Thursday, February 16, 2012

2012 Season Preview

2011 Highlight: The Placer High Track with Jamie

After last year, I promised myself I would do two things this year: race less and not run a 100-miler.

Um, … yeah.

My reasoning was that I needed a break from the stress of running a 100-miler. I know some people run these things all the time – multiple 100-milers in a year.  For me, that kind of training takes a huge amount of mental focus, not to mention time. I thought I was ready to be a bit more of a well-rounded athlete for a while – get back to some rock climbing and some mountain biking.

My motivation for racing less stemmed primarily from the fact that I completely went over my racing budget last year.

And then I got into Hardrock.

So, I figured with the “no hundo” promise out the window, I may as well give up on “less racing,” too. Sometimes you just have to celebrate reality and roll with it. The thing is, I really like racing. And, I’m aware that I typically perform better when I race more. Well, I thought Western States was a big deal, so I let myself go a little overboard on the racing last year regardless of expense. In case you’re wondering, I think Hardrock is a way bigger deal. I’m not concerned about performance like I was at States, just, you know, totally petrified about the whole thing.

So, with all that in mind, buckle your seatbelts. Here’s my 2012 racing schedule:

Every now and then I go through this little fantasy about how I’m going to break my marathon PR (3:26) set at Grandma’s way back in 1998, and that was the thought behind signing up for Napa. A lot of experiences have indicated that a PR is totally possible, even likely. Back in ’09 I was way into running those damn Yasso 800 workouts, and I could knock 10 of them off at 3:00 pace. Last year, in the midst of early season high mileage, I ran RiverCity as a training run in 3:27 with ease. I know it’s possible. Unfortunately, Napa is not going to be it. I am on week #2 of illness and virtually no running right now. I was in great shape at the New Year, but in recent weeks I simply haven’t put in the necessary work for a PR. Still, it’s a new course for me so it should be fun, and hopefully it will provide a good early-season workout.

3/10/12 – Way Too Cool 50K

Only six days after Napa, I’m not expecting huge things from myself at this race. Still, it’s a classic. I love the course, and I will be sharing the day with many friends. It’s going to be exactly what I need to get me excited about the upcoming ultra season.

4/14/12 – Lake Sonoma 50M

This one looked like a good course due to its 10,000’ of elevation gain. (In honor of Hardrock, this year’s training is all about vertical gain and loss.) I have a pretty serious adventure run planned for the week leading up to this, so once again, I am not expecting huge things from myself in terms of performance.Just good, solid training and fun times.

4/29/12 – Big Sur Marathon

When I was in high school and dreamed of one day running a marathon, I had three races on my dream list: L.A., Boston, and Big Sur. I ran Boston in ’96, but never made it to the others. They both fell unceremoniously off my dream list when I became a trail and ultra runner. That is, until my friend Charlie decided that, to celebrate her 40th birthday, she wanted to run a marathon with me. I think the last time we toed the line together was that day in Hopkinton.  (Expect for that time in Seattle, which sucked, and CIM in 2001, which sucked even worse. Neither of those count.) We’re definitely due for an awesome run together, and I’m pretty stoked for this weekend.

5/5/12 – Miwok 100K

After last year’s race at Miwok, I wasn’t going to sign up for this one because I can’t imagine having a better race. Pretty lame, huh? But after I got into Hardrock, I decided I needed a 100K on the schedule to get the mileage up. Plus, this is such an awesome course! All downhill, as I recall.

6/2/12 – Pocatello 50M

This is supposed to be a gnarly course, but beautiful, and people seem to love it. Sounds like a perfect Hardrock trainer to me! I’d like to have a good day here because I think it would be a real confidence booster. I can’t take an actual taper for it, but I’ll take a couple extra rest days the week before. I’m road-tripping to this one with Jamie, and a few other cool ultra chicks will be out there as well. Ladies’ day in Idaho! Woot!

7/13/12 – 7/15/12 – Hardrock 100

I won’t bother you with a big essay on this one. (There will be plenty of time for that later!) I’ll just give you a quote about the race description from the website: “100-miles which includes 33,992 feet of climb and 33,992 feet of descent for a total elevation change of 67,984 feet with an average elevation of 11,186 feet - low point 7,680 feet (Ouray) and high point 14,048 feet (Handies Peak).”

I have a number of pacing and volunteering gigs, and big adventure runs planned as well, so the calendar is looking pretty full at the moment. Let the season begin!

Will I see any of you out there on the trails?



  1. Nice events they have, Congratulations to all the participants and good luck to all for the upcoming events. Thanks for sharing !

  2. Sounds like a normal schedule to me:) And as always, we just have to prioritize, right? Miwok entry fee versus a new pair of jeans and a latte? I know what I would pick!

    1. I totally agree about prioritizing. One evening out to dinner can be the same as an entry fee. I have no problem cooking at home! :)

  3. Geof and I are so completely excited about Hardrock; we can't wait to see you kiss that rock! That's a pretty damn good looking racing schedule; lots of quality and lots of fun. I'm inspired :) As soon as we figure out where in the heck we're going to be I'll work on more of a real schedule, too.

    1. SUPER stoked to have you guys at Hardrock!!!

      Are you moving out of the Chicago area? Come west! :) Also, for races, you guys should look into Pocatello if it's not already full. Sounds like I'm going to miss the party at Wasatch, so it would be fun to see you there.

  4. Need a pacer at Hardrock? One who's bad at climbs, altitude, night running, technical terrain and is having asthma attacks after a single slow mile? Then count me in!

    1. Steve - Why do I think you're only half kidding? Hardrock is funny that way - crazy scary, but so tantalizing. Last year, runners hooked up with pacers via a message board at the starting line during the days right before the event. Maybe you should give it a shot.

  5. WOW! That's a heckuva' schedule. I'm very Hardrock envious and I for one, am confident that you are going to rock that race despite your trepidations. :) In the meantime, my race schedule is light - because of that wee little 2,650 mile adventure. It kind of taken over my imagination, my finances and my leisure time. "The Spending is Ending" as Keith likes to say!! I'm doing a 50k in Yakima Canyon in April, and then we'll be seeing you in Pocatello cuz both are races that I can drive to. Wahooooo!

    1. Looking forward to seeing you in Pocatello, Les! Also, in the Sierra come late summer. I will have to take a peek at your schedule and see if there's any chance of my joining you for a short stretch. Would be awesome!!

  6. That looks like a fun race schedule and great build up to the 100-miler you just can't shake.

  7. Anne - Yup, it's funny to note how many of my races I've billed as "Hardrock trainers." In spite of a packed schedule, there's really only one race on the brain. :)

  8. I wrote a very similar post recently. Despite other intentions, I decided racing is just too much fun! Your schedule looks great.