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.