Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Spring is in the air?

OK, let's imagine that the last post didn't happen....with time I have been able to think a lot and do know that ultra trail running is my thing, is where I belong and I will participate in this until the day I die. Most of what has been going on with me started with not getting into Hardrock, then Deb talking about not going out to the race (she's in the starting field), which means I will most likely not be going to Silverton this year for the first time (other than the fire year of 2002) since 2000 when I first went out and paced Sue Johnston, all the while cursing Charlie Thorn and John Cappis for the extreme course. Little did I know I would fall in love with the course that weekend and want to be there every year! I went home and told Deb that she just HAD to come out the next year and see this beautiful place...we did and announced our engagement during the race at the Virginius aid station.

This is the photo of us toasting our engagement with chicken soup in styrofoam cups, we were offered a stronger beverage, but had a long way to go so declined.

Well, there's a reason for not going out this year and as hard as it will be to not make the drive to Silverton, as I have been doing every Summer for all of the 2000's, there is a reason and Deb makes all the sense in the world...but I will miss being at Hardrock, Camp Hardrock, the Potlick, The Avon, John and Charlie's long course briefing, the course marking days and all the friends that we have made over the past 9 years.

Our goal is to sell our house this year and move back to New Mexico, which is a good thing because it will get us to within 4.5 hours of Silverton year round! We need to stay here to maintain the house, it's garden and lawn to make it as attractive a house as we can make it. Leaving mid Summer would mean long uncut, brown grass and dead flowers out I still have a lot of work to do on it to make it a worthy purchase.

So back to the real reason for writing this post....yeah I will still run 100's and yeah I will enter Hardrock again next year. A lot of my decisions this year are based on the fact that I really do not enjoy running ultras in the East after running a year of ultras in the West. In 2006 we ran some of the most beautiful races in the world, Zane Gray 50, San Juan Solstice 50, Jemez Mountain Runs, Hardrock and many other smaller local events that are run on a weekly basis. Races like the Massanutten 100 no longer interest me and I knew that after running a good part of the Reverse Ring on the MMT trail, mentioned in the last post. I knew that even though my feet were on the nice and rugged Massanutten trails, my heart is in the Rockies. I will be at MMT doing much of the course marking with Kevin Bligan, course director and saying goodbye to those mountains that I spent so much time on.

Don't even talk about New England! There is nothing here because the weather window is only a few months, so they are all crammed in. I think possibly the best ultra in New England is the MMD 50K in August up in the White Mountains.

This is looking down into King's Ravine on the MMD 50k course

So, let's just say that 2009 is a time out of time...a little rest while we prepare to move to New Mexico, the Land of Enchantment. I liken nothern NM to Colorado without all the snow. Winter is generally from around late December to early March, unlike here in New England where it can be anywhere from sometime in October until sometime in May. I want to go back and I'm going to put all of my energy into this effort, rather than train for and be away at ultra events.

Who knows, maybe the house will sell early and we can salvage some of our year in New Mexico :-)

...until the next time...


This is a photo of near where we lived in the beautiful Jemez Mountains...this photo was the one Deb used to paint the Jemez Mountain Trail Runs painting for the poster and is of Chicoma Mountain, which you see during the 50 miler.


olga said...

Steve and Deb, we each decide where our lives go, and don't own any obligations to others. While I will miss you at HR camp, with some issues coming up I have no idea for certain if I'll make it there either! Sad but true. So you keep doing what's best for your family, and run where your heart is. Best to you guys on a sale too - I know just exactly how it feels...wish somebody bouth two places I have my name on!

Stuart said...

NM sure is a beautiful place to live, a real untapped unspoiled beauty of a state!

ultrastevep said...

Olga....I hope you get to run Hardrock, it an experience that is like no other.
I am still on the wait list and if for some strange reason I get in, I'll be there! ;-)

Best of luck with your needing to be elsewhere, too....I think I know where you are taking about ;-)


Stuart, NM is an awesome place. I saw something in a magazine that said something like "New Mexico, where the coyote outnumber the people"

Where we lived in the Jemez, the average humidity is 15%, winter temps can go down to 5 below in the evening (over 8000'), yet be 40 at noon. The summers rarely go above 90 and it's a dry heat ;-) The snow (yes, it snows there up in the mountains) just evaporates in the air. The snow is like puffy powder, rather than concrete.
It is awesome :-)

Running home said...


I love this blog. I'm so glad I'm not the only one who flip flops on all of these issues. Where to live? What to do? Which races to run? I'm thinking of signing up for Grindstone. One day it sounds like the best idea ever. The next day I'm wondering what exactly I am trying to prove, and whatever it is, why does it require that I run 100 miles?

Good luck with the journey.

ultrastevep said...

Hi Pam...

Grindstone is a great event, I'm sure, but I just no longer like running "in the East" after living out West where you can see the sky and horizon most of the time ;-) It is tough, that's for sure and if that's what you're interested in, you ought to enter and train for it. Check out Sophie Spiedel's blog at
Somewhere in her older posts is her great writeup of Grindstone.

If you enjoy being in the wildness for hours on end (days on end) with similar type people, then that is the reason to do these, not to prove anything. This is why Deb and I love to be a part of these things!

I do know where I want to's New Mexico! :-)

Running home said...

Wise and kind words, as always, Steve.

I tried VT last year and didn't like it. Too hot. Too much road. Grindstone might be my race.

I hear you about the West. We lived in Portland, OR for years. I pine for it still...

And nothing to prove. Of course. Let it go. (I think when I jumped off the career track to raise children -- a decision I would not change for the world -- it left me with a bit of a chip on my shoulder.)

But let it go. Nothing to prove. Huge relief. Thanks!