I have hooked up with several experienced and accomplished ultra-trail runners to run the full Juan De Fuca Trail this Summer. These guys are serious runners and masters with a several decade head start on me. I am afraid my inexperience at ultras will definitely shine brightly but I don't care I am just glad I found people willing to let me tag along on their adventure with them and that they trust in me enough to keep up. I really like having this goal to really propel my training over the next 3 months. I feel if I can run consistently for the next 100 days I should be able to keep up with them.
Several shots I linked from a google image search of the Juan De Fuca.
The trail is 47 km long and starts at China Beach and finishes at Botanical Beach following the Pacific Coast of Vancouver Island. I think we are shooting for a time around 8 hours which seems slow but the trail is difficult with everything from boulder beaches to mud slides and shoots to suspension bridges. Though there is no spot along the trail with major relief the cumulative elevation is significant due to constant ups and downs over various headlands. I am way excited.
I may also may be running portions or all of the North Coast Trail as well this Summer. This rugged 60 km trail near the very northern tip of the island is a newly opened trail and looks truly epic. A nice write up by Ultra Runner Jeff Hunt can be read here. This would be truly challenging including sections that are so rough they are aided by ropes. It took Jeff and his party 11 hours and they appear to be great runners so I can expect much slower times. None the less it is exactly the type of adventure I could use this Summer.
I have a final on Tuesday and then I will be able to get serious into a training phase. I am looking forward to it.
I have really been digging a band called Deer Tick lately and have been enjoying a song called "these old shoes" quite a lot. I think the song makes me think about all my old shoes I have owned over the last few years and almost brings a tear to my eye when I remember all the beautiful miles of trails we ran together. Here is an animation and a live performance. I hope you like it as well. It kind of has a southern bluesy feel to it but great stuff.