It took me 6 weeks but I'm finally feeling ready to take on 2012 and I'm excited about my running plans. I wanted this year to be about getting back to the trails more consistently and building my base. I thought I might not race as much as I often have in the past. But you know what? Racing is FUN. So last weekend I found myself building my schedule and registered for four of my planned races that were open. Here's how my schedule looks month by month:
No races this month. Hagg 50k is tomorrow. As of last week it still had a few open slots and I briefly considered toeing the line. But I really don't like this race that much and feel like I earned my trail cred in 2007 when it poured cold rain the whole time. I'm glad I came to my senses because it's been raining for the past 48 hours and it looks like the weather will be just like 2007.
I'm in for Pacific Rim One Day in mid March. This is a tradition and one of the last races that the Little Guy gladly attends. If I don't run I'd feel obligated to volunteer, so run it will be! The LG will come along to take pictures and keep the Wildman in line. The next weekend after that I'll volunteer at Rainshadow Running's Gorge Waterfalls 50k. Last year I worked the 20 mile aid station. This year I asked to be at the finish so I can see everyone come in and join in the party. Then the weekend after that I'm crewing for some friends at the Badger Mountain Challenge 100M in Washington.
I really wanted to run the Peterson Ridge Rumble 40M this year. I had to DNS in 2008 so this is one I really want to do eventually. But it's on a weekend that isn't good for me to travel out of town. So instead, I'm staying local and running the Vernonia Marathon. It's on pavement, but rails to trails, and is supposed to be very pretty.
In May I'm going back to the McDonald Forest 50k, which I last completed in 2007. I want to work on improving my hill running and this one fits the bill. And it's the quintessential Oregon Trail Series race. We'll also make a trip out to Central Oregon for the Pole, Pedal, Paddle relay. Two years ago Marc and I were on a full team -- Marc did the nordic ski leg and the sprint and I did the 5 mile run. Last year Marc was on a two person team with his buddy - he did the bike, run and the sprint. They came in 2nd in the old guy age group, missing first by just 29 seconds. This year he plans to solo the race so will sprint uphill in the snow, then alpine ski, nordic ski, bike, run, kayak and sprint. The LG and I will crew. It should be a lot of fun!
June will be a big month. The first weekend I've registered for the Timberline Marathon. I ran this in 2007 when it still started at Timberline Lodge and finished at the Clackamas Lake Ranger Station. With changes in the laws governing races on Wilderness lands, it now starts at the ranger station and loops twice around Timothy Lake. It will be a nice opportunity to run on some of the same trails as the Mt Hood 50M. The next weekend I succumbed to a half price deal and signed up for the Helvetia Half Marathon in the countryside west of Portland. I haven't run a half since 2006, but this race (on a different course) was my first ever half in 2001. It's on pavement but hilly so will be good training too. The following weekend I've registered for yet another half, the White Salmon Backyard Half on the Washington side of the Gorge. More hills! Then the next day on that same weekend I plan to run the Beacon Rock 50k, also on the Washington side of the Gorge. Last year I ran the 25k and that was plenty. Hopefully I'm up to the challenge of the 50k this year.
On July 7th I plan to run the Grey Rock 50k outside of Yakima, WA. It has -- you guessed it -- a lot of killer hills. It's a small race and last year there were no women finishers. I could win a race like that! ;-) I'd consider the Siskiyou Outback 50k the next weekend, but I think it may be too close to the Mt Hood 50M, which is the last weekend in July. At Mt Hood this year I hope to get closer to an 11 hour finish. I think I can do it. Considering my lack of training last year I have a lot of room for improvement. The campsite has been reserved and the boys are already looking forward to making this annual trip. Also this month Marc will likely do the Xterra LaGrande off road triathlon, which will be another fun family trip.
All this talk of hills can only mean one thing.......yes, my mid year goal race is the Waldo 100k! I'm scared and excited at the same time. Registration opens March 1st and I plan to sign up right away before I change my mind. I hope with my race choices and smart training I'll be prepared. Aside from the distance and tough climbs, I know that the elevation will be a challenge for me. In early August I plan to spend a lot of time up on Mt Hood and perhaps some of the other Cascade peaks to get some acclimatization. If Marc can do it, I can, right?
Sept and beyond
If I survive Waldo I'll take stock and consider Across the Years 72 hour. That race really beats me up but I love it so. If I do it again, next year I will definitely take ALL of January off. This year I got nervous and started back a little early, probably two weeks before I should have. But I've discovered as I've eased back into training that my aerobic capacity is really high. Completing 131 miles and then taking time for recovery resulted in a pretty good training effect.
I'm really happy and excited about what's ahead this year. I feel like I have a good balance of races with room for some fun training adventures and last minute entries. (And maybe some house projects and chores...haha!) I can't wait!