I really tried to psych myself up to run the "Round Up" this year. After a lengthy match of mental tennis going back and forth with the pros and cons of this run I'm glad I chose the alternative today. The "Round Up" is only for the hard core runner who enjoys self-flagellation. El Jefe Mejor refers to it as his annual session of "mental callousing." The numbers speak for themselves: 30 miles, 10,000 ft. vertical gain. Here's the kicker- that 30 miles is run on only 4.5 miles of trail! It is literally vertical suicides to each mile marker and back to the bottom as you incrementally ascend Round. Absolute madness I tell you! I myself overdosed on the "mental callousing" running suicides on the b-ball court from 4th-7th grades. The other kicker- (I shouldn't have even asked this question...but I was curious) RB: What time are y'all starting? NC: 5:30 AM. RB: Leaving your house at 5:30? (Another question I just had to ask) NC: No, running from the TH at 5:30. So I did the math. This meant leaving the warm and friendly confines of my residence at approximately 4:35 AM. In the battle of Sleep vs. Round, Sleep handily won.
The alternative. I then had to figure out my long run for the weekend. With Quad Rock quickly approaching I figured I should get a few more laps on the course before the Big Day. Last November Clark and I ran a loop of the course from his door with the addition of both Rock summits. 27 miles, 4:22, 9:45/mile. Today I ran a lap from the door of Bellvue's Best also with the addition of both Rock Summits. 27.6 miles, 4:38, 10:05/mile. Less than 1 mile of repeated terrain, shorter drive time, "mental refreshment",a Goding sighting, and a 10:45AM start time...PRICELESS!
Clark and I were discussing what a superhuman effort on the 50M course would be. It got as low as 7:15. As I look at my times above that were run at steady conversational efforts I'm thinking that only a handful of runners will break 8 hours. 7:30 breaks down into two 3:45 laps...and there will be carnage on the second lap especially if its hot so there will be no negative splitting on this one. If I compare apples to oranges on other two loop 50M courses I've run, the closest lap splits I've had were still 21 minutes apart. That came at CP last year - my best time at Fruita came with at least 40 minutes difference between lap times. To break 7:30 at Quad Rock I'm predicting that the first lap will need to be at least a 3:30 to come back in 4:00. And Quad Rock has significantly more climbing than CP and Fruita. The more I think about it sub 8 sounds more realistic. Nick's CR at Jemez of 8:07 is run on a course with approx. 1000 ft more climbing and at higher altitude. I'm curious to see what time will set the inaugural bar...and pray for sub 80 degree temps on race day!