The Season Begins….

-10 F.

I was staring at that number a few days ago on my car’s dashboard.

A thaw was promised within a couple of days, but I could not imagine it.

But, two days later, I was outside running in 42F conditions. The wind was making it chilly, but I got 15 km completed at a moderate pace wearing only a single layer (thermal top, tights, thin gloves, longer socks, hat). I could have used a second layer on top, but I was comfortable enough that i didn’t bother going back to get it.

Running outside again felt good. Really, really good!

Since the Houston Marathon, I have been in “off-season” mode. I would run for 30 minutes on the treadmill most days. I got outside for an occasional run, but the roads were generally too icy. I needed to physically and mentally recover fom last year’s Ironman and subsequent long post-IM running season.

The goal of the off-season was simple…maintain some regular activity and try not to gain weight. Mission (mostly) accomplished. I am up about 2 lbs and exercising about 5 days a week. The weight should come off as my training starts to intensify.

For the forth year in a row, my season will begin with the “Get Lucky” next weekend. The “Get Lucky 7k” was my first ever race, and the Half Marathon has been my season opener ever since. Aside from that first year, I always go into it undertrained. I use it as a training run and as an event to get me motivated for the upcoming season. It may also be my last Get Lucky for awhile. I have decided to not participate in Team Ortho events after this season. They are overpriced train wrecks. The swag is nice but rarely used.

Looking at the upcoming year, there will be three phases. The theme for the year is the “Final Year of the Crazy”. For the past three seasons, I have been pushing myself to more intense events, just to see if I can do it. Two years ago, I did three Half-Ironmans. Last year, I did a full Ironman. This year, I will try an ultra as well as back to back marathons. Next year, I will want more balence. I am getting burnt by this schedule and will want to make running part of a healthy, sustainable, and enjoyable lifestyle. But I have some bucket list items to deal with first.

I am entering my Spring Running season. It starts with a half marathon next week and builds towards the Pittsburgh Marathon in early May, leading to the big spring event…the FANS Ultramarathon in June. I will be undertrained for everything except the ultra. Even the marathon will be treated as a long training run (I hope to have one twenty miler completed before the marathon taper). But, the main event will be the ultra (and it will likely be my one and only ultra distance event). It is a 24 hour run. The course is a two mile loop with two aid stations. I can start and stop as I please, and I can stop leave at anytime (there is no “DNF” at these events). I want to run at least 50k (which I already did once on a training run last year). I hope to push myself farther then that. Fifty miles, or even a 100k would be incredible. We will see what I can do that weekend.

Once that is behind me, I will move into my Summer Triathlon season. This will be much different then last year. 2014 was all about Ironman Wisconsin. I was doing weekly 100 mile/7 hour bike rides to prepare. This year, I have 4 triathlons and one Duathlon…ahd all of them will be sprints. The longest bike ride will be about 18 miles, followed by a 5k run. I really burnt myself out on triathlon training last year (over 3000 cycling miles!) and I really just need to reconnect with the joy of cycling and the fun of triathlon. My rides at Elm Creek will resume, but will be 2 hour, single loop rides where I can just enjoy riding again. I may only log 500 cycling miles this season, but if I am having fun doing it, then I might just continue doing it. Looking forward, I know that I will never do another Ironman. I really don’t know if I will do another 70.3. I likely will at some point, but the training and traveling for these events are significant investments and I am just not up to it this year.

Once the Summer Triathlon season is behind me, I will move into my Fall Running season. I will actually be doing a lot of run training for this in my Summer Triathlon season. I will want to have a solid base of run training before the fall season begins. It will highlight three marathons in October. The first will be my third running of the Twin Cities Marathon (which I have discovered to be one of the nicest marathons in the country). This will be followed two weeks later by back-to-back marathons (2 marathons/2 states/2 days). It is called the I-35 challenge. It features the Kansas City Marathon on Saturday and the Des Moines Marathon on Sunday. Des Moines Marathon has a generous 7 hour time limit which I will likely need. Once that is behind me, there will be a couple of shorter runs as season closers on Halloween (“Monster Dash Half Marathon”) and Thanksgiving (“Turkey Trot 10k”).

So, 2015 is looking like the year of the run, and the end of the “crazy”. 2016 will be much more balenced. I am looking towards running no more then two marathons, or one marathon and one 70.3. I still want a couple of big events, but traveling is expensive, and the training for my current schedule is physically punishing and mentally exhausting. I think I will be able to get through this year’s insanity knowing that the craziness ends in October. Until then, I have a few more bucket list items to take care of…

Looking forward to a great season!



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