THE ART OF PLANNING
I'm one of those people who always has plans and goals for
my life. None was quite as grand as last year's thru-run/hike of the Appalachian
Trail, but nonetheless there were always plans and goals for my educational,
career, athletic, and other personal spheres of life. I strive to cherish but
learn from the past, live fully in the present, and plan for the future - I'm always
a work in progress!
I try not to make my plans/goals too rigid because there
are so many variables in life. I'm getting better at that as I get older and learn what
I can and cannot control. Flexibility in all aspects of life is so important to
achieving goals and being satisfied with your life. As the old saying goes,
there is more than one way to skin a cat. (Poor cat!)
If Plan "A" doesn't work out, have a Plan "B." A Plan "C"
isn't a bad idea, either.
During the AT trek I had three "rules" I tried to follow:
I didn't do so well with the first one, but at least there
were no hike-ending injuries, only down-time. I definitely had fun most days.
And, boy, did Jim and I learn to be more flexible and adaptable! Every day
presented challenges that required at least some part of Plan "A" be modified.
This trip will be be no different, although it should be
less stressful in many ways. I have to admit we're getting a wee bit stressed
out right now, however. It's Sunday night. We are leaving our home in Virginia
on Wednesday morning. Do the math. There's a lot we still need to do in just two
days for our three-plus month foray out West with our camper and two 80-pound
this AT entry if you're not already acquainted
with Tater and Cody, who are shown with Jim and me in the photo below on the
first day of our AT run, April 30, 2005:
I intend to follow the same "rules" this summer. I won't
have any fun if I'm injured, and we'll lose our sanity if we're too rigid.
Adaptability = fun.
Here is our Grand Plan. It is subject to change, of course.
Life is like that!
OUR 2006 ITINERARY
May 24: leave our home in Virginia
May 25: arrive at campground southwest of St.
May 27: run the
Berryman Trail 50-miler in the Mark Twain
May 30: arrive at campground in Dayton, WY,
where we'll stay for three weeks getting acclimated and tapering for our goal
race and visiting friends and relatives in Billings, MT
June 16-17: run the
Mountain Wild & Scenic 100-Mile Trail Run (both of us are
Funny story here - I don't have time to dig out the CD with
the photos from our previous Bighorn training runs and races, but I found some
of OUR photos on the race website. Here are two from a training run in 2003
before the race. Both show a dirt road runners use near the Dry Fork aid station
location. The aspen leaves are just coming out in the first photo with Jim:
June 20: head for the Denver, CO area to re-supply
and visit the Colorado Trail Foundation's headquarters. If we have enough
energy, we'll start chipping away at the northern sections of the
(CT) between Denver and Breckenridge
(approximately Segments 1-6). I plan to run and walk the entire 483-mile trail.
I'm hoping Jim can do most or all of it, too, but it's not an important goal for
him. He just wants a lot of acclimatizing at high elevation so he'll be more
than ready for the Leadville Trail 100-miler in August.
Late June: arrive in the Silverton, CO area and find
a couple of nice, free forest service camping spots where we can "boon dock" for
two to three weeks while we run the southern sections (approximately Segments
20-28) of the Colorado Trail and volunteer several days for the
Hardrock 100 Endurance Run
(we're "giving back" to the sport, not running that one).
~ July 20: move farther north to complete the middle
sections (approximately Segments 13-19) of the CT.
~ August 1: arrive in Leadville, CO and stay on a
friend's property for about three weeks while we run and hike the Leadville
Trail 100 (LT100) course and finish up the Colorado Trail (approximately
August 19-20: run the
Trail 100-miler. Jim registered months ago. I haven't. I'm
waiting to see how I feel after running most of the Colorado Trail. If I'm in
great shape, I might enter the race. If I'm injured or too tired to be
able to finally finish it this time (I'm 0 for 2 there), I'll crew Jim and maybe
pace him some. He doesn't need a pacer; it's just fun to pace each
other in a hundred-miler.
This photo is from an August, 2004 training run on the
north side of Mt. Hope near Twin Lakes (about a mile below Hope Pass):
If I still have any remaining segments of the Colorado
Trail to complete, I'll do them after LT100. If not, we'll probably head back
home a few days after the race. We love to travel, but after living in the
camper that long we'll be anxious to get back home.
There you have it. I'll probably report two or three times
a week (not daily, like on the AT) to share adventures and photos. We're excited
to be heading to the Rockies for two of our favorite races, and we're looking
forward to seeing ultra running friends we haven't seen since we moved to
Virginia in 2004.
We hope you enjoy our newest journey vicariously in this
journal (especially those of you who read it at work and live for the
weekends!). Even better, we hope some of our tales will make you want to get out
and enjoy the great outdoors yourself.
We've had such a heartwarming response from people all over
the world who were inspired by an arthritic 56-year-old woman (me!) who beat the
odds to finish the Appalachian Trail. Well, now I'm 57 and I'm still looking for
near-impossible challenges. I think finishing the Bighorn race will be more difficult than finishing the Colorado Trail because the
have time cut-offs! That's one reason I enjoyed running the AT so much.
Tune in to see if I can beat the odds again . . .
In the next few entries I'll be discussing our training
since last year's adventure run, the gear we'll use, nutrition/hydration plans,
and the Berryman race. It may be a few days before I'll have time to write
another entry. Gotta get that camper packed!!