Here we go again… Iditarod #2

My training for the Iditarod Trail has started.
I have kept a mild base, running 50 miles a week, including one long-ish run. Now we add weight. A lot of the “race” – possibly hundreds of miles – happen in deep snow and with temperatures hovering in the -40s. Large snow shoes are on, and the sled barely slides. At those temperatures, we get to pull hard whether we are climbing or descending!
Run Rabbit Run has tortoise and hare categories; surely, the Iditarod must have an ox category. The long climb to Rainy Pass, and countless, significant PUDs (Pointless Ups and Downs) require forceful pulling. Training with added weight conditions the body to these slow and demanding segments. It also builds the mental game needed to cope with 1 mile-per-hour speeds… or makes you question the whole endeavor even before you get to Alaska!
I am carrying a ULA Catalyst backpack when training in steep spots, such as Fern Canyon in the Boulder area, and pulling a tire or two when training in flatter trails. I am weighing the Catalyst at 20% of my weight, which emulates the resistance of the sled on sticky snow. The Catalyst hugs me well and lets me run. How often do I run with my 20% extra weight? Let’s just say that every second I do increases my respect for overweight runners. Two tires on Boulder’s trails exceed anything I have experienced on the Iditarod Trail so far, so that I am hopefully building some margin there. To be clear, I am incapable of pulling the equivalent of two tires for 1100 miles, so hopefully the trail will offer a wider variety of conditions this coming year.
To add some fun to the training, I am pacing Tom Masterson at Run Rabbit Run while carrying some weight, joining Andrew Skurka and other light backpacking nuts in the high sierras somewhere inside Sequoia NP. And then sledding some in Yellowstone, when a thick white mantle returns it to a more pristine and adventury state.
Next up: training up and down the Incline near Manitou Springs. Get the post-“run” protein ready!

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