|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:
3/4/12 – Napa Valley Marathon
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?