Thursday, February 01, 2018

Planning My 2018 Season, Old Guy Style

Somewhere in 2017, I think I officially became an “old guy” of trail and ultra running. The online odometers hit new digits, with my Ultrasignup profile hitting 100 races, and Strava ticking past 10,000 miles. Instagram photos are proof that my salt and pepper beard is officially now more saline than spice. Young runners in my local park don’t ask for advice on how to run fast anymore, but still love to comment that some of my race shirts are older than they are (which is true). Yet my love of the sport remains young, and as 2018 kicks off, I find myself motivated to stack up another full schedule of racing, riding, and epic adventures. It could be that training and racing keeps me young at heart, or that being young at heart keeps me training and racing…either way, I am grateful for the infinite source of optimism, gratitude, life balance, and good friendships.

I feel methodical in my annual race planning. I choose some new races to keep it fresh, some favorites to keep it fun and check in with friends, and generally have a larger theme for the year. But when Christi (my wife) explains it from her point of view, the pattern is honestly comical. She says “your racing ends in November, you are a melancholy wreck through December with ‘no direction, no motivation, yada, yada’, then you blow thousands of dollars on entry fees and Airbnb’s on New Years Eve, and it always includes 4-5 races in April and May.” Ha! She’s wise, that one.

So here’s how the drunk dialing equivalent of sign ups panned out for 2018:

Spring Hill Marathon, 1/7. I was in Florida for work, but rather than hit the predictable Disney World Marathon, I headed out to Spring Hill, FL, to visit the more rural, blue collar section of the State. My Silicon Valley-sheltered ass needs to meet more of America, and Airbnb is a great way to dive right in. In fact, I’ll be Airbnb’ing all year for this same reason.

Whistle Punk Half, 2/25. It’s the fastest half in the Purisima Creek Open Space Preserve, right in my backyard of Woodside, CA, and Robert Rhodes and his crew always put on a great race. A fantastic excuse to come see the best route through this redwood slice of heaven - if you've got the time, come join us!

Marin Ultra Challenge 50k, 3/10. One of my favorite courses through the Marin Headlands is Inside Trail Racing’s MUC. The pictures I take at this race each year continue to be the biggest Google requests of the year, so I will come cameras loaded once again.

Boston Marathon, 4/16. We all have that one race we just can’t stop doing, and for me, it’s Boston. The excitement of the first time runners, the elites, the history…it’s so much fun! This will be #14 in my streak, well into "old guy" territory now.

Revel Mt. Charleston Marathon, 4/28. How fast can you run a marathon if there is 5,100’ vertical net descent? I’m wondering if a little gravity assist might lower my PR into the 2:30’s before the inevitable speed decline of middle age kicks in. I might have to put an asterisk by that claim (and low Boston bib #) for the vertical doping though. It’s also a birthday weekend in Vegas…sprint down a hill, party all night, what could possibly go wrong? ;-)

Quicksilver 100k, 5/12. Last year was the first lottery for Western States in 15 years that I didn’t have a qualifier, and I miss it! I’m also eyeing UTMB/CCC for 2019 to celebrate my 50th birthday. Quicksilver is always a great time, and a qualifier for both.

Tour of the Unknown Coast Gran Fondo 100m, 5/19. A century ride with my “boys” along the wild coastline of Northern California, and a chance to hang in the redwoods again. Plus it seals Christi’s forecast of having too many races in April/May, so I have to do it.

Mount Fuji Ascent, 6/24. My family is headed to Japan for a long trip this summer, and we will be in the Five Lakes area long enough for me to do a solo run/hike to the top. Should be epic!

Castle Peak 100k, 8/18. I’ve been eyeing this beast of a run in the Truckee/Tahoe area since it was established a few years back. A new course has it pushing more than 15,000’ of climbing, including the Pinnacles. It has as many UTMB points as a 100-miler, so you know its going to be crazy. I’m in! 

Rest of the year, TBD. My life calendar is also quite booked, so best to leave some of the year flexible. I'm turning my Strava feed into a meme feed of fun, and cutting back on all other social feeds. Also more water, more stretching, more meditation, more gratitude. And learning some Japanese. I would also say "have more fun", but I'm not sure if that is possible.

Are you going to any of these races? Let me know where I’ll find you! Let’s get some “old runner” pictures together...I promise that no matter how good my Photoshop skills, I'll always look older than you. ;-)

And I hope your 2018 is off to a great start!


  1. Looks like a fun year - see you at Quicksilver and will be volunteering at MUC!

  2. I'm thinking about the Whistle Punk Half on 2/27, if a nagging ankle injury will permit me to run. I still wear the Injinji socks you gave out there in 2015!

  3. Yay for TUC!! I'm usually out giving high fives somewhere in the state park. See you there!

  4. Hey Scott, haven't been to your blog in while as I stalk you on Strava instead. Good to see your plans. Really jealous of Mt. Fuji. I will keep my eye out for that blog.

    1. Hey, Charles! Good to hear from you.

      Yes, we all seem to be chatting more on Strava these days. Perhaps I should use the "post" feature in Strava anytime something new is on the blog. Although when I've tried that in the past, it has yielded zero click-through. ;-)


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