Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Ultra-Trail Du Mont-Blanc and The Week in Review

What a treat tonight, to be able to run in 30 degrees above zero and without wind. I even thought about wearing shorts earlier when the sun was out but by the time I got out the door, the clouds had rolled in and it was getting close to sunset. Still, light layers and a thin pair of mitts made for a very enjoyable run tonight compared to many runs in sub zero temperatures lately.
Mont Blanc
My plans for 2011 are finally falling into place. After not making the lottery into Western States and a chance for the Grand Slam, I was pleasantly informed last week of my acceptance into the Ultra Trail Du Mont Blanc, one of my dream races. This is 100 miles around Mont Blanc which includes running through the countries of Switzerland, France and Italy. Having never been to Europe before, this is certainly a dream race come true. The race includes 2300 entrants from all around the world which were drawn from a lottery from well over 3000 entries. I know very little about the race but do know I need a doctor’s certificate to complete the application. When I went in to get my doctor to sign off on my good health, the woman at the front desk returned from chatting with my doctor and stated “no way is he signing off on you, you haven’t seen him for 2 ½ year”. The “but I’ve been healthy and haven’t needed to see him”, didn’t work or my colonoscopy 1 ½ years ago. So I guess I have to go in next month for a full physical. It will be worth it. I’m really psyched to be running with or at least starting with some of the best runners in the US such as for the men; Geoff Roes, Karl Meltzer, Anton Krupicka, Hal Koerner, Dakota Jones, Scott Jurek to name few and for the women, Kristin Moehl, Darcy Africa and my local training acquaintance, Aliza Lapierre. So no matter how it goes, it will be an unbelievable experience. My hope is also to stay after the race to visit some of my old family paisano heritage in parts of Italy. Who knows, maybe I’ll like it so much that I’ll stay there :)
Other plans for the year should fall into place in the next week or so as more lottery results will be posted. Then I can finally come up with a training schedule for myself. In the meantime, I’ve been on a “maintenance program” which includes about 80 miles a week, core workouts daily Monday through Friday at my pre-dawn job of loading trucks for 4+ hours and alpine skiing and skinning at least 2 times each week. Last week I met up with a good friend from Southern VT, John Talkington and skinned up the backside of Killington to an area where you frequently hear about tourists getting lost off the mountain.

John skiing through the woods.

From a very remote area, it was about a 2 hour skin up a moderate grade and then skiing down through fairly open trees. When I drove down to meet John, all I could see was ice stuck to my windshield and side view mirrors and was wondering why I was making to trip but once we started to rise in elevation, the ice layer disappeared. No it wasn’t Champaign powder but still was a lot of fun.

From the Chin on Mt. Mansfield

And the week before, I skinned up along the exposed ridgeline of Mount Mansfield in zero temps with winds blowing 30 or so. Not the most pleasant experience but as usual I kept going. I visited the Chin which is the highest point in the State of VT and has a lot of sentimental value to me. I couldn’t see much as my eyelashes were almost frozen shut but felt the good vibes off the Chin as usual. Then I was pleasantly surprised by some of the good untracked woods skiing coming off the face of the mountain. Always an adventure!

And another activity this winter, high speed sledding.  Living with Mt. Philo in my backyard, a sledding mecca, I've had a chance to frequent the hill for some great sledding on my Hammerhead Sled!  I've never been on such on nice rig.  And until you experience this finely tuned machine, you just can't imagine how nice it can be.  Thanks Steve :)

Jack with his Hammerhead Sled after night sledding.

And when you are at mile 90 of a 100 mile race remember; “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts”.


Joyce said...

That's so awesome Jack! We are so excited for you!! That sounds like the ultimate race ever! You'll love Italy. Can't wait to go back someday!

Great post! I love reading your blog! So inspiring!

We are getting out on our backcountry skis this Sunday to explore Bolton!


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