2011 was the year of no racing. I seriously questioned my desire and even the necessity of racing - my thoughts and others were collected in a series of 7 posts titled "Why We Race?" If you haven't read the series, check it out - a virtual who's who of running bloggers weighed in with their personal thoughts!
Apart from our hometown Bonfield Express 5K, which I ran with my son and his friend, this was a year that I supported my family instead. The kids once again participated in the Chicago Kids Triathlon, while Laima successfully completed her first Half Marathon in Oakbrook Terrace. Maybe because I was still involved in these races, I didn’t really feel like I was missing out too much. For 2012, however, I know I’ll be racing again, mostly on trails. Laima and I have already registered for a race mid-summer. We’re hoping that gives her enough time to fully recuperate from knee surgery and get fit enough to enjoy a half season of racing.
Following are three events I’m looking at for my triumphant return to competition. :)
April 29 Bear Trax 20K (Lapham Peak State Park, WI)
I haven’t registered yet, but I’ve heard good things about this races. The 20K is a mix of wide, well-groomed ski trails and the single-track Ice Age Trail. Not sure starting off my racing season with a 20K is the smartest idea, but if I want to be in shape for my ultra in the fall, there’s no reason to delay.
June 17 Warrior Dash (Channahon, IL) - CONFIRMED
Laima and I have signed up for 3.19 hellish miles that include firepoles, cargo nets, barbed wire, mud and other obstacles. Sounds like fun! I’ve wanted to try one of these adventure runs for a while, glad we finally signed up for one!
September 15-16 The North Face Endurance Challenge (Kettle Moraine State Park, WI)
I ran the 10K of this event several years ago and it has blossomed into an event that spans the weekend and has races of every distance from a kids’ run to 50 miles. Laima is planning on running a half marathon this weekend, while I will tackle my first ultra, a 50K. I’m hoping we can rent an RV and camp out for the weekend, hang out with Karno and do some family bonding. This is a definite maybe!
Apart from those, there is always a chance we’ll sign up for some other races. Laima is really keen on trying the Muddy Buddy, the Soldier Field 10 Miler would allow us to finish on the 50 yard line of a historic venue, and the Waterfall Extreme 10 is close to home and on a trail I really enjoy running.
The big thing is the ultra. There is no doubt that physically I’ll be ready, just not sure how I’ll hold up mentally. But I want to challenge myself and that's how I'm aiming to do it this year.
How are you stretching yourself this year?
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