As I eluded to in a previous post, I have some decisions to make. The amateur endurance sports scene in Virginia and even just here locally has a about any race of any distance that an endurance athlete or a fitness enthusiast might want to do. I figure I'll do 'em all...eventually, but when? And how would they fit into my race schedule?
The big distance in cycling and running is the 100 miler. So far, my furthest distance continuously running has been the 2 Richmond Marathons that I completed in 2010 and 2011. I've had to dig deep to figure out if I'm ready for the next step, which is a 50k (that would be a 31 miler for the uninitiated). What I came up with is that it is ok for me to participate in an event without reaching some high level, top of the age group performance.
This may sound familiar in that it is in keeping with my 2012 goal to spend more time "enjoying the ride" and focusing less on the high intensity, results driven, performance oriented mindset that I usually find myself in, but in reality that goal was a little broad and I wasn't sure how it would manifest itself. I looked at my Tentative 2012 Event Agenda and everything I've made plans to do I'll be doing with a high intensity effort, so I needed something...something challenging in the way of completing and NOT competing.
Then I saw where the New River Valley 50k was getting USATF certified as a 50k AND also at the 26.2 mile mark, which means that a participant could qualify for Boston at the 26.2 mile mark, but would still need to get to the 31 mile mark to officially finish the race. I thought "Perfect! I can run it this year with a focus on holding a steady pace to the finish while simultaneously getting a "feel" for the course so I can come back in 2013 and race it hard to the 26.2 mile mark and then just meander to the finish from there." I think I can do this, but I'm going to wait a bit longer to register just to make sure it still feels right in a month or 2.
As for cycling, my longest ride so far has been last years Storming of Thunder Ridge metric century ride, a 67 miler. I remember thinking along about mile 55 that this was taking a marathon quality effort. The last 12 miles were brutal for me, but I hung in there...and still made it to work on time @ 3:00pm. This year SOTR has eliminated the 67 mile route and replaced it with a 75 miler, or I could do the 100 mile Full Century. I have actually agonized over this and time is running out. In the time available, I can only get trained up for around 50 miles of high intensity cycling (kinda like last year), so why even consider 75 or 100 miles? Answer, because it would allow me to experience a new level of endurance. I'll know going in that I will have to hold back in order to finish, that is not something I have experience with, but it is a good skill to have.
I think I'll sleep on it one more night and register for SOTR tomorrow...my decision will be available by reviewing my Event Agenda.