Well it's finally here - the first ultra of the season. The Bel Monte Endurance Run 50 Miler. After an extended break at the end of 2007, I focused my training on setting a marathon PR which I successfully did at Myrtle Beach in February. My fitness level and mental confidence are both in a good place for this point in my season. Despite some difficult work and general life issues, I have been able to channel much of my energy into training and Bel Monte will be an excellent opportunity for me to assess where I stand. The course will be a beast as the 50 mile option is new and features about 12,000 feet of climb and an abundance of rocky trails. The 50K option is no walk in the park with over 7,000 feet of climb. Both attributes are key for my training for Massanutten, which is my focus race for the first half of 2008.
Last year, I ran the 50K at Bel Monte and the race was dubbed the "Bel Monster" due to the multitude of difficulty I faced, most of which was self inflicted. I have learned a lot since then and hopefully will not make the same sophomoric mistakes. But, should I do so, hopefully I can overcome them much more effectively. I will also be wearing the LaSportiva Raceblades that I have been running in lately. I love the feel of these shoes and am curious how they will feel after running a technical course for an extended period of time. I will include a report on the shoes after the race along with my usual report.
Goal time? I don't really have one (at least that I will admit to). I hope to run well and think that I can post a pretty nice time if all goes to plan. As for predictions, I think Mason is the obvious choice for the win. He is in shape and will be on fresh legs. He grabbed third at GEER 100K only 3 weeks after taking top 5 at Wasatch and we will cover much of the same course. The weather looks to be ideal as long as the wet stuff stays away. Stay tuned for the report.
Also, the Coyote Two Moon is cranking up this Friday. This is a new race that "replaced" the Coyote Four Play run put on by Chris Scott of C4P fame. Coyote Two Moon looks to be a heck of a course with a 100K and 100 mile option. Interestingly, it features a staggered start so that everyone finishes within a four hour window. The faster you are, the later you start. Some notable names are running including Meltzer, AJW, Koerner and Ishikawa. On the ladies side, not a lot of household names but Betsy Nye looks to have a good shot. That is who Meltzer is picking so who am I to disagree. The men's race will be interesting. Meltzer is definitely fresh and is a mountain specialist and I don't expect Koerner or AJW to run hard after Cool and with States beckoning. The wild cards are Ishikawa or Justin Angle. At the end, I think Meltzer grabs it. Will be fun to watch.