Disclaimer: this is tentative...!
But what the heck, right? It's fun to put stuff out there because it serves as a motivator. So, with all the fanfare that is appropriate for a random nobody aspiring ultra runner like myself, here is Martin's 2013 list of races.
4 February - Orcas Island 50k
This is supposed to be a NW classic! I have hiked on trails around Mt Constitution/Moran State Park and it was beautiful. It's a pretty sloppy time of year but this is in the 'rain shadow' and February is usually nicer than January and March so you just get mentally ready for wet and go anyway.
16? March - Chuckanut 50k
The old web site for this event is down and knowing how busy Krissy Moehl is who knows when there will be a new site... or if I even get in. Last year was a special occasion for this event and they opened it up to many more people than usual. Normally it's a lottery and sells out pronto. I did this race last year for the first time on relatively short notice and had a stellar day. Here's hoping I can improve just a little.
20? April - Yakima Skyline Rim 50k
Lucca ran here this year and it looks like no other course out there. Words like 'stark' and 'exposed' only begin to describe it. It's also all up and down with pretty much zero flat. Not easy but it should be cool to do at least once in my life? And it is on the east side of the Cascades so probably dry and hopefully even warm.
15 June - Bighorn Mountain Wild and Scenic 50 Mile
Never heard of it, haven't been to MT since I was in my teens but this looks awesome. Justin Angle recommended it to me and it happens to be at a better spot on the calendar than the White River 50 Mile race which I really wanted to do but might have to postpone until the following year. The Bighorn runs sounds remote, super scenic and has lots of trail (meaning not much dirt or paved road). My only concern (other than the distance!) is that it's at elevation and I don't do so hot up in the clouds. One word: adventure!
24-25? August - Cascade Crest 100 Mile
Martin's big goal for 2013! I chose this event because it's 1) close to home meaning I can sleep in my own bed the night before and 2) it's a really honest 100 meaning it's NOT easy so it will help me prep for my ultimate goal. I hate that some of these events are such a crap shoot... this one also appears to be a lottery and you now have to qualify for it. Luckily qualifying just means completing a 50 mile or 100 mile event prior to starting so if I can finish the Bighorn race I'll be good to go. And you don't need to have the qualifying finish in hand to enter the lottery; whew. If I don't get into this I'm honestly not sure what I'll substitute.
What is my ultimate goal? it's to complete the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc in 2014. That will be the year I turn 50.
Once again you need to qualify for UTMB just to be able to throw your name in the lottery. To qualify you need to accumulate 7 points in no more than three races during the prior year. Most 100 mile races are 4 points, most 50 mile races are 2 points and most 50k races are 1 point. There you have it, I need to successfully complete one of each in 2013.
The shift from racing bicycles to ultra running is more significant than I thought. Here are some things I have already learned and need to remind myself of constantly.
- You can NOT race as often when you are running long distances as when you are cycling. Running breaks you down more and takes longer to recover from. Weekend races every week AND one (or two!) midweek series? Not.
- Ultras are about keeping moving. You don't have to go fast but you need to get used to moving foreword even when it's not comfortable. I am starting to learn how to run slower but I have yet to learn how to keep going when it's not fun. And to clarify, for sure running is fun in general but if you have goals you have to push yourself a little or a lot and I need to hone my ability to push myself for sure.
- Adversity is part of the game. When you do any physical activity for hours and hours shit will happen. You will hit a low spot, your stomach will not agree with what you are putting in it, you might get a blister, etc., etc. Making it to the finish in one piece is usually (hopefully) not just about gutting it out and damaging your body in the process but rather about managing the adversity as well as possible so you do NOT damage your body while making it to the finish. This means not turning off your brain while you run and not losing the ability to look at yourself objectively when things go south. It also means being prepared not only in terms of clothing, training and nutrition, but also in terms of a lack of general life stress and a healthy dose of motivation.