Photo courtesy of Andrew King - D4 Productions

Saturday, March 10, 2012

And so it begins

8 days 12 hours 14 minutes and 5 seconds is the record for the Colorado Trail.

Waterton Canyon officially opened on March 1st after being closed since July 2010 so crews could dregde Strontia Springs Reservoir. Thousands of cubic yards of sediment had to be removed that had built up from the 1996 Buffalo Creek wildfire and the 2007 Hayman wildfire. Which means all that heavy equipment occupied the 6 mile road leading to the start of the single track Colorado Trail. Over the past year and half hikers and bikers were rerouted to Indian Creek, no big deal. In fact, I thought it was more scenic but it prevented a bona fide attempt of an FKT on the CT until now.

Today was the first time in a year and half that I stepped foot on the proper CT and I was buzzing! There were tons of people out on a March blue bird day in Colorado; runners, bikers, walkers, fisherman, and even the mountain goats made an appearance. I didn't make it very far today, only to Lenny's rest and back, but come August I will once again make my way to Durango. I get butterflies even thinking about it right now! Back in 2009 I completed the Colorado Trail (with huge support from family and friends) in 11 days 12 hours and 47 minutes to finish on my 40th birthday. My goal was nothing more than to complete it on my birthday, averaging 40 myles a day. It was the hardest thing I have done in my life and now I want to take a stab at the record.

New signage at Waterton Canyon

It's funny how these things work their way into the mind. I remember while on the trail waking up at 3 AM every morning for 12 days and only 1/2 way through I didn't want to do it anymore. I had severe shin splints and nearly came away with compartment syndrome. My cankles were huge and feet bloated like a dead hippos feet. So why is it that I want to do this again? And faster nonetheless? With undoubtedly more pain? Those are hard questions to answer but I will tell you this: No matter what I do in life, I want to see what I AM capable of. What are my limits? How do I know what my limits are if I've never gone beyond them. I've run nearly 75 ultras and each time I step onto a course I give it my all and it hurts. But each time I finish, it's also the most gratifying feeling. Adrenaline Junkie? Yes! It's an addiction, but it's a healthy addiction that makes me a better father, husband, friend, and coworker. Without this fix I am in "the crowd". And you know what Albert Einstein said about "the crowd"? The one who follows the crowd will usually get no further than the crowd. The one who walks alone, is likely to find himself in places no one has ever been.

I haven't set an exact date of when I will hit the Colorado Trail but my guess it will be in the August timeframe. Ultimately, my attempt at the record will be dictated by my work/family balance. I still have Hardrock and a few other races until then so we will see what happens. Chuckanut 50K next weekend. And it is going to be barn burner, full of talented runners!