2015 Race Plan

Two weeks ago, I posted about my shift from focusing on one big goal to another. Instead of chasing a Boston Qualifying road marathon time, I'm shifting gears completely. I'm skipping the Rehoboth Beach Marathon in favor of getting more quality trail runs in during the remainder of 2014.

And this winter, I'm heading back into the woods to train for one of the toughest 50k races on the east coast,  the Hyner Trail Challenge, which takes place on April 18, 2015.

hyner instagram

Why Hyner? Well, ever since I first heard of this epic race, I've been afraid of it.  And who in their right mind wouldn't be afraid of an elevation profile like this for the 50k:

hyner 50k elevation
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I've read race reports and seen photos of the last couple years, and always said that it would be "too tough" for me to run because I live in the flatlands of South Philly.

2014HynerChallenge 279
photo credit: peter lopes

My biggest motivators are often the things I'm most afraid of. I never ever thought I could finish a 50 miler prior to 2013. And yet I did.  One of the most important things I've learned from endurance running is that once you finally push yourself way past your comfort zone, it becomes a lot easier and more enjoyable to do it again.

I know training for this race is going to be challenging, especially if we have a harsh winter like we did last year. I'm going to head to the trails as much as possible, and do some serious incline/decline training on whatever hills I can find. After a year of focusing on my wedding and running low mileage on roads, I'm ready to ramp things back up to intense ultra training again.

The other not-so-secret reason I want to run (and power hike) the Hyner Challenge, is because it will be an excellent training run for another race that I can't seem to stop thinking about.

The Laurel Highlands Ultra 70.5 Mile Race

laurel ultra
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This race has been on my radar for a couple years, and I've heard amazing things about the beautiful, historic Laurel Highlands Trail it is run on. This race is also now one of the few Western States 100 qualifiers on the east coast, so it could be fairly difficult to get an entry. It's safe to say that most ultrarunners dream of running the prestigious Western States 100 (myself included), but that is not my motivation for running Laurel Highlands. I want to go out and experience one of the most difficult and beautiful ultra races on the east coast.

When I consider my 2015 plan, it still seems pretty crazy to me. I haven't run anything close to an ultra distance for about a year. But I am confident that with hard work and dedication, I will spring back to become an even better ultra and trail runner than I was last year. When I think about these two races, I get excited for the challenge ahead of me. Will I regret signing up while I'm running in the snow in February? Probably. But I know it will be worth it when I finish two of the most difficult trail races in Pennsylvania.

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8 thoughts on “2015 Race Plan

  1. Amaaaazing!!!! I'm so excited for you! Can't wait to chat more in person. I wanted to head into ultras this year, prior to my injury, but I'm hopeful I can still do it toward the second half of 2015! I don't know you increeedibly well, but I feel like trails are so fitting for your heart and soul. Can't wait to cheer your progress and racing!
    Stacey recently posted...New York SpectatingMy Profile

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    1. Danielle @ Trails & Cocktails

      Post author

      Thanks, Stacey! I am scared but excited for next year. If you're running Vermont in May you will definitely have a good enough base for at least a 50k next year! Let me know if you need any suggestions/advice, I'm not an expert but know of a lot of good books and online resources :)

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  2. So excited for your plans! I've been struggling with the exact same questions - do I try to run a faster marathon / BQ or go after more challenging courses and distances? Why can't I have both?! I just ran a 50 miler in September and have Philly and Rehoboth Beach marathons on tap...when I was planning the year I naively thought that running 50 would make marathons "easy". Um. No.

    I think I'm leaning towards the ultra side...something about the training is more fun. It's cumulatively harder, but I feel like the workouts are more about the experience than the results...the idea of going all out for a BQ just doesn't sound like that much fun right now.

    Way to commit! These races are going to be rad!
    Kate recently posted...Race Planning – 2015 RadarMy Profile

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    1. Danielle @ Trails & Cocktails

      Post author

      Kate, the more speed vs. more distance struggle is something I wrestled with all this year! When it really came down to it, I realized that I would miss trail running too much by training another 1-2 years for a BQ. Of course one can incorporate trails into that training, but the kind of long and SLOW runs I like to do on trails are really not conducive to a BQ :). If anything, I'm just postponing a BQ dream for awhile. Who knows what I'll feel like doing in a couple years. Follow your gut!

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    1. Danielle @ Trails & Cocktails

      Post author

      Thanks, Nicole! Ultras are definitely a different animal than the marathon but they are fun in their own way. I feel a little bit sad backing off from the BQ attempt now, but I know it will still be there when I want to come back to it. :)

      Reply
  3. I struggle with a similar decision every year, do I want to run a fast 5k or train for another marathon - so many decisions. At the end of the day you are picking what you are truly passionate about that's all that matters - good luck with the training it sounds like an awesome adventure!

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