Things have been pretty hectic the last several weeks but training continues to go very well. Since Myrtle Beach I have gotten in two long runs (one 22 miler and one 34 miler) and a good bit of up tempo/speedy stuff. My next race is the Bel Monte 50 miler on March 22 and I feel pretty strong coming into it. Interestingly, I have run almost 100 miles more in 2008 than I did at the same time last year. Plus the majority of these "extra" miles are at a much quicker pace. I expect this added base building will serve me well at Massanutten. My left knee is a little achey (perhaps too much last week) so I am taking a bit more time off this week than planned. I am not really planning on tapering for Bel Monte since it is primarily a training run for Massanutten. Also, I have not written much about the vegetarian thing much but that is going very well. I still eat meat about once a month but am limiting that to seafood. I have not eaten any red meat since Thanksgiving with the exception of a cheeseburger after Myrtle Beach. I will write a preview of Bel Monte next week.
There have been a lot of great ultra performances the last few weeks. Anne Lundblad ran a very fast 5:38 at the Mt. Mitchell Challenge breaking Annette's course record (5:50). Annette herself ran an impressive 3:54 at the Black Mountain Marathon to take the women's top spot. By the way, both of these women are 41 years young! Who says speed goes away with age?! Annette followed up the marathon win with a 4:36 at the Way Too Cool 50K last weekend for 13th woman. Pretty impressive considering she is coming off injury. These two women should be an inspiration to us all.
There have been many impressive male performances as well including Michael Wardian's 2:55 at the Camusett 50K in New York setting a US 50K Road Championship record. Andy Jones-Wilkins also ran a 3:31 at Camusett and 6 days later cranked out a 4:04 at Way Too Cool. And, he is running the Coyote Two Moon 100 next weekend. With these strong performances look for a strong race at Western States by AJW, perhaps the masters course record. Speaking of Way Too Cool, the Oregonians dominated taking 10 of the top 25 spots including the male and women's winners. Sussanah Beck of Eugene broke Anne Trason's record by 4 minutes running a 3:55 en route to the women's title and 25th overall. Other strong OR performances were turned in by Todd Braje (overall winner in 3:32) Hal Koerner, Jeff Browning and Ian Torrence to name a few. In fact, Browning and Torrence had quite a battle down the last stretch.
This year is showing signs of being a tremendous year of performances and Meltzer, K. Skaggs, Tony K. and Jurek haven't even really raced yet. Although Tony K. and K. Skaggs did tie for the win at the Moab Red Hot 50K. As a humble mid pack runner, I am tremendously inspired to see these top athletes run so strong. Seeing performances like Anne and Annette at the Mount Mitchell races and the success of Jeff Browning (a self-proclaimed former mid-pack runner), gives credence to the "best performances are yet to come" argument.