2009: hope sprints eternalFebruary 18, 2009
My plans for the next few months do not include any road marathons or road ultras. Since both of my road ultras last year were painful experiences, I’ll need some additional time to overcome this “pace aversion” (which I define as “taste aversion for runners”).
My plans do call for a bit of everything else, however.
My next major ultramarathons are likely to be the North Face Endurance Challenge 50 in Bellingham on June 6th and/or the White River 50 on Crystal Mountain on July 25th. (I say “and/or” because I might skip one if I get sick the week of the race or my training goes worse than expected or whatever.) Also, Brian Morrison tells me that about 20 miles of the North Face course can be previewed (in the reverse direction) at the Chuckanut Mountain 50K on March 21st, so I’ll do that one as well. My joke to myself is that I’ll run Chuckanut “just hard enough to win.” It’s true that I would love to win and would prefer not to kill myself in the process, but a lot of fast people will be there — besides Brian, the current start list includes Bryan Dayton (’08 Chuckanut champ and ’06 USATF 50K trail champ), Adam Lint (’08 White River runner-up), Aaron Heidt (who almost beat me at White River), Peter Ellis (’08 Chuckanut runner-up), Matthew Simms (’07 Chuckanut runner-up), etc. — so, in all likelihood, I’ll have to fight hard for a place in the top 3-5.
As mentioned in my last entry, I’m reducing the frequency and intensity of my extra-long-and-hard training runs, leaving more room in my schedule for quality speed workouts and shorter races . . . like the Valentine’s Day-themed Love ‘Em or Leave ‘Em 5K at Green Lake on February 8th, for example. Due to poor family planning, I “warmed up” for this race by hanging out with my son until about three minutes before the start, at which point I finally got my number and did a couple of half-hearted accelerations. But Brett Winegar had an even better excuse than I did — he had run a 2-mile track race the day before — and still crushed me, 15:03 to 15:29. I managed to sneak into 2nd place in the last mile, and the guy I passed “friended” me on Facebook a couple of hours later, so I guess there were no hard feelings about that.
Love ‘Em or Leave ‘Em was also notable in that it was my debut as a masters athlete, sort of. I’m still 4+ years shy of my 40th birthday, but my teammate in the pairs competition was Henry Wigglesworth, whose age of 51 easily put us into the 80-and-over category. Our ages ultimately didn’t matter, though, as Henry’s 16:44 gave us a cumulative time faster than those of all other registered teams, young and old.
I suppose that’s as good an omen for the year as any.