Sunday, February 9, 2014

2014: a year in preview, Insha'Allah!

Finally, let me write down my 2014 plans, second week in February, it is about time... On one side, there isn't too much mystery thanks to the early signups that are published on But that's "only" 6 races so far and you know I'm likely to aim at a few more races, having averaged 18 races/year these past 12 years. As many of you know already, after racing 92 ultras in the competitive M40-49 age group, I'm excited to move "up", something which may surprise a few, starting with my parents who, at 91 and 79, are fighting aging... Now, I really enjoyed the ride in the Masters and I made sure to take advantage of all these "younger" years. I know a few runners who either started getting injured or losing stamina around this symbolic 50-year milestone, so I do have some apprehension mixed with the excitement of becoming the youngest of the Senior division, for a short while! ;-)

Like many, my first goal in running and racing was to get to the finish line. Then I aimed at improving my times. Then I worked at getting a Boston Marathon qualifier. Then came the local podiums, then even a few international Masters podiums (Boston marathon, Paris 20K, World Masters marathon), a few overall wins and age group or even overall course records. All that trough a nice combination of hard work, some luck, and a lot of fun. For the first time, I've now an eye on a few US national age group (AG) records, for ultra distances (at 2:29, the AG record is clearly out of reach!). More intimidating challenges but pushing the envelope is what keeps me... running! And training and working hard...

With that, my main goal for this year is speed on flat courses. For that, I'm doing more speed workouts at the track, spend less time on hilly trails and log many miles under 7 min/mile. It has only been 5 weeks in 2014 but there is already a noticeable change in my pace chart:
With no further ado then, here are the races that I would like to run this year... Insha'Allah...
February 1 - Jed Smith 50K, Sacramento, CA - Checked! Good test run but not 50 yet so no points for the Grand Prix.

March 2 - Caumsett Park US 50K Road Nationals, Long Island, NY - I hesitated between the Napa Valley Marathon and the Razor Back ultras in San Martin, but that will be an opportunity to run a USATF-certified 50K. Still need to figure out the logistics. And the weather is going to be a potential big unknown factor coming from sunny and (too) dry California.

March 8 - Way Too Cool 50K, Cool CA - 1,000 entrants, but still feeling good to make this lottery for this Californian "winter" classic.

April 5 - American River 50 miles, El Dorado Hills, CA - Ironically, after appearing to have figured out this race after struggling really bad initially, it's going to be a new course.

April 12 - Mad City US 100K Road Nationals, Madison, WI - Another USATF-certified event, which I know nothing about...

April 19 - Ruth Anderson, likely 50 miles, San Francisco, CA - Race Director, Rajeev, let us pick the distance during the race, between 50K, 50-mile and 100K, we'll see depending the first quarter of the season.

May 3 - Miwok 100K, Stinson Beach, CA - Hopefully 100K this year (race was shortened to 60K last year).

May 10 - Quicksilver 50K, San Jose, CA - Our Quicksilver club main event, with the 50-mile being replaced by a new 100K. With the super stocked first half of the season, will likely go for 50K and maybe after the age group course record.

May 17 - Silver State 50 miles, Reno, NV - Max will graduate from Yale that weekend so I can't run Ohlone (putting a halt to an amazing 7-year ride). The graduation events are Sunday and Monday, so I can still run Silver State on Saturday and jump on a place in Reno or San Francisco to make it.

June 14 - 24 heures de la Voie Romaine, Lillebone, France - That will be my first attempt at running for 24 hours non stop. A popular event in France.

July 19 - Tahoe Rim Trail 100 miles, Carson City, NV - Some unfinished business there. There are 4 100-milers and 1 24-hour event in the Grand Prix, I have to run at least one of them (I'm missing two while I'm in Europe in June).

August 10 - Skyline 50K, Castro Valley, CA - A no brainer, good mid-season test.

August 23 - Tamalpa 50K, Muir Beach, CA - A challenging hilly one, but a good opportunity to break the monotony of flat miles.

September 20 - North Coast 24-hour, US 24-hr Nationals, Cleveland, OH - I've read a few good things about the quality of this event, but I have no clue what it is to run, first, for 24 hours and, second, in September in Ohio.

September 27 - Trailblazer 10K, Mountain View, CA - A local race which supports a cause dear to my heart, the Stevens Creek and its associated trail.

October 11 - Dick Collins Fire Trails 50 miles, Castro Valley, CA - I was in last year but had to cancel because of the trip to Senegal. Hope I can make it this year, that was my first 50-mile back in 2007.

November 2 - New York City Marathon, New York, NY - I put my name in the hat (lottery) but not sure I even used the right option, we'll see. Every time I mention that I run marathons and beyond people assume that I ran New York, so I have to...

November 27 - Silicon Valley Turkey Trot, 5 or 10K, San Jose, CA - IBM will be a sponsor for the third year, and this will be the 10th edition of this Thanksgiving morning event which has grown to 23,000 participants!

Phew, that looks daunting when listed on one page, doesn't it? But it's 10 months worth of racing, so there is time to adjust depending on multiple factors. I know some of you must think that I'd rather focus on one or two big races but that's not my style. Besides, I've seen people missing their entire year when putting all their bets on one event, either because the event was cancelled or the stars weren't aligned for them on D day. Now, I realize many things can happen, hence my use of Insha'Allah in the title. Especially as I'm battling a sharp pain this week in my right tibialis anterior which forced me to take a few days off this week. And for those curious about my multiple mention of this expression, see the posts about my Senegalese experience.

Beyond all these races, my goal is to run slightly less miles overall but... faster. Still try something "farther" with the 24-hour format. Yes, still excited about living my Farther Faster mantra in a new decade! And looking forward to seeing many of you again on the trails or on the web, run and browse happy out there in 2014!


ZeFreds said...

Joli programme, Jean.
Belle facon de feter tes 50 ans!
On partagera quelques uns de ces moments sur les trails avec grand plaisir.

Peter said...

Hi Jean!

Just letting you know I am hear to help you if you have any questions ! Now go out and crush these races!

Eat plenty of pate along the way...


Unknown said...

For New York, you should have used Guaranteed Entry instead of the lottery. You are fast enough !
In your age group you just need
<2:58 in a marathon, or <1:25
sometime between January 1−December 31, 2013.

Looking into details it does not give you a full guaranteed entry if you have not done the time in a NYRR race, but you are being added to a special drawing for the "remaining time-qualifier spots", and those applicants who are not selected will be entered into the general non-guaranteed entry drawing. -
So you get two drawings with your name instead of one (and may be the first one has higher chance of winning a bip ?).