Monday, May 14, 2012

Is Jemez 50K a Bad Idea?

I was having a bit of a freakout the past couple days about going to Jemez 50K race this weekend. Was signing up a bad idea?
Very very rocky in some sections - I don't see a path, do you?
I knew one good thing about having it on my radar was that it was distracting me from the freakout of the eventual end goal of running the Chattanooga 3 Day Stage Race on June 15. Jemez was a good plan because it was a countdown to Chattanooga without being a constant reminder of Chattanooga; running the race would signal basically the start of my multi-week taper for Chattanooga.
One of the monster downhill grades
But I'm an anxious, high-strung person naturally. I work on it, but it's who I am at my core. So now I'd added an event on my calendar with Jemez that would be both incredibly rewarding and yet very stressful all at the same time. Add to it that two runners I know had recently had hard races tied to elements I would deal with at Jemez (one with altitude and another with technical terrain and difficult elevation).

So steep, they are stairs!
Why does Jemez 50K as a training run give me anxiety?
  • I will be finding out how my body reacts in altitude conditions (7000 ft minimum at this race). 
  • I will be doing some enormous climbs, up to the top of Pajarito Mountain at 10,440 ft and back down. 
  • I will be running on my feet for probably 10 1/2 to 11 hours. Funny how 8 hours doesn't phase me too much anymore (I've run over 8 hours 4 times before), but 11 hours feels very different in my head from 8.
Watch out for loose rocks!
So I did what anyone else with a running coach should do: I sent him a note about where my mind was at right now.

He had a great response that reaffirmed why I am doing this. It will be an excellent amazing training run for Chattanooga BECAUSE...
  • Jemez will be further and longer than any day in Chattanooga
  • The elevation gains and grades will be much harder at Jemez than Chattanooga
  • Jemez is supposed to be pretty technical, maybe more so than Chattanooga, plus I'll be exposed in unshaded terrain on sunny days more than the woods of Chattanooga.
  • I'll deal with all this on top of altitude, and I won't have altitude at Chattanooga.
  • Good chance Jemez could be as warm as or warmer than Chattanooga.
So I keep my wits about me, stay calm, keep moving forward, and Jemez will be such a great training race!
One of the views I'll be rewarded with!
My goals with Jemez from my coach are simple, well, as simple as they can be completing 31 miles in hard terrain... :-)
  1. Get in and out of the aid stations quickly. Something he's worked on with me and I showed I can do when I set my mind to it at Hells Hills 25K this year.
  2. Powerwalk those uphills. Be smart about running and walking at the right time. Run when I can, powerwalk when running isn't the most efficient.
  3. Keep on top of my food and hydration. I've worked on that this spring and this is another chance to show that, especially when dehydration is easier at altitude and makes altitude sickness worse.
Note all pictures were courtesy of Bill Geist, the race director, from the race website


  1. Wow! Those pictures are crazy! But, you are so awesome at these trail runs. You've got this. It's going to be an amazing experience! Can't wait to hear all about it! :)

  2. So pretty! You have this - I can't wait to see the tweets and hear the race report! :)

  3. The Jemez50K really isn't too bad. The climb up Pajarito is great. Just one step in front of the other and before you know it you'll be at the top. Remember, when you go up, you gotta go back down! :) The slide down Pajarito was the best part.

  4. You will do great. Everyone at JMTR is looking forward to getting you across the finish line!

  5. Oh my gosh! And oh my gosh 8 hours doesn't phase you anymore?? Sheesh! Good luck at Jemez 50k! We will look forward to hearing about your race next week! =)

  6. I to was thinking the same thing earlier this week. Jemez will be my first 50M and used Hells Hills 50K as a training run. I will be out of my element altitude wise as well but I've been looking forward to this race for the past 8 months. Have a great run and enjoy every minute!