Wednesday, March 25, 2009

What are your plans for 2009?

This question has been asked of me often over the past weeks.

I initially started this blog as a way to share some experiences with friends and family who've inquired about my races. Since I haven't posted in a while (since the VT50) many have wondered "What are your plans for 2009?" and "Are you still training/running/biking/swimming?".

I generally use this space to give race reports and since I have not actually started the last two races I've registered, I thought I'd give an update. I had plans to run the StoneCat 50 in November of 2008 and did not participate as I spent the day celebrating a life, at a memorial service. I then set my sights on the Hyannis Marathon using focused training to improve speed and see how much I could reduce my best marathon time. My training combined weekly long runs, intervals at the track, and some standard 5 to 8 mile maintenance runs. As my training progressed I was conscious of some discomforts and wrote them off to typical tweaks that I could run through. Well, discomfort turned to pain and after seeing an Orthepedic I landed in physical therapy to strengthen my hip and address issues with my IT band, which landed me out to the Hyannis Marathon in February. This was the best thing that could have happened. I became very diligent and disciplined in doing daily strengthening exercises and stretching, emerging much stronger from the experience, which will provide great benefits in nailing this year's plans.

In seeking a new challenge for 2009 I had my sights set on either an Ironman distance triathlon or ultra marathons. As I explored Ironman options my decision was made for me as these events are "sold out" a year in advance, which is amazing. Since volunteering at an Ironman event guarantees entry into the following year's race, I was planning to spend a July weekend helping out at this year's Lake Placid event which would enable me to register for 2010. Sounds like a good plan, right? I thought so too, until I found out last week that the volunteer slots have "filled" for this year...Are you kidding me? I have to plan 2 year's in advance to do an Ironman?

Ultra marathons it is. Which ones? Thoughts went something like this........I did a 50miler in September, maybe I'll tackle 5 or 6 50 milers this year. But I've already done a 50 miler, maybe it's time for a new challenge......The next real distance beyond 50 miles is a 100 miler.....It's hard to imagine it's possible......I like the idea of the challenge, just not the running part of it, as 100 miles will be painful.....100 miler it is.

I'm officially registered for the VT100 on July 18th and 19th. You know it's a long race when the date is expressed in days. In my opinion my athletic make up is average. I believe that with the proper preparations an "average" person can accomplish many things that most consider out of reach. My focus has been to keep myself injury free and improve my endurance level by making sure I get in a weekly long run.

I've hooked up with Scott and Mark the past several weekends for long runs as they are also training (their 2nd) for the VT100. Clint has also joined in as he considers a 100 miler this fall. The runs have been between 22-26 miles and will increase in distance. I've recovered well from the long runs which is a good sign. My plan is to hit peak training distance of 50 miles 2 months before the race which puts it in May. The timing coincides with some 50 mile ultra races, so I'm signed up for the North Face Endurance Challenge50 at Bear Mountain in NY, which is my planned next race.

When posting I wonder if anyone reads these things. Don't hesitate to comment so I know this blog isn't just me talking to myself, which would make me question my mental well being...