2013 Race Schedule
February 13, 2013 24 Comments
I don’t usually have a perfectly solidified race schedule so early in the year. At any given point, I have a few races set in stone with a select group waiting in the wings, either because I haven’t registered or because they have yet to graduate from “flight of fancy” to “official commitment.” However, this year I am very confident that it has been completely mapped out through November.
The reason for my confidence actually stems from a comment Otter made to me a few days ago. He said that (almost) every race on his radar has a purpose. I looked at my own race calendar and had a similar epiphany. With a few exceptions, the big races on my schedule were meaningful stepping stones of some sort, which made it easier to ink these events into my otherwise palimpsest of a calendar. Though I haven’t officially registered for all of these, I decided to at least publish the schedule to keep me from flaking out on any of them. And so, with great excitement and hope that I encounter no sudden injuries, this is the path that 2013 will take:
The Disney World Marathon was supposed to end my marathon-a-month streak and mark the beginning of my ultra regimen. However, on something of a whim, I decided to go for the Rock ‘n Roll New Orleans Marathon. If you’ve been following my adventures, you’ll find this choice of race a bit odd. True, I’m not the biggest cheerleader for Competitor’s RNR series, but I refuse to run Louisiana in any other city and this is its only marathon. The timing for this event wasn’t entirely whimsical though. It has not escaped my notice that every marathon I’ve run since Des Moines has been slower than the previous. Perhaps spacing them so close together has made it so I’m never fresh enough for a faster time. So this will be my last shot at a fast marathon for a long time.
I first saw the Paleozoic Trail Run on ultrarunner Jeff’s blog. While the signature event is a 50k, the shorter 25k option looked like a great race to test our trail skills leading up to longer races. I sent a link to Otter and he showed great interest, signing up almost immediately. I was surprised at his enthusiasm, given that he has a loose rule about never signing up for inaugural races. But here’s something intriguing, if not intimidating about their tagline: “Finish or Fossilize” which written on a T-Shirt is alone worth the registration fee. Located just thirty minutes southwest of Chicago, it’s an easy race to reach and will surely give us a taste of the challenges to come later in the year.
I originally wanted to run the NC Half Marathon in 2012 to continue a series of races that all had race tracks (Pomona Raceway, Kentucky Derby’s Churchill Downs and the Indianapolis 500) but airfare was unusually expensive and nobody else seemed interested. So I tabled the race for 2013. As of this writing, a group of 5 of us are registered and ready to start our engines. While this race isn’t a building block of any kind, it will be the first half marathon I run since August and the last on my calendar for quite some time. In other words, it’s my last shot at a fast half (perhaps even a PR), possibly until 2014. Posting a record time will depend on the weather, but North Carolina can expect a bloodthirsty performance from me regardless.
You can’t run a marathon in Kansas without it having some theme related to the Wizard of Oz. Held three weeks before my first 50k race, I decided to use the Garmin Marathon in the Land of Oz as a training run. By this point I will have spent a lot of time on trails and will simply want to strengthen my legs and steel my stomach. My goal for this race will therefore be to run conservatively, practice my food intake and finish comfortably (in other words, avoid throwing up).
The Ice Age Trail Runs include a 50-miler and two shorter distances, a 50K and a half marathon. In order to continue training for a much longer event later in the year, Otter and I decided to sign up for the Ice Age Trail 50k as our first venture past the 26.2-mile barrier (and no, I’m not counting his 26.5-mile Route 66 Marathon as an ultra, no matter how pedantically he tries to suggest it). Running this will be similar to my first marathon; the next big event, the one where once again I’ll be unsure of the outcome and all excitement is slathered with a thick layer of trepidation. While pictures from the event look gorgeous, I’m sure my face afterward will be far from comely. It will be the single hardest race I’ve ever run. That is, until …
… this guy. I still don’t know how an undertaking as massive as running fifty consecutive miles could start with something as simple as a webchat at work. You’d expect things like this to happen after a bear with a broadsword orders you to do it or if a band of marauders captures your children and leaves them fifty miles away, hungry and afraid. But somehow I found myself receiving an email saying I was registered for the North Country Run 50-Miler, wondering how it was possible that I had signed up. 50-milers are for crazy people and I just run marathons. In fact, I still can’t truly process what this is going to be like, but it will likely change me, for better or worse. Given its date, there’s a good chance it’ll be warm and humid, so I’ll have to double-down on training and nutrition to ensure that I don’t donate my body to the dirt beneath the Manistee National Forest.
This marathon isn’t a milestone of any sort by itself (besides being my first in the state). In order to understand its significance in this story, you have to move to the next race.
I doubled-up on half marathons in 2012, which meant that it was only a matter of time before I tried the same with the full distance. Just like the North Country Run, it started off as a suggestion, which grew into an idea and finally became a commitment. Given the distance, I will have to practice both steady discipline and measured food intake in order to successfully complete both races without hating myself too much. There will be additional challenges, such as avoiding atrophy on the drive between cities and eating enough to both replenish and restock.
Assuming that I survive everything so far, I’m aiming to run the Philadelphia Marathon because … well, because I want to. It’s not part of a greater plan nor is it supposed to teach me anything. It’s simply because after all the year’s meticulous orchestrations, I want to run something simply because I want to. Isn’t that why we run in the first place?
Given that I haven’t signed up for all of these, there’s still a very real chance that this schedule may change. However, I’ll do everything possible to stick with it and hold myself accountable.
But more importantly, I’ll need advice from all experienced runners on trail running, nutrition and doubling-up. I’m going to face these challenges directly with little but intuition and my “stick-to-itiveness” as my wife once noted, but I will definitely need as many tips and tricks as possible. All insight and anecdotes will be appreciated.