Wednesday, February 27, 2013

2013: Remaining Elite (but just on airplanes)

2013 is shaping up to include as much if not more travel than 2012, and my elite airline statuses looks to remain unthreatened. While I strongly dislike the term "elite" when it comes to over-usage in the ultrarunning world, I do love the use of it and my inclusion under it when talking about airlines. I missed platinum by peanuts in 2012 due to poor planning on my part--2013 is going platinum, baby.  International travel in 2012 included 3 work trips (Kenya, Istanbul and Iraq) and 2 running trips (Italy/Worlds and France/UTMB), and 2013 looks similar with at least 2 work-related trips (Ethiopia already in January and Istanbul coming in April) and 3 running trips (Japan/100K, France/UTMB and South Africa/Worlds). Here's hoping my elite status earns me an upgrade or 2...

Running near Sulaynamiyah, Iraq in December. Not a bad place for a long Saturday morning run.
2012 was a good one for me, and I was honored to be included in the Ultrarunning Magazine rankings for Runner of the Year (much higher than I would have expected, especially when looking at the names further down the list):  

But, I guess due entirely to the performance of the year rankings, where I was honored, again, to be listed among Ellie's great races, and Connie's 24 hour American record performance:

I was pleasantly surprised to come in 3rd in the IAU yearly rankings, behind Kudo who won the 24 hour championships and set a world's best performance in 2012. 


Mami Kudo (JPN): 25.0%
Michaela Dimitriadu (CZE): 24.8%
Amy Sproston (USA): 17.7%

Moving on to 2013, my schedule, to which I may add a short race here or there, but is fairly concrete on the long-run front, assuming I don't fall off any more cliffs (wee accident in January) and avoid fatal airplane-induced emboli, includes:

Ray Miller 50 mile, 2/5/13: Done!--1st F in the 50 mile--blog post coming next... 

Early on during the Ray Miller 50. A great early season event, and one that I plan to hit again in 2014.
Lake Sonoma 50 mile, 4/13/13: This one looks to be more competitive than Western States. I had planned to run this 2 years ago when it was cancelled due to rain, and last year's race conflicted with Worlds, so happy to finally have a chance to run this one.

Tokyo Shibamata 100K, Japan, 6/1/13: Super excited about this one. I was invited by the RD, and couldn't pass up a trip to Japan. Japan is somewhere I've never been, and has been on my list. I've never raced a 100K on roads outside of Worlds, so we'll see how it goes.  It's supposed to be a flat out-and-back course near Tokyo. Most of the course/race information is in Japanese, so that's my take on it, anyhow. Meghan A. is going, as well, which is awesome, as it'll be fun to explore this new-to-me part of the world with a great friend.  The RD expects 2000 runners in the 100K, so should be interesting/competitive/fun.  The Japanese women are always very competitive in the IAU World Championship events, and I'd expect we'll see that here.

Western States 100, 6/28/13: 3rd year in a row. I've been 8th the past two years.  We'll see if F8 is my fate. With the depth of talent in 2013's race, I honestly wouldn't be crushed if that was the case, although I'd like to feel like I had a good race at WS from start to closer-to-the-finish, and be able to sprint around that track.  I'd really like to see an 18:30 at WS (19:11 last year).  
Really hoping that 2013 brings "normal" weather conditions to both WS and UTMB. Heading up the Escarpment in 2012, in odd freezing conditions for WS.
White River 50 mile, 7/28/13: One of those races I loved when I first/last ran it, but just haven't made it back to. This year I'm putting it on the calendar early, so as to not miss it again.  Great climbs in a beautiful part of Washington--should be great training for UTMB.  

UTMB, Chamonix, France, 8/31/13: All I can say, is that we better make it around that damn mountain. This will be a focus of my summer.

Meghan and I scouting the course pre-UTMB (we weren't actually on the course, but didn't know it at the time). 
World 100K Championship, Durban, South Africa, late Oct/early Nov: You know, I don't even know what to say about this one. John Medinger recently commented on a FB post about Durban being a great place for me to go to defend my title. I don't like pressure, and there normally would not be any pressure on me, and I'd guess that even as the returning champ there won't be much pressure on me, assuming that some other individuals show up to defend past crowns. Regardless, I'm looking forward to going back to Durban, as I've also been meaning to return to Comrades (which starts/finishes in Durban), but haven't been able to squeeze it in (and am really looking to run the downhill version of Comrades, so maybe going back to Durban will influence me to sign up for the downhill Comrades in 2014). In the meantime, the World Championship course will likely be something entirely different, about which we don't yet know the details, but Durban is a great beach town, and will be a fun destination race come late October/early November. 

Team USA will be looking to defend our title in 2013. A great group of women with whom I can't wait to don the USA jerseys again in Durban.
I've been training with some faster marathon types and doing more marathon-paced (faster) runs, and might try to jump into a half marathon here and there to work on speed, but in terms of ultras that's probably my year, as all of my vacation days will be tapped. Although if I'm not completely burned out, and time allows, a December trip to Hellgate 100K+ or TNF in SF might be in the cards.  

I'm other news, I'm excited to continue with the Montrail/Mountain Hardwear team for 2013, and will also continue to be supported by ClifBar and Nuun. New for me in 2013 I will be racing as part of Team Injinji, as well.  While initially nervous to make the switch (I'd been wearing DryMax for a couple of years, and had OK luck, but have always struggled with trashed feet, especially my long toe), I have to say that I've been thrilled with my Injinjis thus far, and suddenly have all of my toenails for the first time in 6 years of ultrarunning.  Pretty darn exciting.  That second toe (pointer toe?) is even almost starting to grow a normal nail.  For years it has sort of regrown, only to be knocked on its butt in every ultra/long run.  Soon, the pedicurists may not even realize I'm a freak. 

All in all, I've got to say that I'm psyched to be supported by my generous sponsors, motivated by my awesome running buddies, and loved by friends and family, and feel really fortunate for all of the opportunities that await in 2013.  It's going to be another busy, but hopefully really fun, rewarding, and enlightening year.