As I noted my 2014 review post, I didn’t have many fixed goals going in to last year and things turned out pretty well. I still think of myself as a very fly-by-the- seat-of-my-pants, winging-it and figuring-it-out-as-I-go-along kind of runner, so I’m understandably a little nervous about all of the thought and planning that’s having to go into 2015.
I have my big long term goals: improve at the marathon, run more 100 milers, get strong on the mountains, be fierce in 24-hour running, and I’m impatient so I want everything this year or next year. In October I turned 40 which is really just a number in the ultra world. I’ve only started competing over the last year and half without knowing too much about what I’m doing, so I should still have many good years ahead of me if I’m smart about all the things it pays to be smart about: training, recovery, nutrition, and not running an average of 2.83 races per month all year. But I know there always be a certain amount of anxiety that weighs on me, the feeling that now is my peak, that I have only a few good years to be great and that time is of the essence. This is what’s keeping a fire lit under my ass!
So what do I want out of the next year? Priority number one is always to fun and stay injury-free. I’ve had no trouble enjoying myself so far, as you all can see from all my ridiculously happy smiling race photos, but the hidden niggles are often with me in my day-to-day training. I’ve had a good recovery period and I’m feeling pretty fresh so the key is to keep doing those exercises and stretches and foam rolling to prevent future problems. But on my own, I’m really only consistent at taking hot soaks. It’s easier for me to go to a class and do as I’m told for an hour or so, so I’m adding more easy yoga and MELT, which was recently featured in the New York Times.
Nutrition is another area to work on. Left to my own devices, there will be days when I’ll eat chocolate for breakfast, energy bars for lunch, and microwave popcorn and cheese for dinner, washed down with coffee in the morning and Diet Coke the rest of the day. I honestly enjoy fruits and vegetable and all the good-for-you foods, but I’m lazy about preparation or even ordering food, and this is in New York City, delivery capital of the world. I’m currently experimenting with cutting my sugar intake, by completely eliminating it and limiting other carbs for a short period. I’ll have more to report on this later.
As for races, the big one for me, the one that everything else revolves around at this point, is of course the World 24-Hour Championship in Italy in mid-April. The selection takes place next week, and if I make the team that race will have my complete attention for the next few months, so much so that I may even sacrifice any serious racing until then. After April, I’ve only got the Rock the Ridge 50 Miler on May 2, TGNY 100 on June 20 and a couple of vertical K races. And I signed up for Boston months ago, which will have to be sacrificed for the 24-hour championships. Geez, did I just write that? What universe am I living in where I can’t run Boston because I am going to run in a freaking world championship race?! Maybe I will walk my way from Hopkinton to Boston. The official cutoff is at least eight hours.
On my “maybe” list are the Caumsett 50K on March 1 (the national road 50K championship race), a spring marathon or two, the full Vermont 100, and several fall marathons, most likely including the NYC marathon. For the “dream” list we have the Transrockies 3 Day (or something else fantastically scenic and out west), Spartathlon and JFK 50. I was getting excited about Spartathlon until I realized that my numerical dyslexia had convinced me it was “only” a 135-mile race (like Badwater) when it is in fact a whopping 153 miles. Those additional 18 miles are giving me pause.
Here is my tentative calendar the first half of the year:
January 31: Maybe either running the BUS 3-hour race on Long Island or pacing at the Rocky Raccoon 100
February 12: Maybe running the Lincoln’s Birthday marathon on Long Island or another marathon someplace warmer that weekend
March 1: Maybe Caumsett 50K
March 15: Pacing 1:50 at NYC Half
April 11: Hope to be running the World 24-Hour Championships in Torino, Italy
April 20: Maybe crawling my way through Boston
April 26: Pacing 2:00 at the New Jersey Half
May 2: Rock the Ridge 50-Miler
May 24: Maybe Mountains 2 Beach Marathon in California
May 30: Maybe Quest for the Crest Vertical K in North Carolina
June 20: TGNY 100
June 27: Whiteface Vertical K