Monday, January 09, 2012

Planning My 2012 Season's that glorious time of year to pick out anchor races for the season! The calendar sits before us overflowing with potential for adventure, new friends, and soon-to-be-stories to tell, and all we have to do is choose a path. Few things lift my spirits as much as this annual ritual (see '06, '07, '08, '10, '11). A full calendar of endurance events continues to be the best proof I am choosing to live IN the world instead of ON it.

I was very pleased with my 2011 season, particularly since my "life event" calendar was jam-packed. Baby Quinn arrived (now 10 months old!), as did Ace the Pug, and 5-year-old Sophie Jane is growing up faster than ever now as a kindergartener. My career enjoyed a Silicon Valley hyperspeed tour through unemployment, entrepreneurship, and now a big company job that is surprisingly fun, with a few scares of relocation thrown in for good measure. It used to be that my "life" was fairly predictable, and I looked to outdoor endurance events to inject adventure. Now it seems my race calendar is the rock while my life is in perpetual whirlwind. Either way, I am blessed that all parts of my life feed my soul with new experiences.

So, how to create a calendar of events that will continue to inspire and challenge? Which experiences in the previous year filled my soul the most and where do I need a change? Is this a year to tackle championship events and PR's like 2010, or an exploratory year like 2009? Should I mix in some tri's and cycling events, or just focus on running? Can I even get IN any of the events I want to do? And how can those events keep the blog fresh and interesting?

Here's where you will find me in 2012:

Brooks Falls 50k, 1/22 - The first race of the new Inside Trail Racing event company, and an interesting chapter in trail running for the Bay Area. The entrepreneur in me wants to help any new company that can fill a need, and the Bay Area never seems to saturate the need for trail races. I haven't been to this location since 2007 and am eager to tackle its coastal hills again.

San Francisco Kaiser Half Marathon, 2/5 - Home of my half marathon PR (1:16:48, 2010), and a good speed check before my first 'A' race. I'll be coming off a crazy five country trip from work just hours before, but what can you do? Maybe jet lag is the secret ingredient to going fast.

Austin Marathon, 2/19 - My first 'A' race for the year will be to head to Austin, one my favorite cities, in hopes for a fast road marathon, some good beer and queso, and sampling the sounds of Sixth Street with friends. I wasn't able to get close to my marathon PR this year (2:45, 2009), but consistently ran in the 2:50 range, so I'm going to ramp up the speedwork and see if I can't lower my marathon PR a few minutes. Perhaps I can tap my inner Jean Pommier and continue to get faster through my 40's - he clocked a 5:43 at the Last Chance 50m at age 48!

Robert and Linda Mathis Memorial Run, 2/25 - A casual run in Auburn, CA, to honor two amazing people from the ultra community we recently lost in a DUI accident. No watches, no numbers...just good peeps and closure. It's 9am at the Auburn Dam Overlook if you are interested.

Way Too Cool 50k, 3/5 - One of the biggest and fastest 50k's around, and the first of the "Spring Classics" that lead up to the June/July ultra peak season. I look forward to seeing the backs of heads of many fast people as I return to Cool, CA, and try the revamped course. I find it very helpful (and humbling) to have my ass handed to me by faster people early in the season (that means you, Gary Gellin) to remind me why I need to go deep in the pain cave on regular speedwork days. WTC can be an early season smack down.

Boston Marathon, 4/16 - I'm continuing my streak (this will be #8!) and joining that party from Hopkinton to Boston once again. I never seem to get tired of this one, especially when meeting all the first-time Boston runners who worked so hard to get there. No plans to run with anyone in particular, so let me know if you'll be there!

Providian Relay, 5/5 - A team relay is something I've never tried, and the 199-mile Providian Relay from Calistoga, CA, to Santa Cruz, CA, is one of the best. I've joined up with a team of fellow PayPal colleagues who run the gamut of experience levels, and suspect it will be a great bonding experience. I offered to take miles 100 through 150 so everyone can get some sleep, but apparently that defeats the "relay" concept. ;-) Still, it should be a blast!

