Thursday, January 23, 2020

Riddle Run #21

Riddle Run in 2014. Tundra!
It's time for Riddle Run! The 21st annual version. This weekend is our local "fat ass" style ultra event. Specifically, 28 miles on Lake of the Woods trails. No wimps. No whining. No aid. No awards. No fees. No registration. No nothing...except friends running trails together. Simple. Like running was meant to be. No seriousness, all play. After all, it's just running. Maybe I'll wear my new Nike ZoomX Vaporfly Next% shoes and set a course record in the fresh snow? Or maybe not. Shoes don't make the runner anyway. Rain or snow, mud or ice, I'll be at the starting line for my 21st straight Riddle Run.

I have no set mileage goal this year. It's officially a 28-mile event, but people run whatever they want. It's a 4-mile trail loop. I'll probably run 12-16 miles. It would have to be a great weather day for me to run the full 28 miles. Forecast for Saturday is 30-32F with snow showers. I think 12 miles might be just fine!

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

My 2020 Races

My overall running goals were stated in this blog post. Now it's time for racing goals. Here are my two sets of races for 2020: my real goal races and the "yeah, I'll do these too" races.

Goal races for the year:

April BQ.2 Marathon. This is where I hope to qualify for the 2021 Boston Marathon. It's a special race that is tailored for a small group of runners (n=300) to hit their BQ times. Located in Geneva, IL makes it a reasonable drive. Multi-loop course along a flat river path makes it easy to monitor pace, keep fast, and have access to fluids and gels. They have pace setters for each of the Boston qualifying times. I'm shooting for minimum 3:35, hopeful for 3:32. Time to crush it!

August Howl at the Moon 8-hour ultra. Terrible outcomes for me the last few years. I used to dominate this race. OK, not dominate, but perform well. Easily broke 40+ miles every year. Even 47 miles twice. Had dreams of breaking 50 miles. Lately I have given up after 4-5 hours. Not this year. Mark my words...this year will be a good Howl for Chris!

October Heartland Harvest 5K. This is a small race at Heartland Community College. Nice course, great support, and my wife knows many of the college people and participants there. It's a place to show my dominance as a 50+ year old runner. Slow ultra-runner? Nope, fast 5K racer! Dominate the age group.

November Indy Monumental Half-Marathon. I've done this race several times. Never ran poorly, but never crushed it either. This is my year to shine! Domination is the plan. New half-marathon personal best? Why not!

Some other races for the year:

January Riddle Run 28M. Local trail fat ass event. It's in its 21st year. I've done all previous 20 races. Why stop now? No racing here. Too cold. Trail conditions are often snowy, icy. Just get some miles, see old friends, drink a beer. Enjoy.

March Pi Run. This is sponsored by an engineering student group at the University of Illinois. Run 3.14 miles at the University arboretum. Nice grass trail. No pressure. Pie at the end. What's not to like?

April Illinois Half-Marathon. I usually like this as a goal race, but with the BQ.2 marathon one week before, this race will be a nice victory lap after I crush the BQ time one week earlier. Nice and easy. Likely beer along the route. Maybe even a lounge chair. I know people. Fun times for all.

Summer Last Man Standing. Usually in June or July at our local Lake of the Woods trail. Simple premise. Everyone starts on the hour, runs 4.1 miles, waits for next hour to come around. Repeat. If you finish the loop early, you rest. If you cannot finish within that one hour, you are out. Last runner standing wins. I don't think I'll win, but I won't be the worst. Perfect tune-up for Howl at the Moon ultra. Lots of easy miles in the summer heat and humidity. Maybe a beer or two too.

October Half at Fort Ben. This race has kicked my ass several times. Last year, I ran well and beat my previous year by 9 minutes! I want another good year. No PR, but a good, solid effort. Race comes one month before Indy Monumental half-marathon. Nice place to test my fitness. I'll visit one of my favorite Indy brew pubs afterward.

October Aruna 5K. Another local run at the Illinois arboretum. Good cause, lots of university faculty, staff, and students. Good test of speed, but no pressure on the rolling trail course.

Looks like the theme for the goal races is DOMINATION, while the theme for the other races is ENJOYMENT and BEER. I can do that.

Saturday, January 4, 2020

My 2020 Running Goals

The Boston Marathon logo.
The new year brings new hope. And new aspirations! Time to set some awesome running goals. Challenging, but doable. Here are my goals for 2020:

1. Qualify for the Boston Marathon!
I will be 55 for the 2021 Boston Marathon. That means a new age group and "easier" qualifying standards. I need to run a 3:35 marathon to qualify in the 55-59 male age group. That is an 8:12/mile pace. But you also need to beat that standard by 2-3 minutes to actually get into the darn Boston Marathon race. So, I'm shooting for 3:32. I'll attempt to run my BQ time at the April BQ.2 Marathon race in Geneva, IL. If I miss my time in April, they have a repeat "last chance" race in September. If I miss my BQ time at both races, then fuck Boston. I'm an ultrarunner anyway!

2. Run at least one ultramarathon race.
In my heart, I am an ultrarunner. I need to complete a race at a distance longer than 26.2 miles. Plenty of fat ass local events that can get me this goal (Riddle Run 28M, Last Man Standing, Winter Solstice, etc). And wonderful nearby official events like Howl at the Moon 8-hour, Clinton Lake 30M, Potawatomi 50/100/150/200. My guess is I'll finish Riddle Run 28M and exceed 26.2 miles at Last Man Standing and Howl at the Moon. That'll be three ultras for the year!

3. Run at least 1700 miles this year.
I need to push myself to run more miles every week. Every month. Why not average 33 miles/week for 52 weeks? That would be 1,716 miles for the year. Works for me! I'd love to hit 2,000 miles. I think that is a stretch, especially since I rarely achieve 1,500 miles. If I am doing serious marathon training, then knocking off a few ultras, I should have more overall miles. Hitting 1500 would be too easy. Let's try for 1700 miles with a dream BIG goal of 2000.