Monday, January 27, 2014

Long Haul to Spartathlon (Guest post by Bryce A Carlson)

 Synopsis:  After racing the Rocket City Marathon on December 14th, 2013 to a 2:57:10 finish (not bad considering conditions and not really being fully invested in making a solid effort) I'd spent the better part of the next few weeks not running hardly at all. My wife and I were on vacation in Colorado over the holidays; snow-shoeing, snow-mobiling, snow biking, etc... but no serious run training. It was a restful time. Then, the weekend after we return home I discover on the Spartathlon Facebook page that there are new qualifying standards for the 2014 event. The long and short of it was that my 2011 Badwater 135 finish was too old to use for a qualifier. Crap! What's worse, Spartathlon entry was about to open up and by all estimation the race would fill in short order. So, panic set in as my wife Kathy and I tried to figure out what to do. Very quickly we found a 100km race outside Tampa, Florida that I could use to attempt to qualify. To qualify I'd "only" have to run a sub-10:30 which is right over 10:00 min/mile pace for 62 miles! No sweat! Ha! So, only home a week from Colorado I suddenly found myself on a plane to Tampa; with decent leg speed but woefully undertrained for ultra distance! I'd have to rely on muscle memory and a wealth of experience and life time miles. In the end I was successful, though the effort certainly wasn't ever easy, finishing the Long Haul 100km in 9:51:07; more than good enough to punch my ticket to Greece! So now I've entered the Spartathlon 246km and am awaiting to hear back if my entry was accepted...

What follows is a more detailed account of my race mostly through the eyes of my friend Bryce Carlson who was in the same Spartathlon qualifying predicament as me.