I threw my name into the lottery for the Hawai’i’s “Hawai’i Ultra Running Training Teams 100 mile trail run” AKA The HURT. They draw 125 names. The race is in January and in Hawai’i it’s about 70 degrees Fahrenheit in January. There is 24500 feet of cumulative elevation gain. It’s five 20 mile loops in the middle of the island of Oahu. There are four river crossings for each loop. Yep, you got it, my name was pulled! I’m so very excited for this race. It will be one of the most challenging, possibly the most challenging, race I’ve done.
I’ve had to come up with some creative ways to get the training I need for the HURT. In Utah, where I live, it is winter in January, January is one of the coldest months, ice and heavy snow cover the ground, temperatures below freezing, so cold I run in the neighborhoods with narrow streets just to keep warm.
So how am I going to train to run in 70 degrees when it’s 20 degrees where I am? Well, I’m going to dress in my winter clothes and do have of my long runs on the treadmill in doors. Sounds like fun huh? Not at all, but it’s what you do if you want to finish the HURT.
With all that snow and ice, running the mountains will be pretty much impossible. Driving up into the canyons with six feet of snow is not my idea of a good time, nor is potentially sliding off the side of a mountain. So How am I going to train for the climbing? I’m going to learn to love running stairs (or hate it, either way, it’ll get done). My office building has six flights of stairs. If anyone needs me between the hours of five am and seven am, that’s where you can find me.
I plan to continue with my strength training routine, including core and balance; however, I’ll be switching things up to make sure I maintain the strength in my climbing and more importantly, my descending muscles and tendons. Most people believe that climbing is harder than descending and mentally it is more difficult, but descending is harder on your body because of the impact. If you don’t practice descending, you’ll end up with ITBand issues, shin splints, and blown quads before the end of the race. That’s rough if you still have a lot of descending to do, in fact, it can cost you a finish.
Finally, do you see that picture up there? That’s the trail. How in the hell do you train to run on that? Agility training my friends. I have a friend who is a soccer player, soccer players have fast feet, lightning fast, moving in and out of everyone else’s feet trying to steal the ball. I asked him to create an agility training routine on the ladder. I have three months to get my little feet to move just as quickly as a soccer player’s. And I have a lot of work to do. I thought I had fairly quick feet since I spend so much time jumping around on single track trails avoiding roots, rocks, mud, and whatever else happens to be out there, but no. When he showed me, I knew right away how much I suck.
The great thing about knowing I suck is I know how to fix it and I’m willing to put in the work. I’m going to finish the HURT 100, if I break both my ankles so be it.
If anyone else has run the HURT, i’m open to suggestions for training or preparation.