I've had the idea to do a big on run the gravel roads through the Ozark National Forest north of the Mulberry River for a while, but have never had a good opportunity. Well, Mrs. DMG and The Donald Situation will both be in Virginia the end of July and into August, so finally I will have my chance. This is going to be some bad-ass fun!
The route will consist of two counter-clockwise loops, 36 miles each, plus a mile each way to Turner Bend where I will be camping. About ten miles of it is paved and the rest is gravel of varying quality, with a total elevation gain of just over 10,000 feet. It will be dry and hot.
I think the key to a successful Fly Gap 74 will be understanding exactly what it is I'm trying to do. I am trying to cover 74 miles by foot, in one brisk and continuous push, under hot-as-fuck conditions, without ruining myself. It will be a test of intelligence rather than one of athleticism, and success will depend on covering the distance well rather than covering it fast. I am trying to challenge myself, learn something, and have fun. I am not trying to injure myself. My training will reflect these goals.
I could do this run now, so I guess my primary training objective will be to simply maintain my current level of fitness. One run a week of twenty miles or so should do the trick. I will seek out gravel roads with lots of vertical to run on. It's a bit of a long drive to make every weekend, but running sections of this loop would be fun and would allow me to scout out hiding places for water. I'll need to stash water in at least four places on race day.
Funny, it you keep yourself reasonably fit, and you aren't obsessed with speed, you hardly have to train at all!