Well, I took the plunge last week and signed up for some races in 2012. Seeing as I have technically lived the 'dream' and been to Europe for the Transalpine Race this year, I wanted to set some goals that would still challenge me and more importantly inspire me to a similar training year as this one. When I look back at my season, what really stands out to me is all the amazing training runs I did, people I trained with, PACE workouts I was motivated to create for my athletes and overall sweet, sweet, memories that were created while out on the trails.
So I have decided to run 6 ultras (50k) in 6 months. Starting with Chuckanut in March. I have ran the Chuckanut a couple times already and I know, for me, it is a good season starter. A way to stretch the legs, endurance and take my fitness up a notch heading into spring. It has never been my 'best' work as far as speed is concerned. It's a tough one to train for because it is so early in the season, however it's a nice ultra to set the pace and simply finish with 50k under your belt.
I am pretty excited (and a little nervous) to tackle the Yakima Skyline Run. This race takes place in April, in Washington. The kicker is that it has double the elevation gain as Chuckanut. So the ol' 'fake it till you make it' strategy won't work here. Even if you're tough, there is more potential to injury yourself or have prolonged recovery time which ultimately takes away from why we race in the first place... because we love to run! My plan is to shift focus early this winter and start building more elevation before Chuckanut because I won't have time in between races and the 5000 feet in Chuckanut won't cut it. So this will be a challenge in itself, because it is still fairly early in the season and I foresee some cold, snowy, long and slow climbing days in my future ;)
May is a no brainer! Sun Mountain in Winthrop is where it's at. I can't talk enough about the event that James Varner from Rainshadow running puts on. I anticipate a large group from Kelowna next year, will also attend. The buzz is out in the k-town trail running community. We had a group of 10 go this year and we loved it!
June's race will be Beacon Rock, also put on by Rainshadow Running. I just have to check this one out! On a clear day this race offers views of the Cascades... Mt. Hood and Mt. Adams. I am sure this will make up for the fact that it is a loop course. For the record, I have avoided signing up for any looped races but something tells me this will be worth it. And depending on the post-race party... one loop might be enough to hunker down and just have a beer and enjoy all the awesomeness that surrounds a trail race finish line.
July I hope to make it into Knee Knacker. It's a lottery... so we'll see. If not, it might be Five in Five... instead of Six in Six ;) Then again there is this other long time goal of mine to run the Rock Wall Trail in Kootenay National Park. So this would be a great substitute!
August is Angels Staircase. I did the 25k this year and hope to have the legs to try the 50k in 2012.
I have not been running much more than 2 days per week since Europe and it's time for me to start to buckle down and build back into 3 days... 4 days... you get the picture. I got out the last few weeks and had some beautiful training days. I am feeling excited to get out there and work towards my goals. AND totally inspired by the 15+ P.A.C.E. athletes I am coaching this year as they build towards the wonderful world of ultra!