A What’s Next Update

I hadn’t planned on doing any summer racing but my running group advertised a popular trail run that many said they were participating in.

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So I’ve never done an actual trail race.

And I’ve never raced at night.

Totally seems like a good idea to do both for the first time together, right?

The race is put on by Jamil Coury, the guy I wrote about a few weeks ago who did the Barkley Marathon. He founded Aravaipa Running and I’ve heard nothing but good things about their races. I’m super excited to finally have a chance at participating in one.

I’m pretty excited about it actually. Nervous too, but definitely more excited. There’s a 10k, a 27k, and a 64k option and I decided to go with the 27k. AZTNT, my running group, has a ton of people signed up for it so it’s going to be a great time running with friends. I don’t have any goals or expectations with it; I just plan on enjoying myself doing something different.

I feel like I need things to look forward to to kinda help the days go by. With this 100 Days of No Soda starting, I’m going to need all the motivation I can get. I plan on also looking around for a 4th of July run. August will be plenty busy with me going back to work (this news will be elaborated on in a later post 🙂 ) and once fall gets here, race season comes with it full throttle.

But for now, this trail race in a couple of weeks has me counting the days. I’ve got my head lamp ready and we’ll just see what happens!

–Have you ran a race a night? What tips can you give me?

–Do you schedule races to have something to look forward to? What’s the method behind your planning, if any?

Have a great weekend! Tomorrow’s the last day to think of something for the 100 Days of Summer Challenge! Keep me company (and help hold me accountable) as I try to go without soda 🙂

The challenge starts June 1st and ends September 8th.

The challenge starts June 1st and ends September 8th. Click here for details.

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Yes, Runners Are Crazy (But Oh So Awesome)

Last night, I met up with my running group for our Wednesday workout. A little over 3 miles of hill drills. Fun, fun.

But what I was really looking forward to was our guest speaker afterwards–Jamil Coury, founder of Aravaipa Running (that’s our local trail and ultra running series). Jamil has done over 50 ultra races and this past March he attempted the practically impossible (no, really) Barkley Marathon.

Have you ever heard of the Barkley Marathon? Not many people have and I hadn’t until our running group cheered him  on when he started. Apparently, this 100 mile marathon is not designed for people to know much about it–which is exactly how it’s race director and according to Jamil, even the runners, like it. It’s not a race you can simply go to a website and register. You get information only by word of mouth and there is a secret application involved. Jamil wouldn’t (couldn’t?) divulge the specifics of how he got in.

The Barkely Marathon takes place every year during spring in the mountains of Tennessee–the high point being 3300 feet with total amount per loop of 12,500 feet and temperatures that range from freezing to sweltering. Jamil recounted how the first day was non-stop rain. The 100 mile race (which really is more around the 130 mile range) has a 60 hour time limit and participants are not given a course map nor are the trails marked. The runners do not know the exact start time but must camp out the night before and wait for the start signal–the race director lighting up a cigarette.

The race consists of five 20 mile loops, the first two clockwise, the next two counter clockwise, and the last loop with different runners going opposite directions. Those completing 3 loops, under a set time limit of 40 hours, accomplish what’s dubbed the “Fun Run”. Jamil was one those people this year. It took him 13 hours to finish the last loop.

There are no aid stations, runners carry with them their own food and water and whatever equipment they can carry (although, no GPS are allowed). Throughout the race, to prove runners are not cheating, the runners search for 10 books hidden along the way. Once found, they must tear out the page number that matches the number on their bib. (ETA: There were 13 books this year)

Jamil's bib

Jamil’s bib

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The book titles reflect the conditions of the course (and/or perhaps even some of the thoughts of the runners?).

During our question/answer session with Jamil, one person asked what the winner got–you know, what were you running for?

Nothing.

That was Jamil’s answer. You weren’t running to win anything.

Yet, people who’ve been unsuccessful in finishing the Barkley Marathon return again and again and again. Of course,  Jamil’s plan is to return.

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–Have you heard of the Barkley Marathon? (It’s funny because when you look it up, you get the same information every place you go. It’s like people only divulge certain things. It’s this mystique I find so intriguing.)

–Would you ever do a crazy race like this? (In a different lifetime, yes.)

This is a great site with pics from the race.