Saturday, March 30, 2013

2013 Race schedule for the remaining year

For 2013 it’s Cactus Rose 100 Mile or bust; the trail ahead will be painful, wearisome, and soaked with gallons of my blood, sweat, and tears...I wouldn’t expect anything less when it comes to training for the toughest race in Texas.  First up is a return to my first 50K from last year, Hells Hills 50K.  I had my heart set out on running a Sub-6 Hr race at Hells Hills, but my recovery from Rocky Raccoon 100 Mile has been slow and so far incomplete (I never did run a 5K as I said would at the end of my RR100 race report...).  My ITB is still nagging me at times, but after several weeks on rough trails, daring my ITB to rear it’s ugly head hasn’t let me down yet, and I guess should be thankful I’m in good enough shape to even consider a 50K two months out from the epic sufferfest that was Rocky Raccoon.  Hoping for a Sub-6 Hr finish at Hells Hills, but I won’t risk aggravating my ITB to do so, I’ll be happy just to finish injury free.  I also want to leave my legs still feeling fresh and strong for the next race three weeks out, the Possum Kingdom 52 Mile run.

At the moment, I’m still unsure about tackling the 52 Miler for Possum Kingdom and may drop to the 55K instead because the course profile scares me a I’ve said on my Bandera 50K Race Recap, running hills has never been a strong point for me, and the PK race has around 4,200ft elevation gain from my estimates; it may be too soon to take on such a challenge only three months after Rocky Raccoon.  It’s not just the elevation gain either, the heat of a late April race plays a factor too, especially if I’m going to be out on the course for 12+ hours...thankfully, I had all last year to learn how to deal with running in the hot Texas Spring weather.  The PK run will be a good barometer to gauge my hill climbing ability and help me mentally to get ready for Cactus Rose, who’s hills and terrain are even more brutal.

The summer stretch of races will be a torrid flurry of 5 Ultra races only 3 weeks apart, starting with one of my favorite trail races from last year, Whispering Pines 50K.  I’m a little bit bummed that WP50K was moved from it’s later date back in October of last year, it would have made a nice last training run for Cactus Rose, but I won’t miss out on an excuse to visit the gorgeous trails of Tyler State Park.  I probably fear the next four races of the Capt’n Karl series as much as CR100, they’re rough and very technical trails held at night in the middle of the scorching Texas Summer; my biggest concern is recovering from each race in time for the next, as I usually come out of these 60Ks feeling extremely beat up after stumbling over rocks all night and need about a week or two to feel recovered.  Burnout and injuries is a huge concern from running so much grueling ultras over such a short period of time; while a buckle would be nice from completing all four Capt Karl races, I’ll probably axe Mule Shoe or Colorado Bend from the schedule (I loved Reveille Ranch from last year too much to skip) to save my body from the wear and tear.

Hopefully I’ll come out of the Summer races in one piece, because I’m really looking forward to the (unannounced as of yet) 50K trail run at Lake Texoma late in September.  The Cross Timbers Trail Marathon held in mid February at the same Lake Texoma trails, was my first trail Marathon, and was the spark that really ignited my love for the trails and the challenge they present.  I couldn’t attend the race this year because it was so close to Rocky Raccoon, so I’m excited about making a return trip to Lake Texoma and even exploring the “Lost Loop” section of the trail that the new race will cover for the first time.  The trails at Lake Texoma are punishingly tough as well, with steep, practically vertical in some places, climbs making it a great last long training run for my main goal race of the year, Cactus Rose 100 Mile.

Image from

Besides the pretty buckle, the main reason I have a desire to test myself against Cactus Rose is for motivation to take my hill training seriously this year.  If I’m ever going to stand a chance of completing much tougher races that I dream of running someday like Western States 100, Pine to Palm 100, or the Tahoe Rim Trail 100, all races featuring well over TWICE the elevation gain of Cactus Rose and all starting at high altitude in the mountains, then I need to be able to complete much tougher 100 mile runs than the relatively flat Rocky Raccoon before I even dare think of running those dream races.  Even after I complete Cactus Rose, I still feel those races I listed above are at least 2 to 3 years away before I feel confident enough in my legs to sign up...the mountains those races run over aren’t going anywhere, I have the time to make my own way there.

2013 Race schedule for the remaining year:

Hells Hills 50K                           April 6th
Possum Kingdom 52 Mile         April 27th
Whispering Pines 50K              June 1st
Pedernales Falls 60K               June 22nd
Mule Shoe Bend 60K                July 13th
Colorado Bend 60K                  August 3rd
Reveille Ranch 60K                  August 24th
Lake Texoma 50K                     September 28th (Race has yet to be official)
Cactus Rose 100 Mile              October 26th
Isle du Bois 18K                        December 1st
Dallas Marathon                        December 8th

Wait, what the heck is a road Marathon doing on this list?  I really need to get the Sub-4 Hr road Marathon finish off my back, it’s just one of those goals that probably every runner wants to accomplish.  The Dallas Marathon was also my first and only road Marathon as well, so I’ve always had the desire to return again soon, though I’m not sure I’ll be able to seriously race any event for the rest of the year after Cactus Rose; based on how slow I recovered from Rocky Raccoon, I probably won’t be able to even run for a month after Cactus...


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