Oh what to do, what to do? It’s a good problem to have, don’t get me wrong but when you’re faced with all these incredible races and other opportunities a running career can seem rather short. How to you get it all in? I’ll be the first to admit that I lead a “charmed life”, as my mother would say, and have done a huge amount in the years that I’ve had. Every opportunity I’m given I’m thankful for and never take for granted what I’ve been able to accomplish. Live every day like it’s your last, as the saying goes.
But this creates another problem, if you’ll allow me to whine just for a minute, trying to do too much and trying to tackle every opportunity that comes along. This is the first year that I’ve really been hit by that realization and it shows in race results throughout the year. Success breeds success, until it doesn’t. The past few years has seen an escalation of high caliber races pop up on the calendar, a deeper base of very competitive runners, and my own short sightedness of trying to run every single big race I could get into. From disappointing finishes at Endurance Challenge 50miler to finish off the year, to Speedgoat 50k where I could have sworn that I was in better shape than last year andthosepoleswheregoingtohelpmerununder5hrs.
Each and every year has been a learning experience for me in some form or another. This past year I think it’s the realization that the longer big mountain races just aren’t for me. Focusing on “flattish”, more runnable courses have traditionally been stronger resulting in better performances and better finishes when my (track guys hold back your laughter) speed can be utilized more. It’s a tough pill to swallow because I think the grandeur and romance behind the long big mountain races is alluring and definitely has a big draw for me from an aesthetic point of view.
I didn’t even run that many ultras this year but my body feels otherwise. Compared to some guys out there (Sharman, Krar, and Clarky) I barely even ran an ultra, but the accumulation of years of miles felt like it finally hit me so I did something I haven’t done in 8yrs and took an extended break the past 6wks with another 1 or 2 wks to go. It will be good for the body but I do miss running and being able to get out and click off 20 miles of beautiful mountain singletrack. At least that’s a good sign after all these years. Hopefully the added pounds and healing joints will bode well for this coming year.
So, without further ado, the “very” tentative race schedule for 2014. As you’ll notice, I have totally taken my own advice and focused on…not focusing. I have narrowed my races to a very small window that includes the sport of running. You know, why place limits on your dreams.
Atlas Race SoCal Temecula, CA 22-Feb
HillBilly Half Marathon Olympia, WA 8-Mar
Chuckanut 50k Bellingham, WA 15-Mar
Desfasio De Cumbre Chile 4-Apr
Lake Sonoma 50 Healdsburg, CA 12-Apr
Lost Creek Lake Trail Run Lost Creek, OR 26-Apr
Atlas Race SoCal San Diego, CA 10-May
Western States Training Auburn, CA 24-May
Atlas Race Seattle Seattle, WA 7-Jun
Teva Games Vail, CO Jun 6-9
Western States Auburn, CA 28-Jun
Atlas Race Portland Portland, OR 12-Jul
Steens Mountain Running Camp Steens Mountain Jul 13-26
Revelstoke TrailStoke Revelstoke, BC 19-Jul
Siskiyou OutBack 50k Ashland, OR 26-Jul
OR Show SLC, UT 3-Aug
Atlas Race Boise Boise, ID 16-Aug
Chute du Diable Canada 30-Aug
Warrior Dash Oregon 6-Sep
Atlas Race Medford Medford, OR 13-Sep
Flagline 50k Bend, OR 22-Sep
Xterra National Championships Odgen, UT 22-Sep
Lake Padden Half Bellingham, WA 18-Oct
Warrior Dash Esparto, CA 18-Oct
Canyon de Chelly Navajo Res, AZ 11-Oct
The Running Event Austin, TX Dec 3-7
TNF 50 Miler San Fransisco, CA 8-Dec
USATF Club XC Championships Bethlehem, PA 13-Dec
That’s a lot of races you say? Well, sure. But I did try to make some thoughtful decisions about which races to focus on. As for the big mountain races, will you still see some of those races on the calendar? Yeah, probably. They’re fun, beautiful, and make me a better runner in the long run. Pun intended.
Chuckanut? Again? Really? Yes really, hoping the third times a charm. That win has eluded me the past two years and I intend on running up to my potential one of these times. Argh!
You see some Obstacle Races in there as well? Yup, it’s still running right. If you think it’s a joke, you’ve got to try one first. It’s the most fun I’ve had on two feet in a long time.
And a 100 miler? If I can gain a Montrail Ultra Cup spot then this may be the year to go for it. I’ve been sitting on the couch for a month trying to build up my fat stores just for this occasion. Lets hope they haven’t run out by June.
Focusing too narrowly never got me to far in the past and I’m sticking to that. On the flip side, 2013 was a good lesson in not focusing enough and trying to be at a high level in too many different distances. A goal going forward will once again be shorter trail races with a few ultras scattered around but with a better thought out plan like this spring and deciding what to really focus training towards.
Yes, there are a lot of races to do in a lifetime. I’m just hoping that I can begin to scratch the surface of my bucket list. There are still big goal races such as Comrades, Copper Canyon Ultramarathon, and the 2016 Olympic Trials down the road to prepare for.