Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Orcas Island 50K: a half-ass effort

I went into Orcas not having any expectations. I thought I could have a solid run, or I could be tired, but didn't think at all about goals or strategy. The gun went off and I set out with the intention to run hard, but about a mile into it on Saturday, I pulled back for reasons that are kind of hard to explain. I just had zero desire to have a stressful day, and opted for a long hard effort rather than race.  It took me about a third of the race to really get out of my "I would rather extract my toenails than race today" funk as I trudged up hills I would typically run in training, but really did enjoy most of the middle miles and end. Sometimes I worry too much about what others around me are doing, and would be better suited to escape into my own head and pretend I'm alone out there. If nothing else, it was a good training run, and a good early-season reminder of the voices in my head that need to be silenced. Confidence is key, and some days I have none.
The top of the last big climb: Mt. Constitution. Photo by Glenn Tachiyama.
Orcas is a beautiful course, and we were given a beautiful day to run--sun in the San Juans in February, with amazing old growth forest and views.  One thing you can always be guaranteed in a Rainshadow Running Event is that there will be no shortage of steep long climbs. James definitely delivered on a great course, with a really enjoyable post-race party. Great music, great food, great friends. I'll work on getting my head out of my ass for the next race, or rather, maybe inserting my head into my ass to focus on my efforts and not external things I can't control. And really, how can someone complain about a day on trail with views like these?
Views from Orcas.  Photo by Glenn

Friday, February 3, 2012

Making plans for 2012

I started an entry a couple of weeks ago about how much 2012 had sucked thus far, but it was so negative I didn't publish it.  To sum it up: 4 week cough, car accident, asshole, stolen wallet and keys....I think that's about it.  But things don't always get worse, and in the past week or so, things have been pretty darn good.  2012 running plans are shaping up well, and I guess I should consider myself pretty damn fortunate to be running the races I get to run.  Some of the high points:  I found out last week that I am definitely on the USA 100K team for the World Championships in Italy in April, I bit the bullet and submitted my Comrades entry, and I made it through the UTMB lottery.  My schedule may just kick my ass or cripple me, and parts of it might be ill-advised (Comrades 3 weeks out from Western States), but it'll be fun if it all works out.

Feb 4, Orcas Island 50K
My birthday is the day after, and what better way to celebrate a birthday than on the sunny San Juan Islands in February?

Feb 25, Ray Miller 50 miler
Squeezing this one in on the back end of a two-week work trip to Nairobi.  I may be well tapered unintentionally as training in Nairobi sucks.

April 22, World 100K Championship
We've got a great (and fun) team and I'm really excited for this one.  Break out the bunhuggers! The race is a 20K loop x 5 through the streets of Seregno, Italy (near Milan), which sounds slightly more fun than a 10K loop run 10 times. I'm looking to break into the top 7 (OK, a wee bit random) after an 11th place finish in 2011, and to help the US women bring home the gold.  Time to get this butt into bunhugger shape.

June 3, Comrades Marathon
It's a downhill year, and after going uphill last year, I just can't say no, despite the fact that it's expensive as heck to get there, and is only 3 weeks before Western States.  It'll either be the perfect final quad trashing, or it'll completely trash my quads for WS, but it's gonna be fun.  I was only in South Africa for 3 days last year surrounding the race, as I was squeezing it in during a work trip, so look forward to spending a few more days this year, although it'll still be a quick trip.

June 24, Western States
Excited to be back at WS. Training for this one will not be ideal with Worlds and Comrades as the build-up, but I'll continue to do a fair amount of my miles on trails and spend some time climbing through the spring.

July 28 TBD 50 miler
Likely White River, as it's got more climbing than the Mt. Hood 50.  They're both relatively local. I've done them both and they're both great events.

Aug 31, UTMB
I'd like to call this my focus, but I kinda suck at climbing, so this one could suck royally.  I do love going down, and this has got equal parts of both, and I'm really looking forward to the views. It sounds like this one turns into one royal suffer-fest for most, and I look forward to experiencing what seems to be quite different than what I'm used to.

I'm not sure after UTMB, but will figure it out as I go along. Maybe a break. With trips for Worlds, Comrades, and UTMB and a few days thrown in there for States, I'll be staying close to home after August as my vacation days, while generous, will only support so many of these things.

It's going to be a fun year!  Although I have to say it all looks a bit overwhelming.  And training specificity is getting thrown out the window (not that I ever pay much attention to it) because these events run the gamut in terms of types of races (flat road to steep trail).  Let the fun begin!