There is only a single objective for 2011. No multi-level goals. Nothing else matters.
I will return to the Leadville Trail 100 and claim what I rightfully believe is mine. The big buckle!
How will I do this?
A) Get better. As noted, I think I was in the ballpark for achieving this in 2010. I don’t think the formula is wrong but I need to be healthy to get it done. I have played with this recovery on my hip since summer 2010 and its not better. So I need to step it up and get back on the recovery wagon. I will be involving more professionals. I will be resuming my rehabilitation efforts. I will get better. I have a long time before the race. I probably won’t race again until it is better. I may curtail my running until I see progress.
B) Train smarter. I don’t have a ton more time I can dedicate to this sport without sacrificing more family and work time. I mean once you move to the 12-14 hour a week range like I was pre-race, there isn’t a lot more time to be spent running. But the where and how can be changed. I feel like I need to re-incorporate some speedwork into my weeks. Not a lot. Not going to a track. But pulling back into some basic marathon training plan workouts. A few intervals. A tempo run. Just a few. I am feeling slower but stronger so I think getting my leg turnover up will help keep me on top of my game. As for the where portion of the plan, Leadville of course. I am fortunate enough to be able to work and train from our cabin now. Getting to 10,000 feet to train was a serious point of concern for me in 2010. I didn’t do it near as much as I had hoped and it was still decent. Now, I should be able to sleep, work, live, and train there for extended periods of time through the year — especially in August.
C) Have fun. Huh? This past fall when things were not feeling that great but I was still out, I asked myself “what are you doing?”. At the end of it, there was this sense that whether I walked or ran that section didn’t matter. What did matter was that I was outside, soaking up the sun, and breathing harder than if I was at my desk. So shut the fuck up and enjoy the moment. Because soon you will be back trapped in a meeting dreaming of the next time you can be right back in this moment.
My schedule for 2011 is pretty boring at this point.
As Leadville is the goal, life revolves around that.
While I figured I wouldn’t get in, a lot of my “next big thing” for 2011 revolved around Western States. It wouldn’t have been a harder race in the grand scheme of things but doubling up on 100s in a summer would be a new adventure. It has become the big Superbowl race and the course is legendary so I wanted to take my turn. But I wasn’t selected. I will put my name in again next year and see what happens.
Once that plan was confirmed, I really thought long and hard about Hardrock. It is the hardest 100 by all accounts. There is some intrigue in that. However, after careful consideration I decided not to enter. Part of me thought about just gaming it. Not wanting to be picked this year but using that to get an additional ticket for 2012. But that’s not how I roll I guess. I was close but 2 things basically hung me up. 1) I want to run a good 100 mile race before I run at Hardrock. I need to boost my confidence. I need to square up my game. I don’t want to do that at Hardrock. 2) It messes up training for Leadville. Hardrock is in July right between 2 races in Leadville. With our new cabin and our first summer in it, I don’t have motivation to travel to Silverton when I have home field advantage in Leadville for other events. So I respectfully pass on Hardrock for 2011. Oh and reason #3, I don’t want to set the Brownie-Fuller rematch there.
One final major decision I had for 2011: Leadman? This involves completing 5 events in Leadville over the course of the summer. A marathon, a 50 mile bike or run, a 100 mile mountain bike race, a 10K run, and the 100 mile run. This is an elite group that tries for this each year. By the time the last run comes around, there are usually less than a dozen standing. I tentatively plan on running the marathon and the 50 mile race. They are two weeks apart in July and seem like perfect repeat adventures that will provide good training indicators. Already running 100 miles of course. Throw the 10K in for good measure. That just leaves the bike race. I don’t want to diss the bike race in anyway. For many bikers, its the challenge of a lifetime. But when I ask folks that have done both which is harder, they roll their eyes at the bike over the run. I haven’t biked steady in years because I refuse to cross-train. Forcing me to ride the bike might actually benefit my running. Seemed like a good fit. Plus, I could justify a sweet new bike to Kim. But the look of Sean Kute from last year across the table at dinner one night pre-100 mile race keeps coming back. He was doing the Leadman (and ultimately did it!) and looked tired. The problem here is that the bike is 7 days before the run. That complicates things. If you train, you can surely finish both. But can you ever peak perform at the run? Doubtful. So given my ultimate goal is to have a stellar performance at the run, I have to decline the bike. Hence, the whole thing unravels. In a random conversation, my wife told me that a Leadman seems cooler than a big buckle. I guess that is an individual call. For me, the prize is the big buckle right now. I would covet that more. The Leadman might be a future endeavor though.
So for now I am going to stick with 3 events as the basis of the 2011 schedule:
July 2: Leadville Marathon
July 17: Leadville Silver Rush 50 Mile Trail Run
Aug 20-21: Leadville Trail 100
I would like to commit to more but I need to see how rehab plays out over the first few months of the year. I am contemplating a road marathon for the sole purpose of getting back to Boston. After this year’s registration failure, I need a new qualifier run in order to register for Boston 2012. I “only” need to run a 3:15 to make that happen. I could try for faster but that would only be for a lower corral number. So debating running something like Colfax (because Denver might be too close to registration) and putting down a steady day. If things felt decent, I could try to run harder but no pressure. I would focus the marathon PR effort on Boston 2012 at sea level. I have struggled with the “race as a training run” concept but might need to get more comfortable with it.
I will likely add more to the schedule over time but this is all I have for now. Nothing else requires major advanced registration so I need to see what the next month holds for me in the way of rehabilitation. I also see some relief from having a less structured schedule. Then I might be able to jump into something when I am feeling better about it instead of being a slave to the schedule. Plus, I really hate the recovery/taper mood swings so I feel I will really benefit from a delayed start to the year, then 6 months of hard training and big numbers.
See you out there!