Thursday, January 15, 2009

My Grand Plan for 2009.

My first blog entry in the new format. I am migrating everything from MySpace to here and to Facebook. My plans include migrating my earlier entries from MySpace over to here as well. Maybe not all of them but the best of the best.

The past 24 hours have been big. I stayed up way too late last night to register for the San Juan Solstice 50 Mile Run. Info here: In November I verified with the race director that my prior races would qualify me for this event so I knew that I was good to go, and all I would have to do is successfully register. This race only had a field of 200 and anyone registering after the first two hundred are filled go onto the wait list. Those who know me know that "Andy" and the word "wait" never belong in the same sentence. That being the case I was up way late last night until 12:59 a.m. MST when the registration opened to register electronically on It took some time but finally at 1:12 a.m. I had my registration confirmation in my e-mail in-box. Great!

The second big thing to happen today came via the USPS. I received my entry confirmation for the Leadville Trail 100 race. This is the last race in my "plan" for this season and it is scheduled for August 22-23. To be more clear, 04:00 a.m. is the start on the 22 August and the race closes 10:00 a.m. the next day. 100 miles, at altitude, 30 hour cut off time. No kidding. Average 15 minute miles over the course and I am in great shape... 18 minutes per mile, I get to finish. 20 minutes per mile, DNF, Did Not Finish.

Those are two of the races in my plan as I mentioned there are more and yes there is a plan. I don't know if this should be called my mid-life crisis running tour or what, but it is going to be significant regardless. The idea actually came to me last fall after the Pikes Peak Ascent which to be honest, there for a bit seemed like the end of my mountain running career. Synopsis, FREAKISH weather, snow, nasty cold, mild hypothermia, the works. I finished before they closed the course, I was lucky.

But anyway, after that race and while I was up bowhunting for elk I was taking breaks from hunting and running up around camp which is at 11,000 feet in elevation just thinking about things. I decided a change was in order and set my sights on a 5K in MD which I could run at Thanksgiving time when I came home. My goal being to actually do speedwork in the fall and work hard to run a hard and fast 5K and do respectable. And that is what I did, coming in 4th in my age group out of a field of 69. Instead of taking my fall break from running as I usually do, I ran harder. Speedwork at 40... let's just say it is uncomfortable. But I have to brag a little, I did clock a 6:27 mile last fall. I'll take it. :)

I have never run an ultra before. A real race that is greater in distance than a traditional marathon which is 26.2 miles in length. I've run some nasty races including mountain marathons where you burn at least 2x the energy than in a flatland marathon but I've never done an Ultra. Sometime around Thanksgiving the idea came to me... Do the San Juan Solstice in June as your first Ultra. Keep up my momentum from the fall training and just keep going. Great! It's a plan.

After Thanksgiving and returning to Colorado I called an acquaintance of mine whom I know has run the San Juan race and Leadville many times. I informed him of my decision to run San Juan and asked what he suggested I do to start training for the 50 mile course. I was surprised when he started outlining races. The races include a marathon in march, a 25 mile run the beginning of May, followed by another 32 mile run the next weekend. To run a marathon in March in Colorado is nothing I had ever considered feasible before. Yet it made sense and I pretty much started training for it the first week of December.

So... by the first or second week of December my race schedule was starting to look like this if I were to be doing the San Juan Solstice.

March 14 Run Through Time Marathon - Salida
May 2 Collegiate Peaks Trail Run 25 mile
May 9 Greenland Trail 50K
June 20 San Juan Solstice 50 Mile

It is aggressive but I really think doable. The big question came to be then, "What do I do next?"

The Leadville Marathon looked good in July and I've been wanting to do that since I did the heavy half there back in 2007 when I was training for the Pikes Peak Double. So I threw that one on the plan. Oh and the Barr Trail Mountain Race (BTMR) is the day AFTER Pb Heavy Half and Marathon this year. So BTMR will be that weekend too. Two races in one weekend. It will be interesting.

Then what next? Pikes Peak Ascent? Pikes Peak Marathon? Do the Double again? None of these appealed to me at all. It felt completely like taking a step backwards.

No, the only logical move left (okay logical to me) is doing the Leadville 100 this August. So in reality that is the big goal of this year. San Juan is just the cornerstone as I see it. If I can do okay then maybe the Leadville 100 will be fine as well. That confirmation I received in the mail today as I mentioned earlier.

To be honest, Leadville has been on my agenda for over 15-16 years I bet. It is just that back then it never seemed possible. I've spent the last decade and a half maybe preparing for it, if not preparing then definitely moving in that direction. Running the Pikes Peak Double two years ago was ALWAYS in my mind as a stepping stone towards Leadville.

So there you have it... At least the rough outline of my grand plan for this year. I am not kidding myself. It is not going to be easy. For instance how do I prevent burnout between now and August? How do I stay healthy and uninjured? How do I maintain some level of balance in my life in regards to other pursuits and interests? How can I train and do all of this and still have a life? These are answers which I presently do not have but I have faith that these questions/issues will unfold and possibly solve themselves as time passes.

If nothing else it is January and I am stronger and faster than I have ever been for this time of the year. I am curious to see what it all looks like a few months from now! We'll just have to wait and see.

March 14 Run Through Time Marathon - Salida
May 2 Collegiate Peaks Trail Run 25 mile
May 9 Greenland Trail 50K
June 20 San Juan Solstice 50 Mile
July 11 Leadville Marathon 26.2 mile
July 12 Barr Trail Mountain Race 13 Mile
Aug 22-23 Leadville Trail 100

*** Pikes Peak Ascent August 15 - Optional

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