But in the meantime, I've been training, and plotting conditioning plans for the Fall, all the while unable to tell folks what I'd finally decided on for a Fall race. I had three choices, which I'd described here.
A Half Ironman fell by the wayside, because my shoulder is still giving me a little bit of trouble (rotator cuff), and the Princeton Ironman 70.3 sold out. Rats.
I'm still eyeing some Sprint tris to keep me honest, or at least one Oly, which would likely be the Nation's Triathlon, because, while hella-expensive, it's so freaking convienent to do.
What else is left? Trail running? Let's bear this little fact in mind:
I got lost at a Christmas tree lot today, in case anybody still wonders how I’d fare at trail running. #runchat
— Tai Fung (@tai_fung) December 9, 2013
Obviously, as I said before, I haven't updated my blog with my trail race report, but it involved a LOT me of staring hard at the ground and realizing I was surrounded by Nature. Ick. But there was a reason I ran it in late April. Earlier that month, I'd done this:
Monday, I mailed a Very Important Letter. Relates to 2014 race plans. Not saying anything more right now. #VagueTweet #runchat
— Tai Fung (@tai_fung) April 23, 2014
That letter was registration for my chosen 2014 Goal Race. They don't do things over the net, they're much more "rustic."
Before I get to my reveal, I knew I had one other option, which was to pick a Fall Marathon and try to break 4 hours again, this time giving myself a TEENSY bit more wiggle room compared to the 3:59 I'd posted in October 2013 at the Marine Corps Marathon.
But then Polar Vortex Pudge.
|Kind of an actual photo of me at the end of Winter.|
I gained a LOT of weight this Winter. I bet I lost a good month of training, and about 30/seconds per mile by the time I started to claw my "weigh" (ha!) back to myself. So marathons for time in August, September, and MOST of October were out.
Then I didn't get into the Marine Corps Marathon lottery. I really NEEDED that race, because it was in late October, which would allow me time to make up for all that Polar Vortex homebound eating I did. And I missed it:
|Did you enjoy all those potato chips this past winter, fatty??|
But I'd noticed something. I was qualified to enter a November race I'd been eyeing for years. I knew that I could condition myself to go long, even if it wasn't fast. And as hard as I know it will be (DNF is a definite possibility), I knew that it would both scare me and invigorate me. Plus, if someone WANTED to transfer me their MCM bib, I'd accept it!
But back to being scared. Running a marathon in less than 4 hours is hard. I trained for it, I lived it, and I did it. Doing it again, faster, is a great goal, but I also know I'm less fired up over it if I can't do it with a timetable (late October race) that I need.
So back to staring at this November race. I was reminded of this quote:
And with that, there's a hint. More than just a hint.
My 2014 Goal Race is the JFK 50-miler. That was the letter I sent. I mailed it the day my "class" was eligible (I used to be a "B" class runner, but they've toughened up requirements, and now I'm just a "C" class runner, so I had to wait until 21 April). And in early May, it was settled: I'd qualified for it, I'd entered it, and I learned I was accepted into it (they take their time updating the entrant list).
Number of ultras completed so far: 0.
Number of 50Ks completed so far: 0.
Percent of you thinking I can do this: 0.
Yes, I have a training plan. No, I don't know if it will work. I do plan to run at least 1 50K race, but I think the important thing is where I'll do most of my long runs this summer: The JFK 50 is VERY rocky to start, and has difficult terrain for the first 15 miles, but then, from about 15 to 41, it's the C&O canal. Then, it's paved roads. So terrain-wise, I need to be very cautious for the beginning, and then settle into a long, long LONG slag. What that means to me is that I need to do most of my long runs on the C&O Canal. Sure, I need to find rocky trails, etc, but I don't plan to run this thing for speed (duh). I just want to finish. And finishing will be hard enough. Scary enough. Enough to make me realize that a DNF is a reasonable possibility. But that's why we do these things. Not because they are easy, but because they are hard.
So there it is. I'll backdate my earlier blog entries with race reports, rants, and poop jokes, but I wanted to put this out there.
It's JFK. But it might as well be the moon. And I can't simply say, "Failure is not an option," because I know as with MOST things I undertake -- it's entirely possible: