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Trails, Races, and (no more) Injuries...

...Oh my!

1. Trails. Every ultrarunner I know loves the trails, and I'm certainly no exception. Madison is a tough place to live when it comes to running trails, primarily because they are covered in white precipitation for almost half the year! For this reason, I try to start my racing season on the pavement and then move to trail races later in the season; that transition began, in part, with American River (half trails), then with Ice Age (all trails), and will continue with TNF-DC (all trails). Then the real fun begins: six weeks of nothing but trail running from mid-July to late August! I'll head West around July 15th, training in Flagstaff through the beginning of August, before traveling to Breckenridge, where I'll continue training through the end of August. In both places, the situation is grand: I'll stay with my Aunt and Uncle in Flagstaff, where an extensive trail system, consisting of hundreds of miles and high elevations, sits just ten feet from their property; in Breckenridge, I'll stay at my dad's house, which sits in the middle of loads of trails, many of which are within running distance, and some of which require a short drive. Bring on the trails!

Last week (05/20 - 05/26) I ran a total of 70 miles, a nice return from the lingering injury (more on that below); 58 of those miles were on the trails in Kettle Moraine State Park. Here are some pictures from those days of camping and running:

Enjoying Ottawa Lake.

The campsite. 

Enjoying the sun after a run.

A pleasant way to finish the day.

Switchbacks on the Ice Age Trail.

Some of the 5,000' of ascent during the week.

A picturesque sunset. 

2. Races. I'm stoked about the remainder of my races this year. Next up, in a short two days, is the TNF-DC 50 mile race. My expectations for this race are quite tame, given the limited training recently and the forecasted temperatures (start temp: 72 (at 5am!); daily high: 92; humidity: 55%). Things rarely go as planned in a 50 mile race, especially in certain weather conditions (like hot temperatures), so I'll just have to feel this one out as I go. In September, I'll then run TNF-Madison 50 mile, a course that I'm familiar with, having run it before and having spent time training on the course. I'll be looking to lower my 50 my PR at this one. I'm then thinking of a marathon in October (as of yet undecided), before a few 50k's: Surf the Murph 50k in late October and the USA trail 50km championships in Nevada in early November, the Bootlegger 50k (the field is already super competitive (see here), so I'm very much looking forward to this one). I'll then end the season with the JFK 50 mile, which is a perennially competitive race. Lots to look forward to in the fall!

3. Injuries (errrr, lack of!). In my last post, I hoped to have a sixth good thing to report: injury free. It appears that that hope has come to fruition! No pain, no discomfort, no problems. After the 58 miles in Kettle Moraine over three days, I had some swelling and discomfort in my knee, but, partly because I have taken it easy since then (only about 35 miles in a week's time), and partly because I have been doing things to improve my strength in areas that, because they were weak, led to the injury, all has been well. I think I'm officially healed (the 50 mile effort this weekend will be the final test).

Of course, there is always this:

The joys of ultrarunning.

But black toenails are par for the course in this sport. My next post will be a race recap on TNF-DC 50 mile. Hopefully it'll involve pictures from the podium :)

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