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Spring Transition: Last races/first hunts

Posted February 17th, 2014 at 01:55 PM by Black Spurs

This winter has been an eventful one on the trails. I helped crew/pace a friend to his first 100 mile trail race win, which he followed up with a 201 mile run and win at Across the Years on New Years Day in Arizona. I helped my brother finish his first 100K race on the same day I was crewing/pacing for my buddy. And then, I saw him have a bad day at Rocky Raccoon 100 mile race a couple of weeks ago. He had some good things come out of that race, too. He bested his 100K time by about 45 minutes, but things fell apart from there. I guess that isn't too bad, though. Most people never run a 100K, even people who like running.

So, now it is my turn to race again. I try to do a race right before turkey season each year, but I didn't do it last year. I haven't run an ultramarathon in about 18 months. So, it is good to be back in a race/run. The Mt. Cheaha 50K in Alabama is the race I have chosen. I chose it for a number of reasons:

1. It is a mountain race, and I love mountains.

2. It is on the same course as the Pinhoti 100 Mile race, which I am signed up for in November. The race runs from mile 68 of Pinhoti back to mile 40, with a couple of out and backs to make up the other 3 miles needed for 31 miles. I dropped on the north side of Mt. Cheaha at Pinhoti the first time I ran it; this race goes in from the south side. After Saturday, I should be somewhat familiar with 68 miles of the course. The 18 miles between miles 68 and 85 are pretty rough. The last 15 are easy, except for the fact that you have run 85 miles to get to that point.

3. It is the last weekend of February, which leads into the first weekend of March. I can probably hear one the first weekend of March.

That first gobble of the year is always a special thing for me, even if it is just a clearing of the throat. It brings a calmness to my soul just knowing he (they) are out there doing what they do. I never get too close; I never try to look at them this early unless I happen to see them from afar. If I do, I will look through my binoculars for as long as I can if I am confident that I can do it without spooking them.

I may try to shoot a hog if I can do that first weekend of March. I have a little 7mm 08 with a Simmons 3x9x40. I have only ever killed one deer with it. And that was only because I needed a little freezer meat and had nothing to do one day. I rarely get on a deer stand anymore. If I have not shot at a hog on the first weekend of March, the hogs will get a pass until the end of the season, just like the snakes. But, I generally give snakes a pass year round as long they keep giving me passes. If one snake breaks our truce (10 years of peace now), I will go on a rampage against snakes like I have against spiders. I hate those big, nasty that always seem to build a web about face high on the trail.

Right now, I have to really focus on getting through this 50K. That distance is hard to get right. And I haven't really trained for it. But I am excited to get out in the mountains and have some fun, climbing hills, crossing boulder strewn creeks, drinking a few beers, and just relaxing on a Saturday morning for about 7 hours, hopefully no more than 7.5 hours. The big race is November, where the gobbler foot belt buckle is the prize. Oh, it is a beauty.

Thanks for reading. I'll post a race report next week.
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