Archive for December, 2013

Updated 2014 Plans

23 December 2013

I’ve had a little more time to think about 2014 and more definitive race plans are starting to coalesce. I’ve (wisely) reduced the number of races to focus on quality. I’m cognizant that there’s a lot of social-type stuff going on next year (i.e., more weddings), plus I want to lift more, get into climbing and kayaking, etc.  That being said…

February 22: Mt. Mitchell Challenge (registered). I can already tell I’ll be undertrained for this one because I’ve had a lazy past few weeks.

March 15: Rock & Roll USA Half Marathon (registered). I’ve half-assedly done the full the the past few years, but T convinced me to do this half this year. I haven’t done one in several years (other than pacing friends), so I think it’s ripe for a PR attempt if I can get some good speed sessions in the spring. Plus, before I can retire from road running, I have to nail that dream marathon time, and this will be a good step toward that.

May 10: Capon Valley 50k. Supposedly a good course, only two hours from DC, and I’ll use it as a training run.

June 14: Laurel Highlands Ultra (applied). This will be the focal race for the year. It means that for the third or fourth straight year running, I’ll miss out on the DC North Face Endurance Challenge. But I’m excited about Laurel Highlands because the course will be reminiscent of Oil Creek and it’ll keep me eligible for the Western States lottery. Plus, if I did my math right, doing Oil Creek, Mountain Masochist, and Laurel Highlands in that span of time will give me enough points to register for UTMB. (Mon dieu!)

July 26: Catoctin 50k. I wasn’t disappointed with last year’s race, but I can go significantly faster. I need a strong showing for my backyard race.

September 13: The Rut 50k. This is highly speculative, but I’d love to do it for a number of reasons – Big Sky country, the naked mountaintop, Euro-style racing, the Skyrunning championship. The high altitude will hurt and slow me down significantly, but I’m so, so tempted to do some real western running, especially since I’m taking a pass on Speedgoat.

October 4: Megatransect Challenge. Honestly, this kind of looks like a dream course. I was bummed to get shut out of registration last year. 

October 26: Fire on the Mountain 50k. I love everything about this race. I’m excited to return after taking a pass this year and giving it an honest effort.

November 22: JFK 50 Mile. Highly speculative. I thought I was done with this one, but spectating this year got me all fired up. With some fair training, I can take a decent chunk of my 2011 time. But this already looks like a pretty full autumn.

Sometimes I think I enjoy planning for races as much as running them.

UROY et al.

20 December 2013

Ultrarunning is getting ready to release its end of the year accolades, so I thought I’d preempt them by stating who should win.

Male UROY:

Rob Krar. Dude came onto the scene like a wrecking ball. (Sorry, had to.) He has so many iconic runs and wins that it’s hard to believe that he’s done them all in the space of mere months – Moab, Leona, the double crossing, UROC, TNF50. He nearly picked off the defending champ at a sweltering Western States in his hundred-mile debut. Aside from the misstep at JFK, he had an absolutely dominant year. Personally, I don’t see Krar as part of this new school of road/track runners entering the ultra scene – although he ran collegiately, he has been competing in sub-ultra trails for a little while. Still, he was a total blast of fresh air this year. Plus, that beard! That last name that lends itself so well to portmaneaus! I think I need to take a minute…

Rob Krar - interview

#fearthebeard

Sage Canaday obviously had a super strong year and would have won in any other year. Notwithstanding his blow-up at UROC, he too was dominant, but achieved more in the early part of the year and seemed, fairly or not, to fizzle a bit as the year went on.  I’d also rank Ian Sharman pretty highly for setting the new Grand Slam record. I think that incredible achievement has actually been underappreciated in light of the other fireworks this year.

Female UROY:

Michele Yates. Like Krar, totally dominant, winning by my count six of the seven ultras she ran at every standard distance in a wide variety of terrain. That’s incredible breadth. Pam Smith, between Western States and the new hundred mile track record, had a great year as well, but MY simply did more. Rory Bosio’s performance at UTMB, while breaktaking, cannot alone propel her to female UROY in light of her otherwise solid, if sparse, season.

Male UPOY:

This was closer, but I think it’s Krar’s new R2R2R record. He just demolished what was already a pretty tough mark. Could he be the one to take it under six hours? It would require a near superhuman effort, but the Krarnivore is as close to superhuman as we’ve seen.  His win at UROC when he just dropped the hammer on some incredibly stiff competition was impressive, as was Zach Bitter’s new pair of records. (Breaking a Yiannis Kouros record is especially noteworthy.) And as mentioned above, Sharman’s new Slam record was amazing, although the series wouldn’t qualify for UPOY under the Ultrarunning Magazine standards.

Female UPOY:

If you say anything other than Rory Bosio’s run at UTMB, you’re crazy. She not only smashed the record, but placed seventh overall. Again, I don’t think it alone is enough to make her UROY, but it was probably a career-defining effort and one that will be talked about for decades. I might even call it POY regardless of gender.

Finally, I don’t know whether Ultrarunning is considering it, but I’d fully support segregating the awards into a trail category and a track/road category. They’re really apples and orange.