Last August, while running the TARC 12 Hour Race, I confided in my friend Steve (author of 12 Ultras in 12 Months and A Clydesdale's Tale) that I was going to take a year off from ultra running. The injuries I had been plagued with for the past 18 months needed to be dealt with. I felt that running ultras were preventing me from getting healthy and I just wasn't having any fun running hurt all the time. Steve, being a kind and compassionate friend say, "Quit whining you wuss!" and immediately picked up his pace and left me in the dust. I take some credit for motivating him to a second place finish in the race. It was here, in the lonely woods of Medfield, when my plan to run the 2012 Grand Tree Trail Race Series was hatched.
I have fond memories of the Grand Tree Series from years past and was hoping my return to the series would rekindle my passion for running which had been lacking for many months. I ran my first Grand Tree Race in October 2006 at Diamond Hill which was also my first trail race ever. It was love at first run. I was hooked on trail running! While competing in GT races I've run on amazing trails, met many friendly runners and made a few good friends. Yes, this is the place I wanted to be in 2012.
My goal for the series was to accumulate 1000 points or more and finish in the top three in the Stonehead rankings. That may seem like an unrealistic goal for an old, slow guy like me but I had a plan. Since I'm slow, I wouldn't score many points in each individual race, perhaps 60-65 at best. The only way I could reach my goal of 1000 points would be to run most of the races in the series. Perseverance over speed! I planned to run 18 of the 21 possible races, combining weekend camping with the races held in far western MA and RI. I was really happy with this plan and looking forward to running in new locations and trying out some of my new camping gear.
Well, with the first race of the series just three days away my plan just blew up! I haven't run in over three months and it's likely I won't be running in the next month or two. Although I'm finally seeing some improvement with my SI issue it looks like I'll miss at least the first five or six races in the series. I have zero chance of reaching my goal if I miss any of the spring races. I'm not sure if I'll run any summer races (since I hate the heat) but will likely run a few of the fall GT races. The up side to running fewer races is that I'll save a lot of money on gas, camping permits and race registrations. I'm trying to look for the silver lining here people!
Back to the drawing board.