Larry and I took our sweet time to step back from racing, and re-think why we do it, and where do we want to go next with it. With both of us deciding to stop doing 100M races (at least for the moment, for quite some time, with only possible break from it if I get into Hardrock 100 and he - into Western States 100, but the chances are slim to none), we took a hard look what racing on trails means to us, and what would it mean for the future.
With that said, and without going into details, things slowly and totally by themselves were forming into thoughts and ideas.
With nothing to prove and most of well-known "must do" races done, with no desire to have any kind of pressure, and with a wish to see new places in states we wouldn't have visited otherwise, we are looking into some mid-country outings for 50M jaunts on the trails (so we can actually see around in a daylight), and as summer brings back intense heat, an escape from it is planned with some week-long fast-packing trips. There are still options we consider from one to another, and we'll pick and choose them as we go, but at least the "list of where to pick from looks absolutely exciting!
We'll be local for the reminder of the fall, may be joining a new marathon, then organizing a picnic and a run for HCTR, volunteering (owning one and only AS) at CactusRose50/100M, and there is still a chance I'll register and give my best shot to San Antonio marathon in November - I am truly training for it, but saving on that decision only if I feel I have in me to do better than that off-the-couch Austin marathon past February. And AFTER that is when the real fun will begin...
Thanksgiving will see us running big loops in Big Bend National Park. Mid-December we both make a trip to see a state of Tennessee for a Lookout Mtn. 50. After visiting family in Oklahoma for Christmas, we'll, once again, spend 24 hrs manning an AS at Bandera 100k. Next for me something I eyed this year - a kind of newish as a race (if not a totally new place) Ray Miller 50M - I've read good things about the course, and Keira is an awesome RD.
I've never been to Kentucky, so thought this 50 might do well as an invitation, although at the same time Arkansas sounds great too, and Syllamo 3days offers a perfect mix for a spring break with kids: I run 50M, Larry runs 50k, we switch watching and entertaining the kids, and have fun as a family.
Another possible Arkansas outing - and on its best trails - would be in April for Ouachita 50. Might be good spacing out for the pinnacle of the "racing" season, one I just learned about - Bryce canyon 100k! I had told Larry long since we've met that out of Utah Canyon National Parks Bryce is my most favorite, and there is a spot there that brought tears to my eyes. We planned to go fastpacking there next year anyway, so when I heard of this new race - it was a "ding-ding-ding!" and an easy decision.
(There are a couple new races in my former home-state of New York that look totally awesome, but I will have to take Larry there in 2014, otherwise it's getting already crazy! And yes, things WILL BE cut off this insane schedule, in case you're wondering).
Next comes summer, a time when we long for escape from heat and humidity of Austin. Depending how things play out with lotteries of WS100 and HR100, which we can't predict and plan on not counting on (see above), there are couple of options. Basically, the idea is to run a 50M race easy and tackle a long trail backpacking experience to it as a vacation. There is a split: Siskiyououtback 50M in Ashland, OR (I did 50k option in 2005, the trails are to die for!) and then visit to another former home of Portland - and on to a week on Wonderland trail(!!!), or a combination of Elkhorn 50M and a week in Glacier National Park (with a visit to Danni) - I've ran in Montana once back in Bridger Ridge 20M (ouchie awesome!) and would love to go back.
What else? We want to be back in Flagstaff for a new 50 miler, see more of Grand Tetons - TOGETHER! and see Lisa S-B and her clan, do Zion traverse, circumnavigate 165M of Tahoe Rim trail, backpack on John Muir trail in CA and visit Banff National Park in Canada along with crazy Leslie. There is still lots to see in Wasatch region via Salt Lake city and Mindy and Jared Campbell, Wisconsin is calling my name just because, Great lakes are there for "taking" on adventure, and I still want to eat craw fish in Louisiana.
Life is so full of things to do (please don't let me start on places outside US). Happy anniversary, sweetheart! We've got years to dream together!