Yesterday, I ran 22+ miles with a bunch of runners who are doing the Vermont 100 this summer. We ran on the course itself, a portion of the course known as the "Camp 10 Bear loop". During the race, you hit the Camp 10 Bear aid station twice, at about miles 46 and 70, and the second time through is where you meet your pacer. We did skip one newer trail section that is on private land, so we did a bit less mileage than runners get on race day. I'm not sure if everyone who was there is running the VT100, but most of them are entered.
I normally train solo and it was really nice to spend a day with a number of other ultrarunners, talking about running and all kinds of other subjects. One topic that was repeated through the day with Sherpa John falls into the category of "what's said on the trail, stays on the trail". That rule was introduced to me years ago by Sue Johnston, who regretfully doesn't live in Vermont to train with us anymore. But, we certainly had some good fun at John's expense during the run.
For the most part, I was amazed at how good I felt. I didn't run with the fastest people, but I more than held my own in a mid-paced group of solid runners. The run pushed me to well over 90 miles in the past 8 days, and I felt strong all day.
Back in the winter, I laid out a plan for my WS training. The core of the plan was my long runs and long races. I am now done with my long training runs for WS, and amazingly, I nailed my plan pretty well. I also planned to lose weight for the race, and I've done that pretty well. I'd still like to drop a couple more pounds before the race, and I think that will happen with my focus on speedwork for the next couple weeks.
Without a doubt, I'm in the best ultra shape I've been in since I ran Hardrock in 2004. My training plan and its execution have paid off. It almost seems anti-climatic at this point, hence the subject line of this post (and also a U2 song that I like a lot).
But, of course, the training isn't the end product. The race result is the end product and that work remains to be done. I still have four weeks in which I need to remain healthy, do some tuning work, and get myself completely ready for the race.
Early in the year, I speculated about my chances of running sub-24 at WS. Given my past speed in road races, I think I possess the ability to get into sub-24 hour shape. But, I'm not there now and that's not going to change before the event. However, my current fitness level should allow me to run a smart, tactical race without having to worry about cut-offs along the way. If we get hit by intense heat for the race, I'm fit enough that I can back off through the worst of the heat and still have time to finish the course.
If I was racing the Vermont 100 this summer, I would certainly shoot for a sub-24 there, but WS is a much tougher race that VT.
So, I've got 27 days until I start WS. I need to be smart about the rest of my training, stay healthy, eat well, sleep enough, rest enough, and I should arrive at WS ready to run a great race. Right now, I can't wait for June 28th.