Well 2013 wasn't too shabby. I'd have to say it was pretty good until I trail crashed in late Aug and things pretty much went south from there. I had a PR in the 100k on a tough course at the Euros in April, so I can check that off my Bucket List. OTOH, I would call the 50k an epic fail. The trail crash in August a week before World Cup led me to the tough call to sit out and not risk making a bad situation worse. Chicago Lakefront was my chnce for redemption after missing one of my A races and that edned badly too finishing 2nd and running a time I'd rather not print. I was already on my way to getting sick just in time for that one. So the 50k this year was just dumb shitty luck. In August pre crash, I was going to try for a sub 3:40. This year, I'm not going to focus on trying for that because our 50k in Daugavpils is moved to sometime in June (awaiting the date) because we are hosting 100k Worlds/Euros. Although I may be in shape to go after that barrier, being JUNE means it will be totally in the hands of the weather gods as I am a polar bear. I doubt I'll do Chicago Lakefront in October because the 100k is on Aug 30th and I'll be spending a chunk of September recovering. So, as much as I'd like to chase a 50k PR this year, I think I missed that train in 2013 because this year's schedule is not 50k friendly. If I get lucky, I get lucky, but June is not a really good time to chase a PR. I would do the Chicago 50 in late March, but I have a half a million USELESS skymiles I can't ever seem to redeem at that time and I cannot afford to pay for TWO trips to the US in a year. One of them has to be on a mileage ticket for that to even be possible. The ultra scene in Russia is pretty sad race wise and the calendar is for the most part a black hole and even if there were a 50, I'd need to get out somewhere in Europe to do it. Any race longer than a half needs to be done outside Russia if running for a result. So the 50 is on the Bucket List if I have a good day in one but backburnered for now.
The 100k is at the top of the 2014 Bucket List and I'm going to train at 200% spring/summer since it's on the home course in Daugavpils. It was on the top of the List in 2013 and it's not getting backburnered anytime soon. I want to PR there in August.
2013 also saw random visits from the PR Fairy not only in the 100k but in the 1000m on the track about a month and a half after the 100k! The PR Fairy is always welcome to visit! I also ran my fastest ever hot weather 10k in July in temps pushing 30C. I can easily run 38 39min+- on a cool day but I have never been able to do this much past 20C- my body just never works in the heat. Again, I'm a polar bear. I also had lots of fun runing races up to the half over the summer and fall. I discovered that I still like to speed and can still be damn competitive placing and or even winning :-) That is someting I would like to keep doing this year and those shorter races usually work their way into my training plans for longer stuff anyays since I need the speedwork to keep my legs sharp especially when I'm on a high volume training cycle leading into an ultra.
So, while the 100k remains at the top of the Bucket List, I would also like to add Do Something Different to the List. Go out to a race I haven't done yet. I up and went to the run in Orekhovo Zuevo last week and had a blast. I have known about that race for years, but never dragged my butt out to do it. I am going to need stepping stone races, when training for the 50 and the 100,so why not try smthg different? On the 7th, I'm planning a 15k some 2 1/2 hours out of town as a friend of mine is organizing it and it is more fun than slogging out the same workout on an indoor track (which has limited access til the 8th anyways over the holidays). Plus, the death of the Luzhniki Summer Cup series has left me looking to other well organized events in and around Moscow...ie. road trips may be involved. Our calendar is still forming now. I am hoping that Spring and Fall Thunder events will still be on. The 10k and half marathons at those events are well organized and the organizer tries very hard to listen to feedback and improove on his events every time. Moscow International Half in early May is also one to do. I skipped it in 2013 because it was right after the 100k. Zvezdniy Gorodok in April is also a MUST. That is an awesome event. I am still pissed off that the Luzhniki Marathon is no more. That is a spring marathon I would have done. It's quite possible 2014 will be my first yr w/o a marathon. Valmiera is too soon after the 100 this year and doing one in September or October would probably not be FAST and just a cooldown similar to what I did in 2012 at Luzhniki after 100k Worlds. My window for a FAST marathon is March April, and although there are good options in Europe, the price tag would be akin to that flight to the US if I did the 50 so, unless I win the lottery or something, it's out of the question. I don't see Belochka Marathon on the calendar and that would have been a nice training run midsummer for the 100. Any Russian marathon is just a glorified training run- for a fast time, I need to go somewhere in Europe. Soooo the marathon is backburnered. I have been more focused on the 50 and 100 since 2010 anyways. I sort of see Riga 2009 as my "swan song" in the marathon after which I changed my focus to the ultras.It's a bummer there isnt anyting in the Baltics mid-April just after the snow melts ans it's still cool weather.
Finally, in 2014 -up top on the Bucket List is to have fun and stay HEALTHY...HA and not eff myself up trail crashing at the wrong time! Knock on wood, I've been mostly niggle free the past few seasons, but I have had achillies-bursitis for over 4 yrs now such that I have just learned to live with the lump on my left heel. I underwent prolozone treatments in the US in October and am shocked to say, that the lump is gone! Eccentric dips and other exercises were only working with limited success. Prolozone promotes healing and regeneration in the tendon, and the stuff works. Thank you again Dr Rose for saving the day!
One thing in 2014 I am NOT looking forward to is turning 40 in December. Honestly, that just sucks. I run each season anymore like it's my last and try and bust my ass to the fullest when I race. I plan to race as long as I can still be competitive, but when old age starts to slow me down, I will retire from racing. I'll keep runnning so as not to morph into the stereotypical heifer American who sits and grows a bum all day, but I'm too damn competitive to resign myself to "slow" racing. For now though, I'll keep competing with the "young bucks" while I still can!