I have been pondering what races I would like to do next year. Life is certainly full of difficult choices, and my thinking has been all over the map.
Since Ice Age 50 and the Mason Dixon Longest Day 100K, I have not done any ultras or much serious trail running. I of course did lots of amazing hiking in some of the world's most beautiful mountains this summer, but my running has mostly been shorter and road focused.
Part of me wants to switch gears now and buckle down to whip myself into shape for a tough 100 mile run in mountains. But there is also a big part of me that has enjoyed the speedier running. It was an incredible feeling to "comfortably" go sub-3 at Marine Corp Marathon, and that left me hungry to take another crack at a PR or sub 2:50. I have also been running more and more of my track workouts and fast runs with co-workers and / or neighbors. These types of runs are so much better with good company, and I would love to keep up the workouts with these fun people.
So what should I do? I need to decide ASAP, as all of the races I am considering are lotteries or fill up quickly. I have decided to take it out of my hands and leave it to chance. Time to roll the dice!
Today I put my name in for the Western States 100 lottery. The Big Dance. I almost certainly will not make it past the lottery. I figure my odds are 5-10% or maybe worse. But if I somehow have my name drawn out of the hat, I will toe the line in Squaw Valley and see for myself what all of the fuss is about.
On December 1st I will also throw my name in for MMT 100. Held out in Virginia's Massanutten Mountains, it is my home course and generally regarded as the toughest 100 in the east (though the Grindstone 100 now vies for the title). 100+ miles, 18K feet of climbing, and more rocks than you possibly imagine. I have run numerous 25-45 mile training runs out there on parts of the course, but I have never been brave enough to put my name in the hat for this one. It is about time.
Odds are slightly better to get into MMT, but the most likely outcome is that I will not make it into either. If that happens, I will focus my sights on somewhat shorter races. I will likely go for a fast marathon early spring (maybe the Rock N Roll Marathon in DC in March) and a later spring 50 (maybe head back to the North Face 50 for redemption).
I at least kind of have a plan now, and it is actually fun to have it be a surprise based on the lottery outcomes. Whatever happens, I will be excited about the races I end up running. For now though I will keep on training and wait to see where the chips fall!