Saturday, February 09, 2013

Planning My 2013 Race Season

I finally had time to finish up one my favorite annual rituals - planning the race season on the new calendar for 2013 (see '06, '07, '08, '10, '11, '12). A cup of coffee, a lazy Sunday on the couch, and a list of 500+ races that need to fit into ~40 weekends. Well, maybe not all of them. But we can try! ;-)

For a few moments I like to peruse the list in its entirety and imagine the number of new friends, great pictures, and blog-worthy stories that await us in the miles to come. So much adventure! We choose to live IN this world instead of ON it, my friends, and that's what makes the ride worthwhile.  Adventure is just a few entry fees away!

So, how to start? Reflecting on my 2012 season, it was the variety and unexpectedness that kept the trail running fresh and inspiring. A few of those experiences affected me deeply, more so than I would have guessed, and reminiscing about them continues to make me smile and swoon as if I had just crossed the finish line. I love how memories like these become an embered hearth deep in my soul, warming my everyday smiles for friends, family, and co-workers. Best to double down on any race that can bring that kind of magic! It's also nice to have some races on the calendar where you expect to go fast, and others where you can just relax, be present, and take it all in. If it's all about racing and PR's, my assholism starts to spike, and then I have to attend those god-awful AA meetings ("Hello, I'm Scott, and I'm an asshole"..."Hi, Scott!").

I am longing to get back to the steep alpine back country of Europe and share more experiences with mountain people of other cultures. This time, however, I would like to actually SEE the mountains instead of slogging through a night of mud and rain (a la UTMB) so perhaps a shorter distance and different time of year. There are still a solid 10 races on my bucket list (it never seems to get shorter!), so I would like to try and knock a few of those off too. Plus I find the more time I book for recovery, the better my season goes as a Masters athlete, and if I switch up the schedule with running, cycling, trails, and roads, the training never seems tedious.

So with that, I give you my 2013 season:

Crystal Springs Trail Marathon, Woodside, CA, 1/5 - Pure fun right in my backyard. A good way to kick off 2013!

Fort Ord 50k, Monterey, CA, 2/8 - When I see a brand new race pop up on the calendar, I'm always excited to check it out. Inside Trail Racing added the Fort Ord 50k, the first ultra in the expanse of trails just behind the Laguna Seca race track, and promised to deliver hills, sand, and gorgeous views. And it indeed delivered!

Nueces 50m, Rocksprings, TX, 3/2 - The USATF 50-mile trail championship is at Nueces this year, deep in the Texas hill country. I have heard a lot of great things about the Tejas Trail races, and I haven't quite dialed the 50-mile distance, so what better than to target an "A" 50-mile race early in the season that can do both. Fort Ord 50k can be my test "B" race on the way.

Boston Marathon, 4/15 - At my first Boston, I made a promise to myself to try and streak it 10 times. Why? I have no idea. I'm pretty sure beer was involved. But this historic race, flooded with eager first time runners who have earned their slots, never seems to get old for me. This will be #9!

Big Sur Marathon, Carmel, CA, 4/28 - I can't seem to go more than 2 years without longing to run this gorgeous stretch of Hwy 1. The coastal town of Carmel is super kid- (and dog-) friendly, so we'll take the family down to celebrate my 44th birthday. I am signed up for the Boston 2 Big Sur Challenge (fastest combined time of the two marathons), but likely will be cruising for fun. If I feel good, I'll throw in the Presidio 10-mile in between to keep the tempo up.

Miwok 100k, San Francisco, CA, 5/4 - The Lottery Gods granted me one race this year, and it's one of my favorites! The course is amazing, the race is always polished, and everyone seems to be in good shape as they prepare for the big races of summer. Every race I've had at Miwok has been crazy epic with all kinds of weather extremes.  Let's do it again!

San Francisco Marathon, 6/16 - My broken toe forced me to bow out last year, so I'm (hopefully) back to redeem in 2013. A fun race all around, and one that I feel us locals should frequent if anything just to remind us how lucky we are.

Mont Blanc Trail Marathon, Chamonix, France, 6/30 - Back to Chamonix! Man, I love this place. This time I'm going to tackle a fast and steep race, the Mont Blanc Marathon. It will also be one of three races I will be doing in the Skyrunning World Series, so I hope to get some points on the board. I also just love to tell people I'm on the "European circuit" this year. It sounds so bad ass!

Death Ride, Markleeville, CA, 7/13 - Each year I take at least one century ride with my regular group of dudes, and this year it's back to the 5 peaks/16,000' feet of climbing in the Death Ride. This race continues to have the best shwag around, plus it's a good excuse to pick up the bike training for what is coming in September.