Auburn Century, 6/3 - No Western States for me this year, but I can get 100+ miles in the golden hills of Auburn, CA, by tackling the super century cycling event. Much of the course uses the access roads a crew would use for States, which I know are gorgeous and steep. Plus how cool is the shwag? Gotta get that jersey for sure. I'm hoping my usual clan of cycling dudes will be able to join in for a Gentleman's Weekend.
Black Hills 100m, 6/23 - The good folks of South Dakota have invited me out for the second running of the Black Hills 100 in Sturgis, SD, and it looks like a beautiful race that could become a welcome alternative for the masses who don't get into States. I don't consider myself a competitive 100-miler by any stretch of the imagination, but few things get me out of bed to train like having a hundy on the calendar. Christi and I have fond memories of our last trip to South Dakota, and would love to show our kids Mt. Rushmore, the Badlands (maybe finally update my pic atop my blog?), buffalo, Deadwood, Devil's Tower, and...oh, yeah, fit in a 100-mile out-and-back with 18,000 ft of climbing. Can't wait!

Tahoe Rim Trail 50k, 7/21 - One of the most gorgeous trails around, and a race I long for every year. Signed up for the 50k, but may go longer if needed for my next big race.

Ultra Tour du Mont Blanc, 8/31 -Yup, I'm heading to the big showdown in Europe! I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the two sunrise experience at the Wasatch 100m, and find myself yearning for another mountainous multi-morning adventure. Work is going to take me to Europe right about this time, so why not stick around for a 63,000' vertical, 100+ mile, three country tour? This will easily be the toughest race of my running career. I'm super stoked!

CIM Marathon, 12/2 - I'm unsure how much recovery will be required for UTMB, so my schedule is fairly open until CIM in December. I've still never done this flat and fast road race - curious to check it out.

Woodside 50k, 12/15 - No better way to cap off a season than a jaunt in my own backyard. Looking forward to sharing my home trails with all of you!

No tri's on the schedule this year, although I'm keeping options open. I just didn't see any that were a "must do" that fit the calendar. Like most years, I will pepper this schedule with other local races as time permits. In 2011, I had a great time tackling the local marathon circuit with last minute entries (San Francisco, Oakland, Half Moon Bay, Napa, San Jose), Bay to Breakers, and a couple of local 50k's. We are blessed to have so many options in the Bay Area.

Let me know if you're going to be at any of these races, and I'll be sure to get your picture for the blog! Great pictures will likely be the most important yardstick for success for 2012.



  1. I'll also be at Way Too Cool, and probably saw you very briefly (as you zoomed past along the Skyline ridge) at the Coastal Crystal Springs race on Saturday (I did the Marathon). You've got a heck of a year planned!

  2. Man, I just read your blog and I want to go out, strap on the ol' boots and run!

    I'll say it again, just like I said it Saturday at Crystal Springs:"Scott Dunlap, you are my inspiration!"

    --Todd Oesterman

  3. I'm really sad to miss the Robert and Linda Mathis memorial run. It's too close to a life changing event in our family :)

    I hope to see you at another even this year. Most likely during the second half.

  4. Congrats on the great news of 2011, and good luck with the running season of 2012.

  5. What an awesome calendar for the year! I particularly want to do that century in Auburn. Have you ever run the Palo Duro Trail Run in Palo Duro Canyon (just south of Amarillo, TX)? If not then you should! It's in October. The longest distance available is a 50 miler. Excellent event!

  6. You'll like Black Hills. I ran it last year and those guys did a good job, I'm sure they will polish it up more this time around.

  7. Todd - nice job at Crystal Springs! I'm still going through the photos I took - hopefully there's a good one.

    Adam - I'll take any tips you got for BH100!

  8. Hi Scott!! Hey! Thanks for taking my pics at the crystal springs 11 miler race! I was the girl in a bright orange long sleeve shirt with shorts! I was dying when I first saw you but seeing a familiar face lifted my spirits!! Thanks for being out there! Oh. Is there a way for you to email me those pic? Thank you!!!

  9. I will keep an eye out for it! That new camera shoots raw format, and I now have a Terabyte to upload, so it may take a day or two to get it up. Can you remind me of your race bib #?

  10. Oh, was that you on Saturday at Crystal Springs, snapping photos on the uphill somewhere around mile 4?

    I primarily do road races, but your 2012 schedule looks pretty nice, and makes me want to hit the trails more often.

