Wednesday, March 12, 2014

2014 Plans: Masters Running

I keep thinking about ditching this blog, while alternating with plans to continue writing more frequently. Maybe the key is to just write shorter posts. Because lately I've been too distracted to write in entire sentences, let alone paragraphs or stories. But there are a couple loyal blog followers (mom and Vicki) that keep requesting that I update this, so I'm hoping to catch up the last 6 months in the next few blog posts. A lot has happened since UTMB. There was a super fun trip to Japan in October for a kinda crazy and tough 71 Km MHW-sponsored race called the Hasetsune Cup. I still plan to write up a little something on that one. It was awesomely tough. January and February involved a hectic travel schedule, for a combination of pleasure (Sedona), work (Brazil), and more pleasure (Chile), including a race (El Cruce Columbia), and during which I turned 40--more to come on the race in Chile in a future post. The 3-week non-stop trip was both fun, and exhausting, and I scored almost 50,000 airline miles in the process. Funny how when you fly a lot, you get a lot of miles, but then don't really either need or want to use them. 

Every day a little closer to becoming a crazy cat lady. Here's Ella, a post-run recovery nap specialist. 
Turning 40 has stressed me out since I was about 12, but it was relatively painless, and I never have to worry about it again. And life does indeed seem to be getting better and better, so all of those 40+ folks who say it gets better after 40 aren't just making crap up. Funny how daunting a number can seem and passing it just feels like a relief. Much of my anxiety revolved around the fact that if you boil it all down, I am an unmarried 40-year-old female living in Portland with 2 adorable cats (and the desire for a few more). Crazy-cat-lady-dom is staring at me in the face, and I want to both embrace it and run screaming. Some anxiety also comes from the fact that I'm about to get really old and really slow. I realize it's not going to happen overnight, but it's inevitable for all of us. And while I plan to age gracefully, I plan to do a little kicking and screaming on the way, as I've got some goals to achieve before I really slow down. And many women have proven that you can actually get faster at 40 and beyond. In the spirit of keeping this short...on to 2014 races and goals.

Hanging out on my 40th birthday with mountain running superstars Marco de Gasperi and Emma Roca in a rustic local hot spring in Chile. Not a bad way to spend the day.
Feb 7-9: El Cruce Columbia 2014. A 3-day stage race through Chilean Patagonia, starting near Puerto Varas, Chile (blog post coming soon). 

The scenery from the final day of El Cruce. Not a bad way to celebrate the big 4-0. 
Feb 22: Buck Mountain Mudslinger 6.5 mile Trail Race. Not something I was planning to do; I decided to join friends who were going. Shortest race I've done in 20 years. A fun course at Silver Falls State Park, with a nice combo of big hills and mud. 1st Female in 52:18, which is not a fast time for the course, but a good winter workout and fun to get out of my comfort zone and run something short without getting angst-ridden about it. Fun to run a race where you spend more time drinking beer than you do running. 

April 12: Patagonia Run 100K, San Martin de los Andes, Argentina. I had originally signed up for Lake Sonoma, but I could not pass up the opportunity for another trip to Patagonia, this time for a longer race in another spot I've visited years ago, and would love to see again, this time on foot. I lived in Paraguay for 3+ years back in the day and have traveled extensively in South America, but not in the past 6 years or so, and really loved being back down there in February. I appreciate that there is a very short window in my life where I will be invited to run in beautiful places, so plan to take full advantage of opportunities when they arise. I'm really excited about this one.

June 1: Comrades Marathon (89K), from Peitermaritzburg to Durban, South Africa. Comrades is the largest ultramarathon in the world, with close to 18,000 entrants. I'm excited for a down year this year. I ran the up year a few years back while in Africa for work, and struggled a bit with multiple bathroom stops for a 7:34 21st place (F) finish. It's always a hugely competitive field, as the prize money attracts a lot of top runners. I am going for a top 10 finish, which historically, would mean a sub-7 hour race. In a down year, roughly, the first 50K is big rolling hills, and then it's more or less downhill the last 40K. It'll either thoroughly trash my quads in preparation for WS or get them primed and ready to go.

June 28: Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run. This will be my 4th year running Western States. I've been 8th, 8th, and 3rd, last year, and my times from the past 3 years have been within a 25 minute window. Last year was arguably my best year, but I'd like to improve upon my 19:11 PR there, and hope to get in around 18:30. 

