Joining the #WickNation
First of all, I'm excited to announce that I've joined the Swiftwick team of athletes. I've loved these socks since I first tried them last year while working at Fleet Feet Chicago. I've tried just about every brand of socks on the market and no sock wicks better. When they come out of the washing machine, they're essentially already dry. I used them when I ran Cayuga Trails 50 Mile last year, which included several waist-deep creek crossings, and I had no problems with blisters. My favorites that I've tried are the ASPIRE, though I'm excited to try others like the PERFORMANCE and the wool-based PURSUIT soon! Additionally, these socks are made the United States, which is great. For more information on these kickass, patriotic, hydrophobic stockings, check out this rave review over at iRunFar.
Training and Psycho WyCo 50k
Meanwhile, my training (which you can now see on Strava) has been progressing pretty well, all things considered. This winter has been a rough one for us Midwesterners, but I've managed to run 80, 80, and 90 miles the last three weeks, which is certainly better than I was averaging most of last year. I've gotten a few light workouts in as well, though I think I need to mostly focus on mileage right now while ramping it up. The workouts are leaving me too tired, so until I'm squarely settled in the 100-120 mile per week range for a month or so, I think I need to back off on the intensity a bit.
Like I've been telling all my coaching clients, it's important to remember right now that when ground conditions and the weather are total crap, it's the internal load that matters most—the effort exerted by the body—not the external measurement (i.e. pace). Spring will be here soon enough and as long as we've been working hard through the winter, the speed will come back.
I feel like my fitness is coming around well enough for my season opener this weekend at the Psycho WyCo 50k in Kansas City. I was hoping to chase after the course record that Scott Gall set last year at 3:59 (it's a tough, technical course!). But with 10 inches of snow on the ground, and likely no snowmelt between now and race day, that's probably off the table (along with the $500 on offer for breaking it). But it's all good; I've heard great things about this race, and I get to see some old friends from the trails, including my Salomon teammate David Wakefield and my buddy Mark Thompson.
No World 100km Championships = Boston?
Finally, I read some unexpected news today. The IAU World 100km Championships in Latvia, which were to be the focus of my year, were cancelled. This is a real disappointment, because the World 100km Championships were cancelled last year too. They were supposed to be in South Korea last year, but the host organization apparently couldn't come up with the funds. Then South Africa offered to host once South Korea backed out; but South Africa ultimately backed out as well, and the 2013 Championships did not take place.
The press release from the IAU states that "[t]he Local Organizing Committee unfortunately has not been able to secure the sponsorships required to host the championships." Call me crazy, but why don't we require bidding committees to have sponsorship secured when they bid?! According to the IAU, they are in the process of securing a new host country. However, this all seems eerily similar to last year's fiasco. I'm optimistic that a backup venue will be found, but it's hard not to let this news have an impact on my racing plans.
I had planned on racing the Mad City 100km /USA 100km Championships in Madison, Wisconsin this April in order to compete for another U.S. Title and to cement my spot on the World Championships Team for the U.S. However, with this new uncertainty, I don't think I'm going to race Mad City anymore. I'd hate to structure half my season around it and then have it not matter (for World Team purposes, anyway). Additionally, I already have two qualifying marks that may well get me selected to the team anyway (from my races at Tussey mOUnTaiNBACK and JFK 50 last year).
The reality is I'd be much more excited to race a few other races in April/May than Mad City—namely the Boston Marathon and the Ice Age Trails 50 Mile. I've wanted to race Boston for quite a while, but it just never really made sense in my schedule before. I thought that 2014 would be the year, but I abandoned that thought once I decided to race Mad City. So it would be exciting to put Boston back on the schedule. The difficult thing at this point might be getting into the race! I seem to be right on the cusp of their sub-elite standards, so we'll see if I can secure an entry.
I would also like to return to Ice Age. I was fourth last year, in one of the deepest years in race history. I felt I had a good race for my fitness at the time, but I was still returning to form following 2012's injury woes, and I know I can do a lot better on that course. I would like to try to tackle Andy Jones' stout course record if preparations go well between now and then. Ice Age is a storied race, and Jeff Mallach does an outstanding job with it.
So that's what's going on with me. I hope you're excited about your own training and racing plans too!