2011 Plans

My number one goal for 2011 remains to try to qualify for the Men's Olympic Marathon Trials in January 2012 in Houston.  To do so, I need to run 2:19:00 or faster in the marathon or 1:05:00 or faster in the half marathon.  I am going to take a shot at Grandma's Marathon in Duluth, Minnesota on June 18.  If that doesn't work out, I'll also be doing a couple of half marathons in the fall to try to run a qualifier there, but that will be pretty challenging for me: 4:57 pace for 13.1 miles. 

In the buildup to Grandma's I'll be doing a bit of racing, including a 50k (which I'm treating more or less as a training effort, though if someone good shows up, I might get pulled into a race), the Shamrock Shuffle 8k, Indy Mini, and the Chase Corporate Challenge (3.5 miles).  There's quite a wide variety of distances there, and the races should serve to get me a little more sharp and race-ready heading into the marathon.  I'm not really backing off for any of them and don't expect to have great times necessarily.  I would like to PR in the half in Indy, and that is the race I'm probably focusing on the most of these buildup races. 

In the fall, I will shift focus a bit to some longer races.  I had already planned on returning to the North Face Endurance Challenge in December (and am working out how to work this race into a Trials buildup if necessary), but I also wanted to do another ultra in the fall at some point.  I was initially thinking of doing the NF50 regional race in Wisconsin, but then I discovered the Trail Runner UROC (Ultra Race of Chamions) race, which looks like a lot of fun.  The race (as indicated in the name) is billing itself as a championship of sorts and should be quite competitive.  There's some solid money on the line as well for this 100k race.  The distance is a bit higher than I've done before, but I also have much more time to prepare for the race this go around, as compared to my last ultra.  In the Blue Ridge Mountains, it should be a gorgeous course, and again, the field should be great as well.  I'm really looking forward to getting in there and competing.