Saturday, September 3, 2011

Changing Gears

While I wouldn't call myself a mountain runner (I have lived in--in order of increasing flatness--Iowa, DC, Illinois, Kansas and the Paraguayan Chaco, equaling about 94% of my life), I would usually say that I prefer mountain ultras (unless you ask me while I'm slogging up a steep climb) (and I might go so far as to claim that Iowa is a mountain state, at least the NE corner I lived in for college, and KU was perched on top of Mt. Oread, which also almost makes Lawrence a mountain city). So, it was with some regret that I said goodbye to running the Waldo100K (a lovely mountain trail race on 98% single track), and hello to racing the World 100K in the Netherlands (10 times around a flat-as-a-pancake 10K road loop).  But, it was with only a very tiny bit of regret, because how often do I get to wear a USA jersey?  Um, never. But I will next weekend!  And I might even throw on some bun huggers (I wore both the huggers and shorts on trial missions today, and the shorts are in the lead).  Woohoo!!  To say I'm excited to be joining the team is an understatement.

I remain in a perpetual state of under-preparedness and sometimes it serves me better than others, but I'm hoping my 2-week road-cramming phase with some attempts at speed will get me through what is going to be a very different experience.  It's not the road part that I'm that concerned about.  As part of the trail running scene it seems we all have to gush about our love for single track to prove our worthiness (and I do love single track), but I must confess that I also like roads, and find myself on them for probably about half of my weekly mileage, and sometimes more.  I often squeeze in runs over lunch, which means road miles for a good portion of my weekday miles, although weekends are typically always on trail.  I'm usually just happy to be able to run, and if I'm around trails, awesome, but if I'm somewhere where roads are the best option, I don't mind.

This won't be my first road ultra. I ran a 50 miler on roads back when I was living in El Salvador (an 80K race in Guatemala), which was a hoot (recap here). And I've run since I was 11, most of those years on roads.  So, I'm pretty comfortable and familiar with hard surfaces. The flat part is going to be the interesting part, although as I mentioned, I am from and have lived in some of the flattest places on earth (the Paraguayan chaco probably has an elevation profile very similar to that of Winschoten). However, I have never raced an ultra as flat as what theWinschoten course will be. The course description lists the elevation profile as having a meter of elevation gain/loss per 10K loop.  What I think will be the most challenging aspect of the race is the loop nature.  But, the fact that this is a team event, and that the US team is strong and shooting for gold, might make the loops actually kind of nice, in terms of knowing where people are at, and working together.  I'm excited for the challenge and can't wait to jump on a plane Monday morning to get this adventure started!  And I can't wait to put on that USA jersey next Saturday--not something I ever imagined I'd have the opportunity to do.  


Olga said...

"I remain in a perpetual state of under-preparedness" cracked me up. You do, don't you? Amy, I am so thrilled for you and for all of US team to be killing 100k this year! Every gal is so incredibly strong! You'll get pulled by your teammates - and other runners - on the loop. As for road/trail, I completely agree, I prefer mountain single track, race or train, but with life you just take what you have, and I usually like running roads in the neihborhood before sunrise, in he dark, almost as much. Even once the sun shines high, shortly after the start, the groove comes, and it doesn't matter all that much - just run. Hmm, I must be really missing it now:) Best to you and others!

Hone said...

I will be rooting for you. Tear it up and have fun out there!

Ronda said...

I echo Olga, your constant state of under preparedness is hilarious. I am so excited foe you. What a great experience and I know you will run well because you are abmachine on both flats and mountains. Have fun!

Racingtales - Alison Gittelman said...

That's exciting news indeed! And while my first thoughts were: loops - ugh! - road - ugh! - I agree that it will most likely be abuzz with excitement and energy and you won't even get dizzy from running in circles. ;) Good Luck!

Casseday said...

Go get'm Amy! What an experience! . . . best of luck.

ultrarunnergirl said...

I'm so excited for you. I know you'll race your little bun-huggers off. Well, figuratively, anyway.
Have fun representing the USA and on this new adventure!

Melissa said...

Congrats Amy - excited for you! Well deserved and definitely will be an incredible experience all around. Best wishes for a great run and good times to you and all on Team USA.

Hostpph said...

It is pity but Netherlands is quite flat. It would be great if they have at least one hill.

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