Saturday, October 19, 2013

Tussey Mounainback 50 miler preview

 It's not that I haven't thought about running this race eventually but it was certainly not on my schedule for 2013. After my DNF at Bighorn 100 miler due to hypothermia I was about to give up on doing 100's after a streak of bad luck causing  string of dnf's. But deep inside I knew I was not yet ready to call it quits. I still know I can one day improve on my pr and more importantly I still have the desire to fulfill my dream of completing the Western States 100. And that is where this race comes into the picture. Because of my DNF at Bighorn I had no qualifier to enter the lottery and without one I would have to start the whole process over again. I know if I don't get in soon I will be too old and slow to finish so I really need to get back while I am still running strong.

  Due to time and budget restraints I was having a hard time finding a suitable qualifying race but then I saw this one. Not too close but driveable and I could do it without missing a day of work.  I begin to get excited and was looking forward to coming up here and running a fast time knowing if I blew, up I could still finish under the 11hr cut-off. I even signed up for the USATF because the race is the National 50 Mile Championship and although I doubt I would have placed  I was looking forward to the age-group competition.

 Well, that was before I got stupid one weekend in early August and ended up with a hamstring injury that was avoidable. It's been hampering me ever since and most recently screwing up my BQ attempt two weeks ago. I have not run a step in the past two weeks in hopes that the leg will just get me to the finish line in under 11 hours. So, rather than race I will go conservatively and just try and enjoy the day and I guess that's not a bad thing  sometimes. I will take advantage of the slower pace and take in the views and take lots of pictures. It would be nice if an Angel or two could have made the trip to keep me company. I don't know anyone in the race except for Jim Plant who like me dnf'd in the summer and is running just to keep his name in the WS lottery.

  What seems a little strange is that under the new qualifying standards for WS only certain races are eligible and about all are trail with many road ultras dropped from the list. But this is a road race, about 75% dirt and 25% paved. I assume that it is due to the fact that it is the championship 50 miler. The course has about 5,000ft of climbing in the Allegheny Mountains of central Pennsylvania. It is one big loop with a short section at the beginning and end that is run in both directions starting at the Tussey Mountain Ski Resort outside of Boalsburg PA, which is just outside of State College PA.

 Here is a link to the website:

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