This is an interesting and complex time of year for me. The big Western States lottery took place today and there are many disappointed folks. I can relate to this as I have never actually been selected to run a race via lottery. It must be excrutiating to sit through that pain! At the same time, I am also saddled with a nagging hamstring problem that is keeping me from doing what I love.
More to the point, this is the time of year that makes me think of Base Training (aforementioned injury notwithstanding!). For me, Base Training is long slow miles at aerobic pace intended to provide the foundation necessary to withstand the Canyons without hardship and stay focused going into the final "runnable" 20 miles. In this phase I never exceed 140 BPM on my Heart rate Monitor. And, in that context, this time of year is highlighted by skiing with my kids and the occasional trip to the mountains to test my mettle in the Backcountry. I'll save the Training Log for February.
And, for the Elephant in the Room, let me say I am a bit disappointed by the entrants list for Western States 2008 as it stands now. On the one hand, it is encouraging to me as it suggests a bit of an easier time getting that Top-10 finish that I compete for every year. On the other hand, as I view the Western States as the Masters' or Kentucky Derby of Ultrarunning, I wish a few more thoroughbreds had been granted admission for the 2008 Event. Don't get me wrong, the list as it stands is impressive, but if you added Meltzer, Krupicka, Halekas, Nielsen, Bien, Olsen and Freeman to that list (among many others) you might just have the Race of the Century.
I know it's not all about the Elites at this event and certainly many fast folks have crashed and burned over the years but the race and the sport are at a Crossroads and the signature event in the sport could make a strong statement in the 2008 race. To me, the Western States not only represents an event, but it stands for an ideal. It's an ideal I feel worth perpetuating.