I need to have a goal on the horizon. If I haven't chosen something specific to work towards, I find myself spinning aimlessly through my days. It's not hard to make big plans in your head, but until you pay the money and tell everyone what you hope to accomplish, it's easy to let life get in the way and push you off track. You tell yourself there is always next year. Once I have publicly stated I am going after something, and more importantly, once I have signed up and paid my registration, then I feel some pressure to follow through and make it happen. So to keep me honest, here are my goals for 2013.
There will be six challenges, three bike races and three ultra runs. I might be more successful at racing if I focused on just riding or running but I like both so much I can't give either one up. I do feel like the events I have chosen are serious enough to need some specific training so I have divided 2013 into two halves. January through June is bike season, June through the end of the year will be the run season. The six events will total 450 miles of gravel bike racing and 162 miles of trail running. The first one is in less than a month.
"The Land Run 100 is a solo, self supported, non-stop, 100-mile-long bicycling endurance challenge on the gravel and dirt roads surrounding the site of the Oklahoma Land Run of 1889."
I don't expect this to be an epic life changing experience, but it will give me more much needed race experience. I'm a total noob and I know it.
Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri
"The OGRE is a 150 mile course on gravel roads through the hills surrounding the of Lake of the Ozarks . . . known for hills, rocky soil, deep valleys, oak trees, springs, creeks and caves. The course has been designed to "put you to work" right out of the shoot . . . Attempting to finish this grueling bike ride is ADMIRABLE. Actually finishing the race will be REMARKABLE."
Initially, I wasn't all that worried about this event. I thought it would be a good stepping stone on my way to Dirty Kanza. Since registering I have heard scary stories about tons of hills and rumors that it might even be harder than DK. Nobody knows if this is true yet since this is the first year of the race, but I will be prepared to finish regardless.
"It has been called the “Ultimate Gravel Grinder” by seasoned endurance cyclists. Dirty Kanza 200 will use public-access gravel and dirt roads, through the Flint Hills region of east-central Kansas . . . Riders will be totally on their own for 200 miles. With the time frame given to complete the event, you will not have the option of sleep, nor much rest."
This race pleasantly kicked my butt last year. Early pacing and nutrition issues got the best of me. I finished but it wasn't pretty at all. I have unfinished business there as I feel like I can do a lot better. With more training and a couple more events under my belt, not to mention a smarter race day nutrition strategy, I think I can finish a lot more gracefully this year.
"Extreme concentration is required when running Flat Rock, as you will take very few steps where there will not be some potential obstacle. Most of these will be in the form of rocks. You will very quickly learn why the race motto here at “the Rock” is “If you look up…you are going down!” Buyer beware please."
This will be my fourth time at Flatrock. I absolutely love this race. Each year it has dished out a healthy dose of suffering and I have no doubt it has more of the same in store for me this year. I have only said it out loud a few times, but I will again be dreaming of breaking the elusive five hour barrier that I haven't once been close to. Why set an easy goal?
"Set around the Dogwood Canyon Nature Park, these trail runs offer a unique running experience . . . the trails take runners through Missouri and Arkansas. This is truly a trail race with rocks, hills, mud, streams and more."
I have volunteered at this race for the past two years but have never run the course. It is less than a month after Flatrock and I have always taken a huge break during this period of the year. We'll see if my legs will come back in time to handle it. More noteworthy, this will be the last long run in my buildup for the final challenge of the year only two weeks later:
Ozark Trail 100
"The Ozark Trail 100 Mile Endurance Run is a point-to-point 100 mile ultramarathon on the Ozark Trail through the Mark Twain National Forest in south central Missouri. The race is mostly on single track trail with several water crossings and approximately 12,000 to 15,000 feet of elevation gain."
In November of last year I had the opportunity to pace a friend in a portion of the Ozark Trail 100. This is the same race I started the blog for back in the beginning. I ended up not doing it and running the Busiek 100 thing instead but since then, I have had this race in the back of my mind. Running part of the trail with my friend in the middle of the night, being at all the aid stations seeing him, and all the other runners, tackling this monster challenge inspired me. I felt the need to put myself in that place again.
I'm looking forward to tracking all the activity this year with a GPS. I vented on facebook that I was considering getting one, but because of the fact that I am a tightwad, I was having trouble justifying the purchase. A good friend sent me a gift card to purchase one. I was flabbergasted and grateful. I got a Garmin 310xt watch that will work well for both running and riding. I have tracked every workout since I took it out of the box. You can follow all that jazz on Strava if you're into the numbers.
So, 2013 is the year that I will put the fear of overextending myself out of my head and push my body forward. I will be the rolling stone. I feel strong and focused, and a little overwhelmed. I'll try to post a report after each event so you all can enjoy the suffering vicariously. What are your goals for the year?