It’s almost time to head to tropical International Falls, Minnesota for the Arrowhead 135 mile ultra.
Training has gone well over the past few months. After a fall season with some nagging achilles issues, I’ve done a good job of managing the injury while still being able to get the necessary training in for the race. I’m happy to report that my achilles feels the best right now that it has in months.
I may not have done the excessively long runs that I have in the past, but have stacked a good number of them together, had more true recovery days from harder efforts, and kept a resemblance of decent quality in parts of my training. The overall volume has been similar to the past few years, but just distributed a little differently. All the while, I have been very specific with my training with some quality runs while dragging my pulk. I feel good going into Arrowhead that I’ve done what I need to have a strong race. I also feel like I’m going in fresh with a lot of energy, which is exciting.
We have been very fortunate living in Yarker in that we’ve had a couple of really good cold snaps that has helped to prepare for the race. We’ve also had a few ice storms which has made things challenging at times and less than ideal, but for the most part, I feel very lucky to have had great conditions to train in.
With Arrowhead being 35 miles further than I’ve raced the past two winters in the Yukon, I’ve paid a little extra attention to gear this year. I’ve tested and re-tested many things in training. Systems that I’ve used in the past and been happy with are staying. New systems and gear has also be implemented. A few areas that I’ve revisited with regards to gear have been the addition of a new pulk (Siglin Racing Pulk), stove, bivy bag, sleeping pad, headlamp, hydration system, rope/bungee vs pole system, and clothing. I’ll also be taking ski poles with me for the first time in case the trail is slow going.
Most of the clothing and layers will be similar to the past, but with the addition of some excellent new La Sportiva pieces, I’m feeling like I have this dialed in a little better this year. In particular I’m loving the La Sportiva Lux pant that is a great outer layer shell with a full zip to get on and off quickly and easily, without having to remove shoes. The Stratos racing pant is another new awesome addition. La Sportiva Crossover GTX will continue to be my go to shoe of choice.
There have been a few things that I’ve flipped back and forth with and will probably take both with me to the race, however, I’m pretty sure I know right now what I’ll be standing on the start line with. I’ll do a full gear review of what I used after the race. A lot of the mandatory gear I am hoping to not need, as I’m hoping to not have to sleep during the race, but best to be prepared for anything.
So, I’m getting very excited to leave and get this adventure underway. For those looking for information on the race, you can visit the Arrowhead 135 website.