Monday, September 14, 2015

Pre-Barkley Race Thoughts

The Barkley Fall Classic is this Saturday (4 days to go). Around 250 runners will toe the starting line trying to finish one of the hardest trail ultras in the country. Over 20,000 feet of elevation change in a 50km race. Lots of hills! The race directors predict less than 10% will finish the 50K. They even added a "marathon" as an alternative once you hit the 22.5 mile mark. (If you ever reach the 22.5 mile mark.) Assuming you beat the cut-off, you can opt for the shorter race and try to finish the marathon in less than 13 hours, 20 minutes. Sounds easy, right?

All the training is done.  It's inadequate, but done. The "hay is in the barn" and I can only do damage now trying to squeeze in more hard wokouts. It'll be an easy taper week for me. I'm excited and looking foward to the challenge.  The weather looks to be warm and humid (high of 84, sunny). Not good. The backwoods of TN at Frozen Head State Park have hosted the "real" Barkley many times. Often, that race has zero finishers. Zero. Nada. None. Guess that's why the RDs are predicting a small percentage of finishers in the shortened version. I'm game. Hike, run, crawl. Repeat. Don't give up.

Since I can't do much running this week, I'm focusing on preparation (supplies), nutrition, and sleep. Maybe eating well, and sleeping a lot, will help me this Saturday. You never know! And it doesn't hurt to be prepared with the right equipment, supplies, and on-trail food/drink. I have gloves and a pair of kevlar arm sleeves to protect me from the briars. They may not help, but it's worth a try. If nothing else, it makes me feel more prepared and confident...that's worth something. Right?

The course has not been given to us yet. We'll get maps and a compass at check-in. Much of the course is marked (not well) on established trails, but there are off-course sections too. I hope Gregg, a running buddy doing the race with me, can navigate better than me. He's one of those boy scout guys, so he should be an asset. I just hope we can stay together for most of the race.

Wish me well as I focus on Barkley this week. It'll be an adventure. Since we aren't supposed to finish, the pressure is off, right? No matter how hard this gets, it's still the "baby Barkley"--I can appreciate that I'm not in the real deal trying for 100+ miles on unmarked and unsupported trails. This is a small taste of the real race that I've dreamed about for many years. Time to have fun.


Jim said...

See you there!

Chris Ⓥ said...

Good luck Jim.

Steve Pero said...

Is "Gregg" Mr. Trapp? If so, a good friend of mine, he'll get you through it.

Good luck, have fun and be stubborn.

Steve, finisher of the 2001 fun run class at Barkley.

Chris Ⓥ said...


The real fun run. Nice. I just want this baby Barkley 50km. "Gregg" is Gregg Rose, local friend.