All In: Gasparilla Ultra Challenge

Once again I seem to have committed myself to a crazy event. Deciding to not focus solely on distance PRs this year, it only seemed appropriate to follow up a Ragnar Relay with something equally questionable in the sanity department.

Gasparilla is a local flavor event and one I’ve done several times between high school and now. The past few years I’ve just tackled the half marathon as I was generally chasing a PR. With the Gasparilla race weekend happening just two weeks after Ragnar, I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do. Thinking it over since I’ll be trying training methods centered around running several times in a 24 hour period, the decision seemed kind of obvious.

If I’m doing that training anyways, why not do a challenge? Gasparilla offers several “ultra” challenges for tackling different sets of races. Since I’m doing it, I’m going all in for the main one, the Michelob Ultra Challenge.

Mich-Ultra-ChallengeI’ll run the 15K and 5K on Saturday. Then follow it up with the half marathon and 8K on Sunday. For a total of 30.4 miles over two days.

Let’s be realistic. I just have to complete the races within the time limits; it doesn’t necessarily mean I need to race them all. That said, my plan is to attempt to race the two longer distances, the 15K and the half marathon, due to them being my stronger events. I’m more likely to place in my age group with those two than the shorter 5K and 8K. (And as such, get more bling.)

Being straightforward: the chance to collect 4 shirts, a jacket, and 5 medals was a big incentive. It’s almost like doing an ultra, but spreading out the running and getting more stuff out of it.

Though as I read that, it does seem like sort of skewed logic. Just means the next 6 weeks are going to be an adventure.


Starting Goals in 2014

2014-Numbers-free-Happy-2014-New-Year-Image-WallpaperFirst post of the new year, yay! Figure it’s only appropriate to broach a few of the topics I hope to tackle this year as an athlete and casual blogger.

I would like to note that I refuse to call these resolutions. Mostly because I feel like people make new year resolutions either drunk or with the knowledge that they’ll never fully commit to making it happen. So instead these are goals.

These are things I plan to accomplish {goals are partially about how you frame them in my mind: not ‘wish’ or ‘want’ which is intangible, but an active word like ‘plan’}. All are long term and some will be creating the standard of ‘habit’ instead of ‘occasional’ action. They are also in no particular order to complete.

Run injury free.

This seems obvious, but is harder to maintain than it seems. Luckily 2013 went fantastically in regards to a lack of injury. Yes I am always dealing with the issues in regards to my knees (more like a medical condition than an on-going injury) so this is more not getting hurt in a way that takes me out of the running game.

Incorporate strength training as part of my routine.

Last year when I was moderately doing strength training my running showed improvements. Having a stronger body in areas I was previously weak, like my arms and core, seems to have a positive effect on my running ability. Besides, I just want to be healthier and stronger all around (and able to do better at a Tough Mudder). So I want this to become as natural to my routine as the running is.

Be spontaneous.

With such tunnel vision in 2013 on racing the Marine Corps Marathon, I really threw away several chances to just go out and race with friends. It’s those events that I may not have committed to until the night before, which is something I strategically avoided last year. But I remember the fun of just randomly choosing to do a race within days of it. So in 2014, I’d like to be a bit more spontaneous about jumping into events. Without anything giant on my calender past February, I think this one will be relatively easy to accomplish.

Cross train.

With no crazy marathons coming up, there is no reason to feel guilty for substituting a run with a ride. Ideally I’d like to have double days where I run and ride (and in the warmer temps, swim). For 2014, I’ll build my ability to cross train which may just lead to my first triathlon.

Go out of my comfort zone.

I took a huge leap out of that zone by tackling marathons. Now that I’ve got 2 under my belt, I’d like to continue to challenge myself in more than just chasing PRs. This may mean tackling sports or events I’ve never done before (hint: triathlon). Eventually I’d like to try an ultra (50K and nothing longer!) though that may be saved for later. Already started in 2014 with my first Ragnar Relay in early February and a potential challenge event at Gasparilla.

Post more that isn’t just training or race recaps.

Yeahhhh, this is my weak point. I go through stages of having ideas for general topics. Then nothing unless it’s about a race or something specific in training. So I’m going to try and be better this year about writing down topic ideas as well as discussing a bit more of the above listed items. To prove I’m at least trying.

That pretty much covers my main areas to tackle. Though I will add as a wishlist sort of thing that I totally want a GoPro camera so I can make videos relating to sports. It would be mad fun. But as much as I want it, I’ll usually spend that money on running shoes or a race entry…

I’m In: Ragnar Relay Florida Keys 2014

I figured it would be a couple years before being able to snag a team for a Ragnar. Well I was wrong!

PrintMembers of my Florida running group are teamed up to run the Ragnar Relay Florida Keys in February 2014 and one of their team members had to drop out. So they asked me! Yay!!! Excitement! (I’m excited if you can’t tell.)

So I’ll be crashing van 1 on the mixed, regular (so co-ed, non-ultra) team. Runner #4 means I’ll be logging about 18-19 miles assuming I don’t get lost. The course runs from Miami to Key West – so 12 people splitting about 200 miles. Fun. Does this make me crazy?

Means there’s no break from training. Back to it!