Yesterday (actually, early this morning) I talked about not having a solid race schedule for 2011. I still don't have a solid one, but I have a lot of options weighing on my mind and often if I write a little about it, I will come closer to a finality. For a couple of years now, I have told myself that once I ran my last cross country race my senior year, which I did in November, I will completely focus on ultra-running. This is probably what will end up happening for this year, but I have thoughts about racing a little track this spring as well. Here are some options for myself.....
For Sure Races I Will be Running:
Since this won't conflict with track races if I DO decide to do any, I will be doing a couple 50k's early in the year. They are easy to travel to and I know the courses. This early in the year, it is hard to find a big ultra to do, besides maybe Bandara and HURT, but those would require extensive traveling arrangements, something I can't do right now. Even if they are small 50k's, it will be good experience and a fun time of running.
Jan. 8: Last January I ran the Frozen Sasquatch 25k and this year I will be doing the full 50k. Since I won the 25k, I am able to race for free this year which is always good, and there are a lot of nice people from the Kanawha area that are good hosts. The course is challenging and if there is snow on the ground again, it will be a fun adventure.
Feb. 12: I also did the shorter version of the 50k at the Louisville Lovin' the Hills race last year and will more than likely do the full 50k this year. It is a close enough drive from school, just like the Frozen Sasquatch, and these will be good little experience races, since I have still only ran one ultra.
The ALL ULTRA Possibilities:
Like I said, this will probably be the way I go with racing. I go in and out with urges to run any track races in the Spring.
March 12: One race that I could possibly consider running is the Land Between the Lakes 50 Mile. A couple of years ago I looked on the map and saw this area of land situated between two big lakes and ever since I have been interested. Then, I started hearing more about it and even that they had a race in the area.
March 5: If I do not do Land Between the Lakes, it means that I decide to do the Nueces 50 Mile Endurance Trail Run. I found out about this race a couple of weeks ago because it is this years USATF 50 Mile Trail Championship. It is in Texas and is inconveniently a weekend before Spring Break but there is some money involved and it would be nice to go to Texas, I have never been there. I will keep an eye on this option for sure.
Since I will most likely be doing a 50 mile in March, I will need a little time to recover, if I react the same way as I did after TNF EC. April will probably be a month of no racing.
May 7: The North Face 50 Mile Regional - Bear Mt., NY.
June 4: The North Face 50 Mile Regional - Washington D.C.
I plan on doing one of the North Faces regional races sometime this year. They are all a lot closer to me than the one in San Fran.!
July 30: Burning River 100 Mile Endurance Run. This is the one race that I will be looking forward to the most, regardless if I run track or not. Even if I do run track, my training will be good enough to do this 100 mile race. This is also a USATF Championship race. 100 miles seems scary right now, but I am really looking forward to getting into my first one. Plus, the course is in Ohio and probably less than a four hour drive. That means I could spend a couple weekends getting to know the course. That is of course, if I am still living in Ohio by then. After graduation in May, I'm not sure where I will be.
After July: After the 100, I will see how recovery goes and decide on if I will race in the remainder of the year. This all seems so far away right now, but it's fun thinking about it. There are still the three remaining North Face races after July 30th and many, many, many 50 mi. or 50k's.
The TRACK Possibilities:
If I decide to do track races I want to really nail it. I will have a big base coming in and I have a good idea of what I would want my training to mimic, which is the basic schedule of my cross country training last summer through fall.
-From the time I started training for cross country last summer, it was 21 weeks until the All-Ohio Race, which was my best race of the year. There was only 8 weeks of work-outs, the time before was pure mileage and one little summer road race.
-From when I felt recuperated after the 50 miler in December until April 8th, it is exactly 21 weeks as well, and also the date of the Duke 10k, which I did last year and was my best and favorite track race of my career.
-If I would not do that race, I would go to April 29th and run the Hillsdale Gina Relays 10k, only if I could get into the elite race at night, which I would have no problem doing I imagine.
-I would not do any workouts until 8 weeks before but really hammer in those 8 weeks. From now until then, I would simply run a lot of miles as I did all last summer. I do not think the two 50k's in early January and February will hurt me any.
-Based on timing, I think the Gina Relays would work better for me. That means 8 weeks before the race would be March 7th and I would adapt cross country workouts and track workouts from 2010 and go from there.
-Along with workouts, I would do a couple other races in the midst of those 8 weeks, and I know I can find a fast 5k that would fit my schedule.
So in reality, if I am not fooling myself, it would only take 8 weeks out of my schedule and eliminate a couple of the Ultra's I am planning on. Pending on what the SSU team is doing, I could do some fast workouts with them and even travel to the races with them. I am not an expert in training for a fast 10k but with my race experience and confidence, I think I can PR. Eric Putnam has taught me so much in my four years at SSU and I know his training mixed with my mileage has produced results in the past.
Things are bound to change throughout the year but at least I have all my options covered and whichever I choose, I will be happy with. As the semester of school begins and we get closer to the dates, I will surely make a final decision.