The first in an ongoing series from 2-time GORE-TEX TransRockies Run Winner
As we head into the New Year it’s time to start thinking about those summer race plans now. What’s my spring training going to look like, what races and events will help me reach my goals this year, what ARE my goals this year? This is the time of year for questions like these. Well, I’d like to help in that planning this year and suggest that this year is the year for something really big. How about TransRockies this year? It’s the ultimate in adventure, it’s a rigorous summer camp for trail runners of all abilities, it’s sitting by the camp fire at night with a dozen or so of your new best friends that you’ve just spent one of the most rewarding weeks of your life with. If you haven’t had the opportunity to be part of the excitement in the Rockies the last week of August then I would like to tell you a little about the TransRockies run and what I’ll be doing with this regular column in the TransRockies News for the next couple months.
First, I’ll lure you in with stories from past TransRockies runs, then I’ll give you all the tools you’ll need to make your training effective this spring and summer so you’ll be ready when you show up to the starting line in Buena Vista August 21st. We’ll discuss workouts, hill training, gear for those long runs, altitude, hydration, nutrition. We might run out of months but I’ll pack as much as I can into each issue, because while you should be nervous at the start, you shouldn’t be questioning your preparation and training.
For this first column, let me introduce myself and tell you why I find TransRockies to be one of the most rewarding races I do all year. My name is Max King, I come from a background of track, road, and cross country running. Recently I’ve made the transition to trail and ultra running while still competing in the occasional track or road race. To me the joy of running keeps me out on the trails and keeping the joy in running means doing a little bit of everything. That’s why you’ll see me race a fast road race one weekend, a cross country race the next and triple back with a 50k or 50mi ultra the next. It’s all running and it’s all fun. I’ve been searching for “My” event ever since college knowing that something had to exist out there that I was just meant to do.
Usually I would see races that billed themselves as the toughest 10k or hardest trail run ever, etc, and maybe they were pretty tough but something just didn’t fit for me. That is until I saw an ad in a running publication for the TransRockies Run. I’d always thought that a running stage race similar to Tour de France would be the format that would best suite my running style. I always had the ability to train hard for a few days in a row and come out of it feeling stronger.
It’s a great feeling to find a hidden talent in yourself, but I had no way of testing that on a race course. Until TransRockies, that is. I saw the ad and knew that I had to give it a shot. It looked like the race of a lifetime. At the time I was training for the Olympic Trials in ‘08 so it would have to wait a year but I would figure out a way. Just after the trials were over in ‘08 Erik Skaggs called up and asked if I was interested. “Heck yeah!”
The week spent high in the Rocky Mountains ended up even better than I had expected with one of the most competitive and rewarding races for me personally that I’ve ever experienced. Even though I have great memories of racing and competing, what I find myself remembering every year in between TransRockies is how different it is from other events I do.
And I don’t mean the race itself, but every day after you’re through with one of the most amazing runs ever, you hang out with the other competitors, get to know them, have dinner with them, take a hot shower, and spend the evening sipping hot chocolate and eating s’mores by the fire with your new best friends, then you do it all again the next day. By the end of the week, this race that you were talking about going to with your friends back home becomes the best vacation you’ve ever had and a once in a lifetime opportunity that you come back to every year