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Friday, December 7, 2012

What lies ahead

I don't believe in new years resolutions.  I mean: who says you have to wait until January 1st to make a change or create personal goals?  In my case for 2013, I don't have time to wait for the new year to establish some goals and plan for new heights in personal achievement.  Next year is going to be jam packed with weekends of pushing myself to places (and paces) I never thought possible.

So what are the goals?

#1: Qualify for the Boston Marathon
yep, it's in it's turning back now.

It's going to be hard, but I wouldn't set the goal if I thought it was unachievable.  Being a 4:53 marathoner at my first (and only) marathon back in May of 2011 might lead you to believe that I have absolutely no shot at attaining the required 3:05:00 for the Boston Athletic Association's standard for my gender and age group.  But hard training (and 20+ pounds lost) this past year has worked magic on the fitness of this formerly fat runner and I'm confident that if I continue on this path, it's within reach.

#2: Run an ultramarathon
I just want to get my feet wet in the sport of long distance trail running with no particular pace or finishing time in mind.  It's an entirely different animal than road running and I'm looking forward to challenging myself at these greater distances.

#3: Complete the Appalachian Trail in NJ and NY
This section is roughly 160 miles and while that may not seem like a whole lot to cover in an entire year, I'm going to have to carefully plan backpacking weekends into my running schedule.

So what's the plan?

Well, #2 is only a month away: The Frozen Sasquatch 50K in West Virginia on January 5th.  I haven't had a training run over 10 miles since November we'll see how this goes!

As for the Boston Qualifier, the obvious choice for me is the Harrisburg Marathon with its extremely fast course and starting line less than 10 miles from my front door, but the timing doesn't work out the way that I'd prefer.  If I run a qualifying time in Harrisburg in November of next year, I'm looking at running Boston in 2015...and quite frankly that's a long way off.  I'd rather do a spring marathon and try to get in to the 2014 race; that's why I registered for the Shamrock Marathon in Virginia Beach in March.  While it's not listed on any of the "Top Boston Qualifying Race" lists put out there on the web, it's flat and as long as my training is solid, I should be able to achieve my goals.

The schedule for the rest of 2013 will sort of depend on how my race goes in Virginia Beach.  If I qualify, then the doors are wide open for some even crazier adventures like the JFK 50 Mile in November.  If not, then there are many options for fast fall marathons.

I've also got some secondary goals that are listed below in no particular order.  These are just some fun things I've been thinking about or working on already, and would be great if I could get them accomplished in the coming year.

  • Run at least a half marathon distance in 3 new states
  • Travel (run) as far as I possibly can one day (just for fun, not in a race)
  • Find the remainder of the virtual caches in PA that I haven't yet found.  There are only 13 left out of 99, but a few require long hikes or special equipment (e.g. kayak)
  • Finish MD/DE Delorme and County Challenges
  • Visit Remaining Webcams in DE, MD, and DC (there are only 4, and 3 of them are on the coast so I should probably go in winter or spring to avoid crowds and traffic)
  • Take better pictures

The FOCUS for the next 4 months will be the Ultra, then Boston Qualifying.  We'll see how it all plays out after I cross the finish line on March 17th, but the journey's going to be fun and I'm very much looking forward to the challenges that lie ahead.

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