I've got good news and very bad news to start my year off. Let's start with the bad news then onto the good. I got up in the morning and sat down to breakfast and coffee and as I was checking my mail, tweets, etc., the first thing that caught my eye was a tweet from Mike Wardian of Team USA that 100k Worlds had been cancelled! Seriously? I had hoped it was joke or a mistake, but sadly after checking the IAU site, it wasn't. Apparently the Koreans lost a sponsor and don't have the money to put on the race. IAU is now looking for somewhere else to host the Worlds in October since that's what everyone was planning on time wise. It's extremely frustrating for all the athletes of course because we all tend to plan our big races months in advance so as to properly train and peak. It sucks, because now I don't know how in the hell to plan my fall racing. What if Worlds gets moved to September or even November? Can IAU even find a host on such short notice? We are a candidate city for 2014 in Daugavpils, but 2013 would be too soon. Not knowing WTF to do or what to train for following the 100k Euros in April (yes, so far, that's a go) just sucks. Do I try to plug in a fall marathon before? When should I be looking to do a US ultra in the fall logistics allowing? How can I do that if I have no clue as to when the 100k will be? Talk about a way to screw with a training cycle when you can't plan!
Now, for the good news. I started the year off right with a win in the 8k xc run out in Romashkovo just out of Moscow. I love these trails. This is where the snowshoe was back in March. The trails are awesome with rollers thrown in to keep it interesting. The hills can be tough, but at least it's a decent strength workout. Temps were -3C although no wind so it felt warmer. It was a one layer day for me and I was plenty warm. I had the option of going to the track and doing repeat 5000s (zzzzzzzzz) or going outside to play. I chose the more fun option of playing in the snow.
I really do love trail running and feel right at home in my element on snow packed trails after nearly 10 years in Alaska. I train on snow packed trails every day unless it's one of the two days I happen to have an indoor interval session of sorts. The forest is really pretty this time of year with snow covered branches. The course was a loop somewhat flat in the beginning and at the end but there were some decent hills in the midsection between 3-5k and this section was pretty trashed with loose snow left from the cyclists. The other sections had fresh, fairly packed snow. You could ski,bike ,or run the course and each discipline had its start time. The tricky thing is that everyone started individually and it left you guessing who finished where. I started toward the middle based on our numbers and after about 600m, had caught and passed everyone who had started ahead of me! It was lonely out there and there wasn't a soul in sight. So, I just kept chucking along at a decent effort hoping I'd maybe place when everyone's times got sorted out. In the final km one lonely guy did finally catch up and I thought, "Thank God at least I didn't make a wrong turn if there is ONE other runner!" The course was well marked. After the two of us finished, others started trickling in. Organizers were really quick in getting results posted and it turned out I had won by over two minutes and only 4 guys had finished just a bit ahead of me! I quickly changed into my drys on top and went out for a cooldown. I was just getting out of my Icebugs and getting dry socks after my cooldown and about to change out when they called us out of the warming tent for the awards. Efficient organization! Top 3 got sweet prizes-literally from the bakery and from the beekeeper, fresh honey :-) Will run for honey! I only eat real honey from the beekeepers not the store bought stuff. I do like the Romashkovo honey as I first tried it when I was out for the snowshoe. The beekeepers were selling yummy honey. So that's how 2013 got started!
(from 2012) but it looked much the same snow wise yesterday