Here are my racing plans for 2012.

Last year I fulfilled most of the races I wanted to do. But there were some races I was not able to compete since I had a hamstring pull around Memorial Day weekend which took me off the racing season for about 2 months. This years plan is to do less racing but bigger challenges that require more training. I am also going to “run with a reason”. And I also have some unfinished business…

February 12thSnowfest 3.5 miler at R.B. Winter State Park near Mifflinburg. It is not a long race but it was a lot of fun went I ran it last year. Winters lately have been very fickle so who knows what it will do this year. Last year crusty snow made for an adventure. I hope to get some more of the local runners to make the trek up north.

March 17thIrish Heritage 10k. I had the opportunity to run Joshua House’s first 10k last year (Joshua House has had the 5k for a few years). It was a fast run for me and I look forward to this years run as a great training run for the next few races coming up.

March 31st – Tiadaghton Half Marathon. This is a trail race between Bellefonte and Lewisburg along Interstate 80 in the Tiadaghton State Forest. I really want to do a long trail race before Pittsburgh in May. Initially I wanted to the Hyner Challenge on April 21st. However, it is too close to Pittsburgh when I should be tapering in preparation. I learned the hard way last year during Memorial Day Weekend not to do anything extreme in the weeks before a race. This race is 5 weeks before Pittsburgh which should be plenty of time to recover and still get some long but easy runs in before the big day.

April 7th – Night Flight 10k. This night race near Mifflinburg was a blast last year but it will not be until that day if I know I will be running in it. That day is the Dirty Kiln Trail Race at Canoe Creek and I am one of the race directors. Perhaps I can get a mid-afternoon nap become the race late in the evening.

May 6th – The Pittsburgh Marathon. Yes, I said marathon. It is time for me to embark on my first marathon. Any running I do from Dec. 13 to then will be in preparation for this challenge. I am really excited and so far I don’t have the racing jitters… yet. I spent several weeks working on my training plan. Briefly I will be running 5 days a week. Monday is a short run with intervals but nothing too vigorous since I am going for distance and endurance and not speed. I was advised not to have a time goal for my first marathon – just do it. Tuesday is a rest day with possible weight training at the gym. Wednesday is a moderate distance run as I try to build some miles in during the week. Thursday is another rest day and strength training. Friday is a decent run that is supposed to bring the fatigue I create on Friday into the long run on Saturday. The Friday-Saturday combo is to prevent injury with a super long run (over 20 miles) but still match the fatigue that I would expect in a race. It also supposed to help my body to start burn more fat rather than carbohydrates which you need to draw upon in a marathon race. Then Sunday is a lactic flush which I run 20% of the total mileage from the previous day. (A 18 mile run on Saturday means I run 3.6 on Sunday.) This past Fall I ran 6 days a week. This five day plan allows more recovery time for my muscles to heal before the next run. Also it will allow me some flexibility since I need to train through the winter months and with other commitments like Pints for Pets and the upcoming trail race planning for the Dirty Kiln, I have some evenings to divide my time. If the five day plan isn’t working, I have time in the early Spring to go to a six-day plan if necessary.

Here is my running calendar

Steve and Dave Beiler

The other major announcement is that I will be running for charity. I will be running to raise funds for the Organization for Autism Research. I feel that I need as much inspiration as possible and I would feel better if my own personal efforts could somehow benefit the common good. Looking at the designated charities, I decided to choose OAR. I immediately thought of my two dear friends Brian and Mary Beiler. They have two children, Steve and Dave, who both have autism. My training over the next 5 months and my run in the marathon is dedicated to Steve and Dave.  Aside from that personal connection, as I did more research on autism I discovered that autism is one of the most underfunded medical challenges in our society. For more, read it on my personal fundraising page.

Visit my personal fundraising page and please if you can, make a donation and/or share the page with others.

June 7th – Rothrock Challenge. Lastly, I have some unfinished business. I really wanted to do this race so much last year but the week before the race on Memorial Day weekend I went on some serious trail running adventures near Alan Seger Natural Area and slipped on some slippery rocks causing me to pull my left hamstring and developed a case of runners knee from over-training. I should have been tapering that weekend. This year I plan to take that holiday weekend easy with a normal taper run and enjoy some time at the Stangl camp near Alan Seeger.

After that, it will be time to look back and evaluated what happened and then look ahead to the summer and fall. Another marathon? Perhaps an trail ultra?