That's what sucks about races, specifically ultras: you have to roll the die and hope that you'll still be available/prepared for a race that you need to sign up for months and months in advance because of how quickly trail races fill up these days. Inevitably, a few of my races will become what I think is called a 'sunk cost'. With the way things are these days, it's hard to shell out the pricey entry fees without thinking of a better way to use that money, especially when it's very likely that the race will somehow become inconvenient once it rolls around. And yet, I still choose to gamble :)
That said, my race calendar has filled up pretty quickly! Since one of my goals for 2009 is to come under 1:50 for a 1/2 marathon, I have four halfathons lined up already: 13.1 Chicago Marathon, Rock N' Roll 1/2 Chicago, Batavia Half Madness and the Chicago Half Marathon. I figure they'll at the very least serve as a good long run. If I'm really feeling spicy, I could turn around at the finish and run back to the start to get in a full for the day. Plus, I'd be lying if I said I hate finisher medals :)
I really want to get in a few 50k's this year and a few 50-milers, but there's not a whole lot around here so I have to consider travel expenses when I'm picking my races. I wish I could race every weekend; that would be my perfect world...along with an endless supply of Brooks Cascadias, fruit punch Accelerade, gummy bears and PB&J wheat wraps.
In ORN: I'm coming along in my training, better than expected. I had a long-overdue physical yesterday (I'm talkin' at least three years overdue) and all is well. My sports doc is also my general practice doc so he also checked out things like balance, gait, leg and hip strength and poked around on my shins. He said I am "clearly a lot stronger than last time!" And, my balance has "improved remarkably." Woohoo! I like to hear these things. We discussed my training plan and he was impressed with what I've done and especially liked hearing that I did a base-building phase this time around (something I have failed to do since my high school track days). He also suggested I start doing yoga...for stress, but also to bolster my training.
I had a great long run last Saturday. It was another one of those runs that served more as a means to toughen me up than to give me time on my feet. I got in just shy of 12 miles (wanted to do 16, but amended that goal at mile 6). It was unfathomably cold! I hit the pavement at 7:30 a.m. as planned and after the first few minutes my body began to register the cold for what it was. It was a frigid 6 degrees, but at least the sun was out in full force; the only saving grace. I had a bottle of orange Accelerade (which became a slushy by mile 5, and was solid by the time I got home) and two Clif Shots. Navy Pier became the turn around and was a welcome respite from the cold (and a warm bathroom!). The wind picked up a tad on the way back north, but it wasn't all bad. I felt good the entire run, and my shins kept quiet. I'm thinking maybe 13.1 is my fatigue threshold...anything below I'm fine for the day, but anything above I feel incredibly tired and usually end up taking extended naps on those days.
So far I'm on par for the week and I'm shooting for 18 on Saturday. It's looking promising though; the weather looks awesome right now...partly sunny and 31. Just right. Maybe my water bottle won't freeze this time...
I did a tough hill workout on the treadmill last night; it kicked my butt, but it was still fun. Running a 10 minute mile on a 10% incline is mighty tough, but I think I'll be able to get it up to a full mile without walking pretty soon :) McNaughton Park is scaring me into hill training!
A little something I thought was kind of funny...and I amended it slightly in the brackets so that it was more apropos :-)
If God invented marathons to keep people from doing anything more stupid, the [Ultra] must have taken Him completely by surprise. ~P.Z. Pearce