Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Thirty-one 3.1 mile races in my 31st year of life? Bring it on!

People who are close to me know that I like a good challenge. Most of them also know that I can be totally foolish with different things I challenge myself with. Some of these challenges don't work out for me but might for a lot of folks. Some are just completely absurd. And some might inspire other people to do something similar or to at least think outside the box when dreaming of new ways to push their body to its limits.

Well, I've got a new one for you. Because I had such a blast pushing myself to run 30 miles on my 30th birthday last summer, I just can't resist trying to up the ante for number 31. But what can I do on my 31st? It's a long ways off, but maybe I should start prepping now, just in case? But what to do? Do I run 31 miles? Nah, been there done that (pretty much). How should I incorporate 31? Something with swimming? Nope, I hate swimming. Biking? Maybe. 31. Three, one. Hmmmmm.

BINGO!! DUH!!! What is the most popular race distance there is?? The distance I ran my fastest times in during the summer of '12 since high school?? The distance that started it all WAY BACK in high school. Why, it just so happens to be the 5K, or 3 point 1 miles. Three-one. Ohhhhh, we can have some fun with this!!

But what to do with it? Well, obviously I could run a 5K on my birthday, but that would be a pretty lame follow up to last year's 30 mile effort. No, we need to go bigger. How about 31 5K's ON my birthday? Is that possible?? What's that, only 96.1 miles? Unrealistic? Probably, but I'm putting that idea on the back burner for my 96th birthday....

Ok, how about this...31 5K races AFTER my birthday? Well, looking at the logistics of this thought, that will probably be unlikely. Race season starts to wind down in September and October, and by winter runners have a relatively hard time finding 5Ks here in Maine. I'd most likely be behind the 8-ball come spring of 2014. No, this needs to be a year long event, and what better time to start it than with the turn of the New Year?

So here is the challenge: I will run 31 5K races sometime between January 1st, 2013 and December 31st, 2013. Yeah, that's it. Does this seem easy to you? Well, let's take a brief, more in depth look at what this is going to take...

-For 31 5Ks to happen in 2013, I'll have to average more than 2.5 5K races per month. Ok, not bad so far...

-I competed in a total of 11 races in 2012 (triathlons included) with a mere 7 of these being a 5K.

-Timing. 5Ks in Maine are most common on weekends, the occasional holiday, and during a weekly race series in Portland. The weekly series occurs on Wednesday evenings starting in late May and ending around the end of August and usually includes about 14 races. Due to my busy summer schedule, I was only able to compete in one of these in 2012. This could be a major benefit for the challenge or a major let down if my schedule becomes its usual busy self.

-Money. Races are not cheap. A 5K in Maine can run ya about 20-25 bucks per. Thirty-one of them could cost me upwards of $800. Surely I can find other things to blow 800 bucks on. The weekly series cost $20 for the entire season in 2012... definitely going to have take advantage of that. This still doesn't include the cost of the new pair of shoes I'll need.

-Injuries. One injury could derail everything. I've been extremely fortunate to have never had a serious injury during my 18 years of running (just knocked on some wood). Hopefully that trend continues.

-Other events. I'm running the Bay of Fundy Marathon at the end of June and will most likely try to reclaim my rightful crown (GRRRR!) at the The Great Adventure Challenge in August. There might be other triathlons, 10Ks, and half marathons tucked in there somewhere, too. Training for these events is different than training for a 5K (what, you didn't think I was just going to show up and run a 5K, did you? I'll be a racin', baby!).

There it is. There will probably be other unforeseen obstacles along the way, but that is my own personal challenge for 2013 and for my 31st birthday. I may get there or I may not. Either way, I will try like hell and have a ton of fun, a decent amount of pain, and a whole lot of stories to share along the way.

What are your goals for 2013?

Happy New Year!

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