As 2010 starts to wind down, I am thinking about my racing plans for next year. So far here is what I have planned:
January: I would like to do at least one race in January, but I am not sure which one. I am thinking about the Chilly Chase 15K in Langley on January 16. A 15K race would be a good speed test and preview to my February half-marathon, but I have been warned about varying road conditions and weather. This race has a strong following and will fill up quickly as the end of the year approaches. If I do not do that one I will think about the Steveston Ice-Breaker 8K on January 30.
Feburary: "First Half" Half-marathon on February 13. This one is a definite (it sold out quickly when registration opened). I am looking forward to doing this race again. I have run in this race four times, all under different circumstances with varying results. In 2006 I did it as a training race as part of my Vancouver Marathon training; I was aiming for a marathon-paced time of two hours and finished in 1:56. In 2007 I raced it as an "early season fitness indicator", and got a time of 1:51:17. That time would stand as my PB in the half-marathon until June of this year. In 2008 I was returning to running after a difficult fall (various health issues), and managed a decent time of 1:52. In 2009 I had planned to race it again, but had a work-related back injury that forced me to do it as a slower training run (2:04 finish). In 2010 the race was canceled for the Olympics, so many of us are eager to race it again. I will be hoping to shave a few minutes off my PB time, but I will have a better idea of my goal as the date gets closer.
March: Often in March I like to do the Dave Reed Spring Classic 5K, but we will be away that weekend next year. So instead I will do the St. Patrick's Day 5K on March 12. I may also do Harry's Spring Run-Off 8K on March 20.
April: I will definitely run the Vancouver Sun Run 10K on April 17, although I am not sure if I will be racing this or running it with my kids. This is one of my favorite races-- I love the excitement and buzz and the huge-race feel. It attracts local and international elites, recreational walkers, and just about everyone in between. At over 50,000 runners, the Vancouver Sun Run is by far the biggest road race in Canada and one of the biggest in North America. The years I have raced this I have always gotten my best 10K times, and my time from 2007 still stands as my 10K PB (47:00). This year the race was moved to Mother's Day, and I enjoyed the morning running/walking with my kids to a 1:25 finish. With the wave start, we did not even cross the start line until about 10:30 am, or about a half-hour after I would have FINISHED had I run the race on my own. So I am not sure how I will experience this race next year; while I would like to race it on my own, I will have to see what we decide to do as a family.
May: I will definitely be participating in the BMO Vancouver Marathon, although I am not sure what distance. More on this marathon decision in a later post. There are some shorter distance races I may also consider for May.
June: I am tentatively planning on doing the Sandcastle City Classic 10K again on June 12, as well as the Scotiabank Vancouver Half-Marathon on June 26. There is also a new half-marathon in Whistler on June 4 that I have my eyes on; I doubt it will be a flat easy course, but it may make for an enjoyable weekend away and fun racing. My June racing will partly depend on whether or not I do the marathon in May.
Several of the above races are part of two of the local race series: The Lower Mainland Road Race Series and the Timex BC Road Running Series. These series award points for the top twenty finishers in each 5-year age group category, and at the end of the year prizes are given to the top points-earners. Therefore, these races tend to bring out many of the top runners in the area as well as the motivated recreational racers. In order to qualify for prizes, you must finish at least five races in a series; I would like to do few more of the 5k and 10K races in order to qualify. There are some great 10K races that I missed last summer that I would love to do this year, like Summerfast in July and the Richmond Oval 10K in August.
I will think more about the rest of the year as it unfolds, but there is one fall race for which I have already registered: The New York Marathon on November 6. I have a guaranteed entry to this race after being denied in the lottery three years in a row. I am really looking forward to this race as both an exciting international event as well as a training goal. More on this in the months to come.