It is a sign of our sport that we have to be concerned about signing up for races and/or lotteries for races six months later. But it is what is.
So here is my
The Reverse Ring February
Three of those races, MMT, Hardrock, and Wasatch are all lotteries. MMT is pretty much a given; if I don't get in on the initial random draw, my three finishes will stack me far up on the waiting list.
Hardrock? Odds are way against me getting in. But I don't get to play if I don't enter. So that goes onto my list.
Wasatch-this is also a lottery, which I do not know much about at this time.
So that above is my "perfect" race schedule for 2014. Long runs/races that is.
Okay, if I didn't get into Hardrock, then:
My second tier of races involved entering and getting selected into Western States.
Which meant I would then run the Grand Slam. Providing of course, in my perfect world, that my weekends off work would coincide.
Now, really at the time when all this was fermenting, the only two races I was slightly interested in was Wasatch and Leadville.
The Leadville 100 has an internet shitstorm going on right now-something about 900 runners with not enough aid, traffic SNAFUs, etc etc. There was talk on the interwebs allegedly about Leadville going to a lottery, although I cannot find that.
Well. I am no longer interested in running Leadville with 9000 of my closest running buddies, or stressing over another lottery system.
So the Grand Slam idea is off the burner.
But back to Western States. I think I have heard AJW blather on enough about WS$R that I am actually interested in running it. Like, one of those races "one should" run, at least once. So I will probably still enter the lottery. (And the odds are pretty much against me, kinda like HR.)
So what else, hypothetically, for 2014? Back to Wasatch. A very tough 100 mile race. Was the toughest in the country, before HR. More importantly, it would be a new race for me.
I could easily load my 2014 running schedule with races I have run before and love and will run again. But I find it important to me, to try and step outside that comfort zone, and find new races.
Don't get me wrong. I could run TWOT, MMT, Groundhog 50K, Laurel Highlands, runs at Mohican, The Ring, and have a perfectly happy year. But my goal is to be a steadily improving ultra runner, and I think to get to that improvement, one needs to become "slightly uncomfortable".
"Slighly uncomfortable" could mean a new race distance-say you have only run a 50K before. Stepping up to a 50 miler could make you slightly uncomfortable. A new race, to me, is always slightly uncomfortable-probably read that as 'stressful'. I don't know the course, the race directors, where the race starts, etc, etc.
The Black Hills 100K and the Kanawha Trace 50K were both new races to me, so I had to deal with a new location, unfamiliar course, travel to these locations. Was it a bit stressful? Sure. Did it help me, as an ultra runner? Yes. I had to deal with situations in both races and keep a positive outlook.
So, wish me luck in the future lottery entries. I sure would like to be able to report on my prep for Hardrock 2014!