I've said a couple of times on here that I have started to do some of my runs on trails instead of on pavement. I have to say, this has been the single most revolutionary thing for me and my attitude toward running since I first decided to lace up the shoes and toe the line at my first full back in 2004. Running on trails is so refreshing, so challenging and so invigorating that if I could, I would never run on pavement again. It forces you to focus on where you're stepping, on lifting your feet, and it engages your entire body as you barrel down into ravines and across creeks and jump over fallen logs and such. I feel ALIVE when I run on trails in a way that I've don't when I run through my usual "urban assault" routes that run next to the McDonald's & Starbucks. From a mental standpoint, it restores me in a way I can't begin to explain. It makes me whole.
I have thought about that a lot in the past few weeks as I start to plan out what my running life looks like after NYCM. For so long, I thought that this would be the pinnacle of my running career, to complete the New York City Marathon. And now that it's so close to being a reality, I really have to consider my goals and my dreams for running and for my lifestyle. A lot of this ties into what a friend of mine called my "middle-aged crazy" this summer - I feel like I want to really bring a lot of adventure and excitement into my life, but I'm not sure how. If I were a dude, I'd go out and get a sports car, probably. But I'm not, and I'm perfectly happy with my little EBV (Electric Blue Vibe), thank you very much! But I do have a desire to really stretch myself and really see how I can go to the next level with my running. I will be qualifiying for Marathon Maniacs this year, as well, so that's one accomplishment that if all goes well I can scratch off my list. And the next logical step is an ultra marathon. At least it is for me! I still have it in mind to keep going after 50 states, but there is plenty of time for that, and ultras count toward that, so I'd be getting two birds with one stone to start doing some ultras.
The thing is, I really want to do a trail ultra. And not just a 50K, either. I really want to do a 50-miler, and probably a stage race like Trans-Rockies (seeing Michelle's video got me super-stoked to do this soon, and meeting her in person made it even more so!), and ultimately, yeah, I could do something longer, I think. But, you gotta start somewhere, right?
A few weeks ago, I started to "see it" as I tossed around a few ideas with a friend of mine, as we had some conversations and came to the realization that, yeah, a trail ultra was far from a pipe dream and was, in fact, a feasible thing for us to shoot for. It wasn't anything that we couldn't undertake without the same kind of planning and training that we've been doing for a half or a full. It would just mean more miles and more time. Would that be a challenge? Absolutely, but with the right motivation and the right support system, it is completely do-able. Then after some tweeting with my other super-hero IM / 50-miler bad-ass friend Sarah, she helped seal the deal.
So, here I go. I'm about to "Say It." and all that's left then is to put the plan together and follow the plan and turn these goals into reality. Here is my race schedule for the next six months (this is in addition to the existing road races I detailed in this entry):
- January 8 - Bandera 50K
- February 5 - Rocky Raccoon 50-miler (Yes, I know 50-miler is sold out. I'm working on it...where there's a will there's a way type of thing...)
- February 27 - Cowtown Full
- March 19 - Grasslands 50-miler
Wow. It's out there. I said it. Out loud. To the internets. Now I gotta Make It Happen. Wheeee!