The 200 Project: Pilot Episode

Welcome to The 200 Project.

For the next few months I am going to turn Feral Ultrarunner into a live blog of my summer leading up to August’s Bigfoot 200-Mile Endurance Run .

Once or twice a week I am going to post an update that covers both my training and how it is affecting my life. Similar to a television or comic book series, the entire thing will culminate with a confrontation with the “Big Bad” that is lurking in the background throughout the entire series.

In my case, this Big Bad is Bigfoot.

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How big is the Big Bad? The race website gives this description:

The Bigfoot 200 is a point to point traverse of some of the most stunning, wild, and scenic trails in the Cascade Mountain range of Washington State. The race ends in Randle, WA after crossing the Cascade Mountains from Mount St. Helens to Mt. Adams and along ridge lines with views of volcanoes Mt. Rainier, Mt. Hood, Mt Adams and more! 

The race will bring together people from all over the world to tackle this incredible challenge. With over 50,000 feet of ascent and more than 96,000 feet of elevation change in 203.8 miles, this non-stop event is one of a kind in both its enormous challenge and unparalleled scenery. The race is not a stage race nor is it a relay. Athletes will complete the route solo in 105 hours or less, some without sleeping. 

I have completed three 100-mile races. Each time — about 75 miles in — I have retired from endurance running, vowing to never run that far again. Now, thinking about running twice that distance scares the shit out of me.

So how did I end up registering for the Bigfoot 200?

It started in 2014 when I registered for the Grand To Grand 170-mile stage race from the North Rim of the Grand Canyon in Arizona to the Grand Staircase in Southern Utah. But two months after I registered, my then-wife and I went our separate ways. In the interest of being fiscally responsible, I decided to withdraw from my grand 2015 challenge.

In early 2015 — after I sent the email withdrawing from the race — I told myself that in 2016 I would do something amazing; something that seemed well beyond my comfort zone.

And that I would travel.

At first, I looked at the Tahoe 200. I consider Lake Tahoe to be the most beautiful place I’ve ever been. The idea of running a race that encircles the lake just sounds amazing. But, the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to go somewhere I’d never been before. And I had heard good things about The Bigfoot 200, which has the same race director. I have never been to Washington state and a four-day, semi-guided (I mean the course is marked right?) tour of the Cascades in search of Bigfoot, just sounds horribly perfect.

How am I going to get there? That’s the point of the 200 Project.

I am an average ultrarunner; I do not have endorsements and I put in my 40+ hours each week in a cubical.

In addition to training I have to balance work, relationships, and attempt to manage my stress. The point of The 200 Project is to document and reflect on the preparation for this race as it happens.

I don’t plan to hold much back during this series.

Stay tuned.

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