This year, I only have one major running goal.
I want to run farther than I've ever run before.
I recently realized that the last time I ran farther than ever before was in November 2010, on the day of my first marathon in Philadelphia. Since then, it's been 26.2 or bust, and I want more. I even designed my own bracelet to remind myself of this goal every single day:
Custom bracelet by ericasaradesigns.com
In order to accomplish this goal, I've set up a nice progression of smaller goals and corresponding races that will help me continuously run long.
1) Run my first trail race - Tyler Arboretum 10k Trail Run - April 6, 2013
Sounds pretty weak when I'm talking about big, long, scary distances, but this run will give me a nice taste of racing on the trail. I am excited for the smaller, friendlier crowds I've heard so much about. My first EVER race (in which I won 2nd place in my age group) was a road 10k in Peekskill, NY, so it is only fitting that my first trail race will be also be a 10k.
Being squinty at the 2009 Jan Peek 10k, my first road race.
2) Run my first trail marathon - Delaware Trail Marathon - April 27, 2013
This goal is more substantial in my mind. I have successfully completed 4 road marathons, but almost all on flat courses. This course, though "easy" by trail standards, will have 4 creek crossings and many more hills than I am used to running during a road 26.2. The course map below does not ease my nerves much, since I'm really not sure what to expect besides wet feet and some chicken-crossing-the-road action.
In preparation for my first trail marathon, I am training on hilly trails at least 1-3 times per week and also adding in an extra hilly workout on the road. I know this race will be difficult, but it will be a perfect warm up for goal #3.
3) Run my first Ultramarathon - Dirty German 50k - May 26, 2013
The ultimate goal. 50 kilometers (roughly 31 miles) will be approximately 5 miles farther than I've ever run before. 5 miles sounds like a piece of cake relative to 31 miles, but knowing what my body feels like at mile 26 of a marathon, I will need to dig deeper than ever to get this done. This course is also easy by ultra and trail standards, and conveniently close to home, located in Pennypack Park in Philadelphia.
All the reviews I've read of this race have been glowing. In fact, some of the German-themed Oktoberfest aid stations even serve beer! The Germans might be onto something, because after sipping a cup of brewski around mile 19 of the 2012 Philadelphia Marathon I managed to shave 4 minutes off the marathon PR I set only 3 weeks earlier at the Marine Corps Marathon.
After drinking beer, during a marathon, and then immediately seeing family and friends, one tends to become very emotional.
Photo courtesy of Eileen Graham
4) Run my first 50 mile race - TBD
Too scary to plan for until after my first 50k. Then, I will reassess and pick a 50 mile race for the Fall.
Needless to say, I am
terrified excited for the year to come!