Monday, 17 October 2011

Running in 2012: The early season plan

Without a CX race this weekend, I managed to do a bit of CX'íng and trail running. Saturday was CX specific drills at the South Surrey Athletic Field with Jeff. Practice included riding the course for the BC Cup Cyclocross Finals, and hitting practice for cornering and barriers. And Sunday, I got my run on.

Sunday took Sean and me on a long run at 7:30am. Long is relative this time of year, as I am building for the Marathon in May, and the Chuckanut 50 in March. So a 14 km run is the extent of my travels, as I look forward to getting faster for the upcoming year. Pretty soon, 14km will be halfway through for a long run. Until it becomes only a third of the way through. Having done my first marathon in 2011, the marathon distance now seems very doable.

I like to start the early part of the year, winter and spring, focusing on running. The Spring Series road cycling races put on by Escape Velocity are fine if you like road racing in winter conditions--cold, wet, and sometimes snowy. Props to them for putting them on each year. Don't get me wrong, I dig racing in the cold, wet, rain, and snow, but just not on my road bike. Give me my CX bike or a good pair of runners when the weather turns for the worst. The wear and tear on my swag road parts and wheels is costly, the racing is sketchy, and the payoff is not my bag. I like to focus on running because I feel it is actually a better workout throughout the winter and wet, early spring. 

Running can be (is) less treacherous than early season road racing and riding, more adventurous (to some), and kinda like mountain biking, but without the bike. Did I mention I like to run primarily on trails? I do. Trail running is the most challenging, forgiving on the body, and fun. I would much rather hop fallen trees, pound the dirt and mud, and keep my mind working to cover every obstacle safely and quickly, rather than concentrating on the sidewalk or yet another lap of the block. I did that for a few years in the morning before work. 3 laps of Boundary Park 3 times a week for one year, and I was finished with that. That is when my brother introduced me to the Petzl MYO XP Belt. A killer light that allows me to trail run for the last 4 years in the dark of autumn, winter, and spring at 5:45am. One of my most used pieces of running gear--I love the thing. I have been through a couple of them as they crapped out under warranty, but still, it is the best light to run with for the money. This little gadget has allowed me to squeeze out a 10km run before my family is even up, twice a week. 

Sean and I used to run 3 times weekdays, with a long run on Sundays, but the M-W-F wake-ups were getting to be tough as the week wore on. Now it is twice a week, and a long run on Sunday when we can stomach/coordinate it. Do I like running better than cycling? I just plain and simple like to be outdoors in the woods. When I am on my cross bike, I love cross more than anything. When I am on the road bike in the summer on a scorching day, that is my favorite. Running is the best when I am running.   

So the goals for 2012 are being set. The Peninsula Runners Trail Series is now posted on the website, and that is one of the most fun, challenging, and best of the local run series. I am looking to throw down some personal bests for 2012 on some tough trail courses starting on New Year’s Day. 

The First Half Half Marathon is a must do. I have done all but one since 2004, and my half marathon times have been coming down each year that I do it. This run is one of the best organized races around, sort of like the BMO Vancouver Marathon on a much smaller scale. 

After the trail series and First Half, I am attempting my first ultra marathon in the Chuckanut 50. I am looking forward to this being a hard training run for the BMO Vancouver Marathon. At this point, I do not know what I am getting myself into with this one, but I bet it will prove to be a kick in the pants. 

And following the Chuckanut 50, I will try my hand at the Dirty Feet Trail Race half marathon in Bachelor Heights, Kamloops, for the second time. Phil and Grace Hiom put on a great series here after just over a year of organizing some of the best (interior) races around.

All this running sets me up for the BMO Vancouver Marathon on Sunday, May 6th. After all the aforementioned races, I will have enough miles under my belt to try for a BQ at the BMO. My 10km PB suggests that I have it in me, but anything can go right or wrong on race day. My CX season has been all over the map with regards to good luck and prep, and bad luck and prep. The experience of the BMO last year will help. On a new course for 2012? That may be a bit tougher to deal with.

So there it is. Some respite from CX racing this weekend. Pumpkin Cross put on by Local Ride is right around the corner on Sunday, and I still have a costume to organize. I am happy that they got rid of the course from 2008 with that massive run-up, and make us go over horse jumps now.

Looking forward for some redemption heading into the last half of the Cyclocross season.