August 9: Angels Staircase 60K. The course looks beautiful and tough and Rainshadow Running events are always a ton of fun. This will be good preparation for whatever mountain adventures I plan for late August through October.

(PACING) August 16: Leadville 100. I had a great time hanging out with Emma Roca all week at El Cruce Columbia, and my current plan is to pace her for at least part of her race. I've never been to Leadville, so am curious to watch it all go down. Hopefully they'll resolve some recent race management issues, and it will return to its former glory. 

November 28: IAU World 100K Championships in Doha, Qatar. The race location was just announced this week, after the original plan for an August 31 race in Latvia fell through last month. I would have loved to have gone back to UTMB this year, but did not sign up because of the timing of the World 100K (initially on the same day). The November date frees up my summer schedule, and so July-October are still a bit up in the air. I won't know if I make the 100K team until early June, and that will then shape the rest of my year. If I make the team, I plan to spend Thanksgiving in Doha. 

Memories from the 2012 World Championship in Italy. Here's hoping the race happens (and that I get to run it), and that we create a similar outcome. 
On the sponsor front, I'm happy to be continuing on with Montrail, Mountain Hardwear, Clif Bar, Injinji, and Nuun. All great products and ones that I both love and use, to keep me running, clothed, shod, energized and hydrated. And I'm really happy to be joining the Flora team this year, as they make great products and ones that I use on a daily basis to keep me healthy and running. 

So as not to play favorites...the other half of Sam and Ella. Sam, ball fetcher extraordinaire, hanging out in one of her many favorite boxes. Sam would also like to thank my sponsors for keeping her life filled with boxes. 


Olga said...

Wow, a blog post! I, for one, keep coming here as well:) Your year as travel goes always look fantastic. And it's too early to talk about slowing down, so keep on screaming and kicking! I hope to catch up with you one day (not to catch up you, but I made peace with it, it was never going to happen anyway, and now I can't even do an easy slog in the park with you). Keep sharing the photos from the places you go to!

ultrarunnergirl said...

Add me to the list of loyal blog stalkers! So glad to see you posting. I agree, sometimes you just need to throw a post up, whether it is a race report or a mood report or just a new idea you want to explore.

Love you Amy!

Alicia Hudelson said...

I like your blog too, please keep writing!

That is one adorable cat, by the way.

Gretchen said...

I, too, alternate between "I'm going to write more!" and "Let's just abandon this whole blog thing ..." Hoping for the former for both of us. I also passed the 40 mark this year as well and feel much the way you do about it. It was somehow harder being 39 and feeling it creep up on you than it was to become 40 and realize not much has changed. Some things still weigh on me, but alas, that's life.

Sorry I'll miss you at Sonoma, but I wouldn't pass up that opportunity either! I am dying to do a trail running vacation in Patagonia.

Looks like an awesome season, Amy. Good luck, and I hope our trails cross somewhere along the way!

Anonymous said...

Love your blog, long posts or short, so thanks for posting!
Also a local veterinarian, so if you need another cat to further your crazy cat-ladydom, I could facilitate that ;) I have five of my own...and two're still underpopulated as far as most crazy cat ladies go!

Mom said...

Thank you. We will miss you at Thanksgiving but we always do.

Love, Mom

Anonymous said...

I am a reader/lurker who really enjoys your blog. And enough with crazy cat lady stereotypes. No one calls single men with dogs crazy dog guys. I hope you keep writing and have a great year.

Shining Speidel said...

Amy! Welcome to the Masters world :-) I have a feeling you will find peace, serenity, and faster times in the 40s. I did! And, I know what you mean about blogging. I'm having trouble staying motivated with mine as well. I love to read about your adventures, so know that you do have a loyal follower in me! Best wishes for a wonderful year of racing. Xox

llbitar said...


I had this blog conversation with your Mom not too long ago....I check it often and love to find a new post. My vote (do I get one?) is to keep writing!


Anonymous said...

Don't stop blogging Amy- this is one of the best running blogs out there, always honest, often funny. I enjoy reading about your international running adventures- ours is a global sport and i think you blog helps highlight that. 'Everyone runs in the same language'.
- An International Follower

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