  11. I'm doing the memorial run, CIM, and volunteering at WTC50k! I can't believe you are doing the auburn century!! I've thought about it but I don't think my biking can get to that level by June. Your schedule looks amazing!

  12. My, I am going to see you more than I can handle! When coming to Austin, email me, we can hobble around. I may even figure out my injury by then enough to make a full struggle 26. Then, the BH100, and Tahoe (please take your camera again for the small loop where you'll catch me!). It is certainly fun to plan, and glad the job thing worked out for the best. You know, you do have a big family to feed!

  13. Damn, that is a full schedule. All you are missing is the Norcal Tough Mudder!

  14. What a wonderful (and ambitious) 2012 adventure schedule for you, Scott. I wish you and your family the best. Perhaps I will see you at Huddart sometime--I love that place...and I really am jealous that you can walk right out your drive onto the trails there....
    BTW, great job on covering the PCTR/ITR saga in a prev post--well-written. .....and the comments.....quite an education. Coming from out-of-state, I fortunately picked up on some of the early signs of the problems in 2010 and, thus, avoided becoming a victim in 2011. Good luck with the "team" representation.
    Finally, if you could possibly share what camera you now use that shoots "in the raw" and if you like it, I'd really appreciate it. I have an older Nikon D70S that I may want to swap out for a newer model.
    Thanks for all of your efforts, Scott. As Todd, above, exclaimed, you really are an inspiration.
    All the best, Ann

  15. Big schedule, Scott! We're stoked to have you on the Inside Trail Racing Team and look forward to sharing the trails with you this year.
    Tim Long

  16. Were excited you chose the Black Hills 100 as your 2012 hundy! We hope you enjoy "Crusin the 89" as much as we do.

  17. Scott, love reading your blog and will look forward to seeing you at the Black Hills 100. It'll be my first time for this race, but - from two experiences at Lean Horse at bit south - know that Jerry Dunn & Co. will deliver a great race experience for all. Keep writing! Mark

  18. Great schedule. Last time I posted on your blog was in 2009 asking about 50k vs 50m for a first ultra. After 2 50ks I was at Tahoe for my first 50m in 2010 and was sorry to have missed you. If you haven't gone past 50k there and you can stretch it this year I recommend it -- the scenery past red house loop, not to mention the climb from Diamond Peak, are well worth it. Best of luck in 2012!

  19. Scott, take your time!!! My race bib is 129 :)

  20. Scott,

    Love your schedule. I'll see you at the Memorial Run, couldn't miss it. I checked out the Auburn century ride, looks fantastic, especially the 140 mile version! Can't wait to hear how Mont Blanc goes. If anyone can truly appreciate that race, it's you. Enjoy!.

  21. Wow Scott, I can't wait for August to come around - that UTMB report is going to be one hell of a read!

  22. Those looking for Crystal Springs 50k photos, I got about 60 good ones and posted them here.

  23. Scott, best wishes with your busy season and I sincerely hope you stay out of the mudders. If there's a more perverse concept---as far as where we the humans want to be vs. the nature, and as far as what user fees enable the corporation to do---it must be an oil company. For a zero-natural-impact challenge (according to peer-reviewed studies), check out your local orienteering club's events, adventure races and adventure runs!

  24. I'll be at Way Too Cool and cheering on Colin at the Tahoe Rim Trail 100M - his first 100 miler. See you out there!

  25. Margie Mader-Clark1/11/2012 03:26:00 PM


    My Austin is doing the Austin marathon too and we are all going to support her! Is your family going? We'd love to see you!


  26. Excited to have you out in SoDak for Black Hills this year! Adam is being a bit modest...he didn't just run the BH100 last year, but also won it. So any advice he gives, I'd listen to!

  27. You're going to UTMB??? AWESOME!! That is so, so cool, Scott. I'm super stoked for you!
    I'll definitely be seeing you this year. (It's been a while!) Memorial run, WTC, and TRT.
    Good luck with all your training. Have fun, and we'll see you out there!

  28. Scott, busy racing, travel, work and family schedules, you surely have the perfect ingredients for great performances in your 40s! ;-) All the best for yet another amazing season and UTMB especially (let me know if you want a few tips).
    See you at least at Way Too Cool then!


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