Pikes Peak Marathon, CO, 8/18 - This one is on the bucket list, plus it turns out to be a Skyrunning Series race, the USATF Trail Marathon championship, and one that fellow teammate Gary Gellin is going to crush this year. I have a nice block of time prior to this date for race-specific training (like scaling cliffs while breathing through a straw), so I'm hoping to give it a solid effort. We'll see what running at 14,000' feels like!

Matterhorn Ultraks, Zermatt, Switzerland, 8/24 - I'll head from Pikes Peak right to Zermatt for a Skyrunning trail marathon double-header. How crazy will that be? Crazy AWESOME, that is. When I asked trail runners in Chamonix where else to go for a unique mountain experience, Zermatt was most often the first race off their lips.  I've got the frequent flyer miles, so let's do it.

Ironman Lake Tahoe, Tahoe City, CA, 9/22 - After a bit of rest and transition, I'll be slowing it down for the inaugural Ironman Lake Tahoe. This one made my bucket list the second it was announced. A 2.4 mile swim at altitude, a 2x hill climb to 7,400 feet on the bike, and a marathon down the scenic Truckee River that ends at Squaw Valley for a party? Insanity! Gotta be a part of that.

Bootlegger 50k, Henderson, NV, 11/9 - One last fast race to cap off the year, the Bootlegger 50k is the USATF 50K trail national championship and is set in the red hills of Nevada. I suspect this one will draw a great field (particularly given that the Race Director is Team Adidas Coach Ian Torrence), and there's always Vega$ for post-race celebrations. It rounds out my USATF national championship races to the 26m/50k/50m "middle distances", which sounds fun. DO IT.

As always, I will fit in other races/rides where the calendar permits, and will play it by ear as nature and my body allows. But this calendar is a full dance card, for sure. No 100-milers this year...after the Lottery Gods had ushered their will, there weren't any left that fit the social schedule, so we shall have to leave the hundy for another year. It can't stop me from volunteering!

I hope to see y'all out there. Let me know where you're going to be so we can get some pics!

- SD


  1. What an interesting list, Scott, you'll be everywhere! I'm going to focus on the MUT Grand Prix again, so Miwok will be the only race we have in common. Unless you change your mind and join us on a local ultra. Have fun on the "European Circuit" and make us proud, will you? ;-)

    1. I will see you there! Glad to hear your calf has recovered. Best of luck!

    2. Does Ironman Lake Tahoe go up to 9,400 feet on the bike? I thought the bike topped out on Brockway Summit.

    3. You're right, Scott - it's more like 7,400 feet. Corrected.

  2. No hundos, you're such a wimp. Ha! Looks like a blast, Scott. Let me know if you need anything at IMLT. Good luck with training, and have fun (of course, I know you will)!

  3. Nice schedule. I get to race 'with' you twice this year, at Boston and Miwok. Coast to coast in three weeks.

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  5. Scott I would love to know what your training schedule in any given week looks like. I'm curious as to how specific you get and what kind of paces you do on your long runs(that probably sounds silly, since they are all long runs)

    1. Typically I break my workouts into 3 week cycles, where each week gets a 10% boost in either distance or intensity, then I rest for 2-3 days. If I time it right, that last thing I do in a 3 week cycle is run a race (like Fort Ord).

      Here's a typical week for 2013 so far:

      Sun - Rest, Cross-Train, or Easy 8 (7:30-9 min/mile)

      Mon - 6 Miles Easy + 10-12 x hill repeats (90% effort, repeat until your legs burn the whole repeat) + target-race specific training as needed like rocks, steps, etc.

      Tue - Easy 8-10

      Wed - Tempo or Interval, which is usually 3 miles warm up + (4 x 2 miles at 6 min/mile (tempo) or 8-10 x 800 @ 2 min 45 sec (interval))

      Thur - Easy 8-10

      Fri - Long, usually 16-30 miles @ 8:30-9 min/mile with a few surges thrown in

      Sat - Easy 8-10, Rest, or Cross-Train (usually swimming after the long run)

      Overall I am ~65-75 miles/week, cresting at 85-90 at the end of week 3. I'm not a devotee to the schedule, but this is typically the mix I shoot for. If a target race is <20 miles, I will increase the speed of the tempo/interval work out and decrease rest intervals.

      I check my resting heart rate every morning, and if it's elevated, I rest until it goes back to normal. That's about it!


    2. Thanks Scott! That is awesome and very me something to aspire to.


  6. You are going to love Nueces! I live in San Antonio and can personally vouch for any Joe Prusaitis directed race. The man takes RDing to a whole new level.

    1. I hear a lot about Joe! Your enthusiasm is well shared, and a big reason I am coming to check it out. Hopefully i will see you there!


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