunning is completion of four of the oldest 100 mile trail runs in the U.S. The "Slam" consists of officially finishing the Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run, the Vermont Trail 100 Mile Run, the Leadville Trail 100 Mile Run and the Wasatch Front 100 Mile Endurance Run all in the same year. The Grand Slam of Ultrarunning Award was established in 1986, when Tom Green was the first finisher.
These are four bad ass tough runs. They are all in the mountains; Western States is a qualifier- which I did qualify for when I ran McNaughton 100 in April. The hitch is that approximately 800 people register and only 350 can run. The names are picked from a lottery. If you enter 2 years in a row and are not picked, you automatically are registered the third year. Western States is held the last weekend of June.
Then there is Vermont 100. Vermont is held the second weekend of July. The finishing rate is approximately 60%.
Leadville 100 is held in Colorado. It's called 'the race across the sky'. The race is at 9000-15000 feet. It's tough. It's damn tough. There is a 44% finishing rate. Leadville is held mid-August.
Then there is Wasatch Front 100. Held in Utah the weekend after Labor Day. It pretty much scares the poop out of me, after reading the race race reports.
So, 4 100 mile races in 10 weeks. You know what? Only 7 people from MN have completed this series. And only one woman. I've met her, but don't know her. As it gets closer, I'll have to give her a call.
So, I'm thinking a few years out. I could be ready in two years, for sure in three years.
I need to begin cultivating a plan, choosing races that will get me to my goal. Mountain races, running hill workouts, being ever so mindful of my nutrition and workouts. I know that I can reach deep enough within me to make this become a reality. I know I will give it all that I have.
I'm looking forward to this process. This process of digging down deep and finding out what Julie is made of.
I asked Steve what his thoughts were. Was he willing to put up with me while I try to do this? We had a long, well, a number of long conversations. In the end, he pretty much summed it up. 'There is no time like the present. You have summers off, it's a great time for you to train. Start a saving account titled Grand Slam and put something away every pay check, if you again write your workouts out on the calendar, as you did for McNaughton 100, we'll know what to expect. We might even come out for one. Of course I support you.'
What a guy.
When I ran this morning I had new energy, a new excitement in knowing where I'm going. I switched up today's 10 mile road run for a 15 mile run on the trail with Topaz. It was super. A cool, sunny morning out in the woods.
Superior 50 Mile is only 2 weeks away. After a road run tomorrow I'll be taking it easy. www.superiortrailrace.com
www.run100's.com has a few race reports detailing the Grand Slam. Very good reading!