One of the great joys of being a school principal is Graduation Day. This annual event every June always inspires me and fills me with hope for the future. This afternoon, on a glorious day here in the Northern Rockies, I was honored and privileged to present High School Diplomas to 32 graduates from The Community School in Sun Valley, Idaho.
Of course, for me as an ultramarathon runner, Graduation Day also marks the beginning of my summer racing season. While these days it's not quite like it was 15 years ago when I had the summer completely off from work, the daily stress and strain of daily life is greatly reduced as our faculty and students take time to re-charge the batteries and I have the chance to do the same.
For me, that battery re-charging will take place this coming week. Following work tomorrow (I have about 100 loose ends to tie up between 7AM and 1PM), a golf game with my 10 year old and a baseball game with my 8 year old I will hop in the car and head to Auburn for my annual 4 day, post-graduation day training camp. Best news of all, MonkeyBoy will be joining me!
At this point the plan looks like this:
Day 1 - Tuesday, June 10 - Placer High School to The River and Back (44 Miles) This run will start shortly after noon with the hope of maximizing heat exposure. If all goes as planned the run will be finished in time for a quick trip to In-and-Out Burger (the world's best recovery food!) and a couple of cold Sierra Nevadas before bed.
Day 2 - Wednesday, June 11 - Michigan Bluff to Devil's Thumb and then back to the River (41 Miles) - Assuming I can work out the car shuttles, this should be a killer workout. Hopefully, if it's hot, this will give me a sense of race day conditions as I'll try to get the timing such that I hit Michigan Bluff on the return trip shortly after 2:00 PM. This would be roughly in line with my race day timing (Hal got to Michigan at 1:48 last year)
Day 3 - Thursday, June 12 - Michigan Bluff to Last Chance and back (24 miles) - This will be a shorter day as I need to get to San Francisco by 6:00 PM for a meeting. It'll be good to push the pace through the canyons after Tuesday and Wednesday and get a good idea of these splits on tired legs.
Day 4 - Friday, June 13 - TBA
I am hopeful that this Camp will do several things:
1. Provide heat training. Aside from a couple hours in the sauna and a couple warm weekends this spring I am not heat trained.
2. Refresh my muscle memory for the race. I know the course well but it still helps to get out there. The Course always has a way of teaching you a thing or two.
3. Make final adjustments on my splits. I think I am in decent shape but this Camp will bear all. I'd like to be in the hunt for that Masters' record but there are a few other guys in the race thinking the same thing. By Friday night I should have a sense of what is real and what is fantasy.
4. Provide some distance between my job and the rest of my life. This is probably the most important reason for this camp. Not only do I need it physically, but emotionally and psychologically as well. It's been a rough year for me at work and I need to let go a bit this week. There is no better place for me to do this than on the Western States Course.
I have finished three weeks of Mark Allen-esque "Push Phase" Training. 110 miles, 124 miles, and 141 miles over the past three weeks. That, combined with 30 miles yesterday and 10 today will hopefully set me up to get over the hump in the next five days. I have always wanted to try this method so we'll see how it all comes together.
I will try to post reports after each of the runs this week for those who care.