New Year’s Resolutions

Or, “In Which I Start to Get My Race Schedule Together.”  These aren’t exactly resolutions, since I don’t really make those (does “stop getting injured” count?).  But I guess they’re things I’ve been thinking about since the beginning of January.  I’ve also been thinking about my diet, which isn’t going well.  Bah.

In order for me to explain why signing up for a bunch of races is a bit more troublesome this year than other years, let’s look at some results from races in my 2011 season:

  • Lupton Metrish Invitational (3 miles): 28:54
  • Mad City 50k: 4:57:57, 4th place women overall, 3rd place in my age group
  • Ice Age 50k: 5:58:14, 3rd place in my age group
  • Run to the Rhythm 5k: 22:36, 2nd place in my age group
  • Waunafest 10-mile: 1:23:42
  • Madison Mini Marathon (13.1 mi): 1:50:50
  • Safe Harbor 10k: 45:20, 2nd woman overall, 1st in my age group
  • Literacy Network 5k: DNS
  • Baltimore Marathon: DNS
  • Haunted Hustle Marathon: DNS

I’m pretty good at shorter distances, not awesome at middle distances, and good at ultra distances.  You might also spot a pattern toward the end of the season if you look closely.

Yes, I went down with an ankle injury at the end of September, 2011 and my mileage is only now getting back to where it was (in the 35-40 miles per week range).  So I have been understandably hesitant to fill up my schedule with races, worrying about every twinge, every bump, every step that suddenly could trigger more weeks of PT and swimming instead of running.  But then I got an email from the Badgerland Striders (the group that runs the Ice Age 50 mile/50k/half marathon race in mid-May) telling me that registration for those races has opened.  I am in no condition to do the 50k again (nor do I want to–I’m doing no races this season longer than a half marathon), but they do have a half marathon which a) is through beautiful countryside and b) is on challenging trails and c) fills up really quickly.

There isn’t really a good term for “leap of faith” for atheists, since atheists don’t particularly take things on faith.  And I suppose I do have some empirical evidence that I’m getting better (I run largely pain-free and have been logging about 40 mpw lately).  But regardless of whether it was a good idea, I signed up for the half marathon at the Ice Age 50.  This joins a few other events on my calendar:

  • Lupton Metrish Invitational.  Of course.
  • The 10-miler at the Syttende Mai the following weekend.  B has agreed to run with me!  I’m very excited.  We didn’t race together at all last year except the Lupton Metrish Invitational.
  • The 50-miler at the Centurion Wisconsin in August (yes, a bike race!  I’m excited.)  A friend who is a Serious Cyclist has been giving me advice, so while I don’t expect I’ll place or anything, I think I can put together a training plan and make a good showing of it.
  • Figure-8 the Lakes, also August, probably 50 mile distance (a group ride instead of a race; a relative of B’s suggested she would do it with me.)
  • A fall duathlon, probably the Dousman Duathlon.
  • Half marathon at the Baltimore Running Festival.  Okay, I was injured in Fall of 2010 and 2011, so this is really beginning to sound like a Dutch Book is being constructed against me (i.e., it’s a losing bet).  But I need to try this again.
  • Half marathon at the Haunted Hustle.  Ditto.

I’m kicking around a bunch of other races, but nothing is for sure:

  • Grandma’s.  Dan and Claire said they’d do the half if I did it, but it’s in Duluth.  Also I’d probably have had to have registered in November 2011 or something.  Actually, I looked it up–it’s a lottery and it hasn’t opened yet.
  • Dances with Dirt–nice location (Devil’s Lake, and there’s a half), but it’s in July.  Not good running weather.
  • Waunafest 10-miler–a fun race, but half of it is through an industrial park.
  • A triathlon.  I’m afraid at this point.  You’ll notice I didn’t list my tris above because they were kind of terrible failures (my duathlon was pretty good but not spectacular).
  • Other actual bike races or duathlons.  There are not a ton of duathlons that I can reasonably get to.  I don’t know.
  • Madison Mini Marathon.  Possibly the most over-hyped local race there is.
  • There are a lot of local 5k/10k races.  I’ll probably at least do the Berbee Derby and the Literacy Network runs, since they have good t-shirts and I do them every year (except when I’m injured).  But what else?

I’m open to suggestions, Internet.  I don’t like to travel more than an hour from Madison for a half (Baltimore is an exception, since I’d be going there anyway) and no more than 30 minutes for anything shorter than 10 miles.

To finish, here’s a great picture B took of me (with his iPhone, no less!) before the start of the Ice Age 50k last year.  You’d guess I’m always happy right before a race.  (After a race–different story entirely.)

Oh, about my repeated placing in ultra distance (i.e., longer than 26.2 mi) distances: it’s kind of a cheat.  There aren’t many women my age running those races, so I have a better than average chance of placing.  It seems lots of younger women are busy having kids and careers and things that prevent them from training for 60-70 miles per week.  Most ultrarunners seem to be middle aged, which makes sense–the kids are old enough to amuse themselves for a while on a Saturday morning.  So it’s not me, it’s everyone else.