While not quite drunk with success from my outing at the Red Hot 55k - given the slow time and low placing - I did come home from Moab feeling buoyed. Running's been tough the past number of seasons with injury after injury, and I came away from Red Hot feeling some possibility of a more normal season in 2014. Exactly what that means will become clear over the next couple of months, but I haven't let that stop me from making some solid plans for the summer.
Having lived in Idaho for over eight years now, I've always wanted to make a summer trip to run in some of the remotest parts of the Salmon-Challis National Forest, but its foreignness, vastness, and pure wildness has always intimidated me a bit. And that is the likely reason both for the draw the area has on me, and for my putting off visiting it.
But, with my legs feeling good and fitness coming around (however slowly), I took the plunge and signed on the dotted line for one of the few remaining spots in the June 21 River of No Return 100k (RONR). Sporting 16,000 feet of vert, 2 high passes, and a stacked women's field with the likes of Trason, Vaught, and Ortiz, it'll be a stout affair and no doubt right on my edge of fitness - even if training goes well.
But I'm excited to challenge myself again at the longer distances. While I've been able to do some shorter ultras over the last couple seasons, it's the longer races that really ground me and that put me in touch with my elemental self - a feeling and experience I've very much missed.
If I'm honest, there's probably only a 50/50 chance that I'll actually toe the line come June 21. But until something tells me otherwise, I'm going to keeping looking toward RONR and enjoying the journey.