It’s now been almost 2 full weeks since Baystate (my last goal race for 2013) and I’m already chomping at the bit for a new set of challenges. I don’t know about you, but I find that if I don’t have something to work towards, I end up just going through the motions without any real purpose. And, while I do realize that it’s all part of the recovery process, I find it wholly unsatisfying.
And so, as this year comes to an end, I’m starting to plan out what I hope to be working towards for next year. Building off of the success I had at last year’s Stonecat 50, and the fun I had during this year’s Summer of 48, I’m going to spend 2014 primarily focusing on Ultra-Marathon races and seeing just how far I can push myself and the limits of what I think I can do. Long story short, it’s shaping up to be a VERY interesting year!
Below is a preliminary list of the races that I’m eying for next year, with a brief description of each.
JAN - GAC Fat Ass 50k – Topsfield, MA - Jan 11
I’ve never officially run a race of this distance, so I’m intrigued with the idea. I’m not so sure about potentially running on snow and ice for 32 miles, but from what I’ve read this race is just one big, well-stocked winter party, with a low, low entry fee. So what the heck!
FEB – Martha's Vineyard 20m – Vineyard Haven, MA – Feb 15
I’ve been looking for an excuse to run this race for quite a while now. It always seems to conflict with something. So this year I figured, why not give MV20 a shot? I ran an “out of my mind” 2:10:30 (6:31 pace) at the Eastern States 20 back in 2005. Anything close to that would be wonderful.
MAR - Spring Thaw 6 Hr - Andover, MA - Mar 16
This one is different from any other race I've ever done in that there is no definitive finish line! Participants are invited to run (or hike) a 3.5-mile loop as many or few times as you wish in 6 hours! Last years "winner" did 10 laps - or 35 miles. Likely to be some mud.
APR – TARC Spring Classic 50k - Weston, MA – Apr 26
Depending on how things go at FA in January, this may end up being my first 50k. Run on pristine trails in the woods of bucolic Weston, MA, located just seven miles west of Boston. Course is 10K loop that is 100% trails, mostly single track, flat with a few rolling hills, rocks, roots, creek crossings and a little mud thrown in. This should be a fast course.
MAY – Pineland 25k- Gray, ME – May 25
I'm planning on running the 25k team race again this year, although I do reserve the right to increase the distance depending on how the team is shaping up and how I’m feeling. The Pineland Trail Festival is one of my favorite events of the year. So, MORE of a good thing is always better, right?
JUN – TARC Ultra 50m – Westwood, MA – Jun 7
This event was a new one on the 2013 calendar, but with the 100m distance being the primary focus. It will hopefully be the first of two 50 milers that I do this year as I build towards Ghost Train. And the start time of Friday evening at 7:00pm will help me work on my night running skills. Yay!
JUL – Bear Brook Trail Marathon – Allenstown, NH – Jul 19
I’ve run this race each of the past two years and have done better each time. It’s tough, but fun, very well organized and just a dollar a mile! As I sit here now, it’s funny to think that this will be one of the shorter races I do in 2014. Hopefully, I’ll continue to find it funny as the year wears on.
AUG – TARC Summer Classic 50m - Medfield, MA – Aug 16
Again, a low-cost, fun event which will hopefully help me build towards the 100 miler in the fall. This time the race begins at 7:00am (instead of 7:00pm) so I should be able to complete it, in its entirety, during daylight hours. With the added bonus of red-lining some new single track trails. Sweet!
SEP – Pisgah 50k - Chesterfield, NH – Sep 21
I did the 23k event this year and really enjoyed it - except for the bee stings! Most of the course is runable. So, if all goes well, it should shape up to be my fastest of the three 50k’s that I plan to do. Perfect for getting me in the right frame of mind for the following months event.
OCT – Ghost Train 100m - Brookline, NH – Oct 25
This is the biggie on my 2014 race calendar. If all goes right for me during the year, I hope to run a fast time here. If not, just finishing will be OK with me too! That’s the beauty of running a distance for the first time. No pressure. Just go out and set the bar!
NOV – Wolf Hollow Half Marathon – Nashua, NH – Nov 23
November is shaping up as a bit of a recovery month, but I figured I’d throw in a race (in my hometown) that I’ve wanted to do since it began. It’s run entirely within the confines of Mine Falls Park in Nashua, so I know all the trails by heart. And it will be the perfect post-turkey run-off!
DEC – Hellgate 100k – Fincastle, VA – Dec 13
Road Trip! This race is a stretch race for me. Even though it’s 36 miles shorter than Ghost Train, it will probably take me just as long to complete. The course profile is super daunting, but if I can finish this one, it will be a great way to cap off the year! Oh, and it’s a WS100 Qualifier for 2015!