A Staten Island triathlete and endurance coach ventures into the ultramarathon realm where there are seemingly no limits to human endurance. In 2013, he successfully finished the Grand Slam of Ultrarunning (picture of 2013 Grand Slam finishers above; I'm second from right), becoming only the 282nd person (since its beginnings in 1986) and only the fourth New Yorker to finish four of the oldest and most prestigious 100 mile ultramarathons in the U.S. in only 10 weeks.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Resolving Conflicts In Your Race Schedule

Like any other serious athlete, there are so many races to choose from for your upcoming season. A couple of new races have been added to the list as well (maybe the Challenge 140.6 in Atlantic City in June or the Princeton 70.3 Triathlon in September).

And now you are actually starting to place these races on your calendar. And you KNOW you cannot do all of them, so you place on your calendar the races you *really* want to do and put the others on a list as a possibility for the following season.

Don't mull over your race choices too much.


So you look at the resulting list, and you successfully narrowed your list down to...20 races.

Yikes!

I know people who do much more of that in a year. A lot of the Marathon Maniacs in this NY/NJ area have a schedule at least double that. And that's fine.

But if you're looking to really excel at some of the races, you'll need to narrow that list down to four or five "A" races so that you can structure your training plan towards those races.

Because you're not going to be 100% at your best at all 20 races in your schedule. I've yet to meet even a professional who can stay at the top of his or her game for the entire year.

And the races you don't list as "A" races? You can go ahead and do them, but it might be best to hold back a bit on most of them so that your training doesn't get disrupted too much in gearing for those "A" races. Holding back gives you a much quicker recovery.

So mull over your schedule, decide which of the races you're doing will be the ones you'll try to PR in, and then structure your training around those races.

This way you can have a year of quality along with your year of quantity next season.

Finishing high in selected "A" races is a good goal too.

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Conflicts, conflicts, conflicts! Way too many conflicts in organizing my 2014 schedule. And there is still uncertainty.

The uncertainty stems from two ultra lotteries that I will be putting in for next year.  UTMB and Massanutten.

Massanutten is there to re-qualify me for the Western States lottery at the end of next year. There are no conflicts there, win or lose.

Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc (UTMB) is a different matter. On December 19, I will be putting in for UTMB (maybe along with two others from the Raritan Valley Road Runners' haven of equally deranged ultrarunners) in France on August 29. I have historically a 40% of winning a spot in the 2014 race. Which is a much better chance than the Western States and Hardrock lotteries I didn't make at the beginning of December. The actual lottery drawing for the race is January 15.

Beautiful Alps of Europe!


And on January 4, the registration opens up for the Tahoe 200. I would love to do this race, but the date is the concern. The race starts on September 5, 2014.

Beautiful Lake Tahoe! Oh, no, I can't do both!


So if I submit for the UTMB lottery on December 19,  then register for Tahoe 200 on January 4, what will happen if our names get drawn in the UTMB lottery on January 15?

Do one of the toughest 100 mile races in the world on August 29, then just 6 days later do a mountainous 200 mile race?

I don't know, but doing 300 really tough mountain miles in one week doesn't sound too smart at all. Not to mention the travel east to Europe, the west to Nevada. I mean it can be done, but as I stated above I would love to really do well in one of these races. That means I either do one or the other.

But what if I don't register for the Tahoe 200 and then don't make the UTMB lottery? Then I'm left with nothing.

The Tahoe 200 does have a refund policy in which I get almost all of my money back with the exception of the online processing fee. I might have to go that way with that. I don't really want to do that with the good folks putting on the Tahoe race, but it's the only way to guarantee myself in at least one of the two races.

So I will probably put in for Tahoe 200 on January 4...which leads to another conflict. A minor one, but something to address.

I would love to do the Watchung Winter 50k on January 4. It's a smallish race, but one I always like to do. I see a lot of friends in that race, and so I don't really want to miss it.

But the Tahoe 200 registration opens at 11AM Eastern Time, smack dab in the middle of the race.

Since the race is not one of my "A" races, I have a feeling I will be fumbling for my phone in the middle of the 50k and registering for the Tahoe 200 on the spot.

With only 200 spots in the race, and *a lot* of interest in the race, I have a feeling the field will close out quickly, so it's necessary to be applying as soon as it opens, at 11AM.

Now that would be interesting...registering for an ultra while doing an ultra. LOL. I just hope I don't trip on a rock while applying. Texting and running can be dangerous, especially on the trails. ;-)

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One last thing...I with all this ultra talk, I will have a triathlon season next year. Right now, the Challenge Atlantic City 140.6 is very high on my list of things to do in 2014 as well as the Jersey Shore races and the Staten Island Triathlon. :-)

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