Vasque athlete, Duncan Callahan, took some time recently to talk to us about his 2012 season. With exciting new opportunities like the Ultra Trail Mt. Fuji in Japan in May and not participating in the Leadville 100 for the first time in 5 years, this is going to be a unique year for Callahan.
April 1, 2012 is now upon us, and with it, the official start to my 2012 ultra-running season. As I type, recovering from the Elk Mountains Grand Traverse back-country ski race from Crested Butte to Aspen, CO, I am amazed that it is sunny and 70 degrees outside. This is tremendous weather for this time of the year in Gunnison and although there will be many challenges throughout the Western USA this summer due to the low snow-pack and lack of moisture in the high mountains, the one benefit to those who live in the mountains is clear: much earlier access to dry trails and high mountains. Already, there are 14,000’ peaks within an hour drive of my house that I can get up and down on foot without much snow, which is at least 6 weeks earlier than last year. The training opportunities are unique for my sixth season of competing in ultras. Heck, the season itself will be unique.
With regards to training and fitness, this past winter was the best yet. Running every day, coupled with timely long runs, quality strength training, numerous cross-country ski outings, and a very clean nutritional approach has left me the fittest I’ve ever been on April Fool’s day. As a cross-country ski coach, this winter season was one of the best for the team and athletes I work with. Numerous top regional results and many strong National performances helped to continue the upward trajectory that the Crested Butte Nordic Team finds itself on. I leave the official ski race season with much inspiration and motivation to better myself as a coach, runner, and person.
Launching into more structured running-specific training is now the name of the game with the main focus of my training being the Ultra Trail Mt Fuji (UTMF) 100 miler on May 18th in Japan. I look forward to finalizing my preparation and fitness for what will be my first international race experience. The final buildup of training during April and early May will primarily consist of moderately high volume running with some large ‘sprinkles’ of intensity thrown on top. I will be running approximately 100 miles per week with two days of solid intensity training per week. Strength training will also continue to be a central component of the training approach with an emphasis on core and explosive leg strength. During this final buildup to UTMF, I will also be attempting to defend my title at the Spring Desert Ultra 50 mile race in Fruita, CO on April 21st. Throughout this race, and all the training, I will be visualizing competing for the win in Japan. Fired up for this opportunity.
After racing in Japan, I will be taking time off from training while leading a two-week long summer ski training camp in Bend, OR for several of the skiers I work with. This training camp will be a great way to get these high-school aged athletes pumped up for a summer of training, and it will also serve to keep me active, fit, and strong as I look toward to rest of the summer. Once home from this camp, toward the end of June, my training will build back up and I’ll also be helping my friend and training partner Tim Parr at the Hardrock 100 in the middle of July. Parr will no doubt be harboring aspirations for a victory at Hardrock and I’ll be psyched to be there trying to help him accomplish that ambitious goal. Beyond pacing and crewing at Hardrock, I will also be racing the Grand Mesa 50 mile event at the end of July in Cedaredge, CO, which will be an awesome way to gauge my fitness and get in a beautiful race at high altitude.
This is where my season will turn vastly different from any other I’ve had so far. August will come but I have already decided not to race the Leadville 100 in 2012. This may come as a shock to some of you that have followed my exploits for the past 5 years. A quick reading of any blog post I have ever written will leave you knowing at least one thing; “I Love Leadville.” Even though I have decided not to race in 2012, after 5 consecutive Leadville 100 finishes, including 3 podiums, and 2 victories, I know it is time to take a break from this great event. I still love Leadville and I will always. Instead, I will be using August as a month of solid preparation for the inaugural Run Rabbit Run 100 miler in Steamboat Springs, CO on September 14th. This will be a deeply competitive event with a large prize purse on the line and I can't wait to race it. Post Steamboat I will be prepping for the Vasque sponsored Rock/Creek StumpJump 50K on October 6th in Chattanooga.
I anticipate the 2012 calendar year to be filled with adventures on and off the trail. These races and the training required will keep me engaged in the outdoors, and with the ever-constant pursuit of fitness and physical challenge. My wife Annie and I are also looking forward to this summer being an amazing first full summer with our daughter Jordan, who’ll be turning 1 year old this July. No doubt we’ll be hiking, biking, running, and walking with her all over the place. She has brought incredible joy into our lives and we still can’t believe how fortunate we are to have this incredible kid in our lives. Anyway... here’s to a tremendous spring and summer; both on and off the trail. Thanks for reading. Live well. Train well. DC