Monday, February 02, 2004

The pursuit begins...

It's always tough to get through the winter months if you're an exercise fiend. It's dark in the morning, cold outside, and your dog just wants to hibernate. Then the real trouble begins - with nothing but time on your hands, you start planning for the next year. If you're like me, by the time the spring flowers are pushing through the top soil, you've already pre-registered for a madman's race schedule. It's year three for triathlons and running, and I haven't seemed to have shaken this deadly rookie move of planning the whole year before you even dust off the bike. One of these days I will learn.

By the time February, 2004 had rolled around, I had already spent a small fortune on registration fees for a pair of triathlons (Pacific Crest 1/2 Ironman in Bend, OR, and The World's Toughest 1/2 Ironman in Auburn, CA) and a couple of marathons. My logic went like this:

"You must sign up for at least two races to keep yourself motivated throughout the season. Anyone can get through an Olympic distance triathlon, so be sure to sign up for something that REQUIRES sticking to your training schedule like a 1/2 Ironman. Not falling on your face will be enough motivation to get up every morning."

I know, I know. I need help. Christi, my wife, thinks I'm nuts. I need to get out of dream world and take a good hard look at that 35 year old body that will soon be cursing at me. But for some reason I think if I race enough I will actually look good in Lycra (particularly the one piece tri suits that Christi calls a "unitard"...doesn't seem so sexy now).

I've also been eyeing a new trail running series put on by Trail Runner Magazine ( called the TRM Trophy Series. It's the first year (so who knows what will happen), and there isn't much for prizes, but they have a great schedule of races. Seems like a good use of frequent flyer miles, and a great chance to see more of the great parks and open space preserves all over the States. Their competition seems a little long - March 1st to September 30th, and do as many races as you can - but another good reason to slow down and enjoy the scenery.

The flowers are budding...time to get off the couch.


  1. Question rather than comment: I'm looking for a 1/2 Iron Tri that is road biking and trail run, did the Auburn Int. last year (no swim, bummer) but that date conflicts with Silver State 50/50 which I really want to do. I notice you've done the PCT HalfIron in Bend, and wonder if that's a trail run, and in general what you thought of that event. Thanks, Tina Ure

  2. Tina -

    Thanks for stopping by the blog!

    Quick answer about PCT 1/2 Iron - unfortunately no, it's not a trail run. The 1/2 marathon is on a paved bike trail through the Sunriver area (nice and scenic, but definitely paved). I did enjoy the event a lot - the bike through the Cascade Lakes area (up and around Mt. Bachelor) is gorgeous and challenging, the run goes through the marsh, river, and desert, and you feel like the whole state of Oregon comes out to cheer you on. With so many events going on that weekend (5k-marathon, sprint-1/2 Iron tri and du, kid's events, etc.), it's a great gathering. Plus Oregon is still so cheap to visit, it doesn't kill the pocketbook. I would go back in a heartbeat.

    Aside from the Auburn Race, I haven't heard of too many 1/2 Irons with a trail run at the end. The Big Kahuna 1/2 Iron in Santa Cruz is 1/2 trails and 1/2 paved, but the 1/2 paved is right along the beach on a hilly/swervy bike path along the coast so you don't notice as much. Other suggestions:

    * If you're willing to go "off-road 1/2 Iron", the Odyssey 1/2 Iron in Virginia has a fire-roads bike section that wouldn't be too bad for a road biker. Also a flight away is the Duke Liver Center 1/2 Iron in Raleigh, NC, which has mostly trails at the end.

    * Envirosports is trying some trail run/bike duathlons in Nevada/California you might be interested in. I'm going to try the Trans-Sierra Crossing (run 18 miles up the Rubicon Trail from Tahoe, 60 mile bike), and they are also doing the Race Across Marin (56 mile bike on the coast, 18 mile run through Mt. Tam). Bike and run for both of these are very extreme - perfect for an ultrarunner like yourself. ;-)

    * Envirosports also has some swim/run events. I've never tried it, but it could be good cross-training for you.

    Hope that helps. Happy training, and best of luck at the SS50/50!



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