So what's it like to run 100-mile races on consecutive weekends? I don't know, because I ran 200 miles last weekend. But let me tell you about that.
After fun at Tahoe hanging out with the other runners, I had a lame (birth)day evening trying to find Altras or Hokas in Reno that ended with a splitting headache (the lack of sleep chickens coming home to roost), and then I drove through the Black Rock / High Rock National Conservation Area in NW Nevada Wednesday. I took route 34 and honestly, it was pretty disappointing scenery-wise. Thursday I arrived in Idaho at my friend's amazing, amazing cabin.
Friday I went to the pre-race meeting and camped out near the start. I met AD, the econ prof married to a triple crown backpacker running (and winning!) the race--she had offered to watch George for me while I ran. I also talked some final smack with Jeremy, who I beat at both the 4MPH Challenge and the SF 24 this year. Tongue in cheek we had agreed that it was double or nothing on IMTUF (actual bet: $0), our third head to head race of the year. I figured I'd give him a shot so I ran 200 miles 5 days prior. Turns out he beat me by 10-15 minutes.
IMTUF started at 6AM, and it was quite cold and dark. Long sleeves, a jacket, gloves, and hat, and ice formed in my beard. I started off pretty fast, two miles at 5 mph, and it honestly didn't feel that hard. Of course I couldn't keep it up for more than a couple hours, and I was lucky that the first 10+ miles were flat or downhill. The first section was a burn that is maybe five years old, and not spectacular in terms of scenery, but since we hit it early it wasn't overexposed.
The race started and ended at Burgdorf Hot Springs in Payette National Forest. Due to fires this year, the course was made a sort of lollipop instead of a perfect loop. Either way, we headed south from Burgdorf towards McCall.
After an initial descent through a burn, we climbed over a pass, and descended to Upper Payette Lake. Dirt road, trail, dirt road, and we were at the Snowslide aid station at mile 40 or so. (This glosses over some extremely pretty views, including close-ups of lakes.) At this point I started zoning out to Dave Roberts' very interesting Alone Against the Ice about four Russian sailors who survived seven years on an Arctic island. Ten miles of steep climb, drop, climb, drop, it was dark, and we were back at the aid station. I of course then fell in the creek, but since it was right at the aid station, and I had a pretty ample drop bag there, it didn't matter too much. It did get quite cold during the night, however. I eventually was wearing two layers on bottom and three on top, plus hat and multiple gloves.
The night was long, and I got a little dispirited because the night section read a lot long on my GPS than it was supposed to. I'm always particular to my own GPS reading, regardless of how long the RD says it is. I was a little thrown off at Upper Payette Lake aid station because I thought they had the wrong drop bag (from Crestline), but it turned out that when Crestline closed they had moved all their drop bags to Payette, so I actually had two bags there. After that, the climb out of the lake felt a lot worse than it had in the morning. But eventually the sun came up, and I had 20 miles left to go. With the exception of stopping to slough off all my warm clothing, I ran most of the last 20, including a very nice out and back to the beautiful Loon Lake. I maybe pushed too hard on the last road section in order to try and not let this one guy pass me, but after a soak in Burgdorf Hot Springs, I feel pretty good. I finished in 31:46.
I'll be in Idaho for another day or so, and then I head to Utah for the last race in the Onion Slam.
Photos later once I connect my phone to Wi-Fi.