2011 Trail and Ultra Race Plans?

For many of us, the end of the year is a time when racing and big adventures wind down. Instead, it’s the time when we plan out some of our key races for the following year. For many of you ultrarunners out there, it also means the excitement, complication, and possible disappointment that is lottery season. We’d love to hear which 2011 events or adventures you’re already getting excited about. Below, we list some upcoming ultra lotteries before I share my daydreams about the 2011 racing season.

Ultramarathon Lotteries
Here are a few upcoming ultra lotteries. It’s far from comprehensive. If you’ve got any others that we should list, leave a comment.

[Yes, we know that Badwater is not a true lottery, but it fits the spirit of the above table.]

My Race Plans
After a year away from racing, the first major piece of my 2011 races plan was set when I signed up for the Western States 100 two weeks ago. It’s also almost certain that I’ll be headed back to Chamonix, France next year. This time I won’t just be reporting on the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc… I’ll be running it. In fact, UTMB and not WS will be my focus race if/when it pans out. While my fitness is still lacking, I’ve trained consistently since returning from UTMB 2010. The recent move to Park City, Utah has me even more excited to train.

With my two big races more or less already on the calendar, I’m left pondering my tune up races. I like a 50 miler four to six weeks out from my 100 miler and plan on running one. Either the Rocky Mountain Double Marathon and Squaw Peak 50 mile is my likely target. I’ve run both and each has upsides. RMDM is extremely runnable (good for States), I think the course is beautiful, and it’s four weeks out from States. Squaw Peak is the better hill training for WS’s descents, is a much better UTMB training run, and I could drive there from home on race morning. On the down side, Squaw Peak is only three weeks before States. I’m actually toying with running both. I’d race RMDM and, provided I recover, sit back and use Squaw Peak as a long, supported mountain training run. Still, choosing one is likely a better option.

There’ll also be at least one and, more likely, two or three 50k to 40 milers on my schedule before the 50 miler. Antelope Island 50k is a shoe in. It’s close, it’s in late March when I normally run my first pre-States 50k (HAT Run in Maryland), and I’ve wanted to run it for awhile. I’d strongly consider running Red Hot Moab as a training run in late February, but I’m pretty sure it’s already full. Being new to the area, I’ve either got to find a few additional race options for some dry dirt running in late winter and for a 50k to 40 mile tune up in late April or early May.

I’m already thinking of running some non-ultra races, such as the Jupiter Peak Steeplechase and Mid-Mountain Marathon, both here in Park City in August and September, respectively. Sadly, I likely have a conflict with the Steeplechase… the Outdoor Retailer show in Salt Lake City, where I hope to once again race the Uphill Challenge.

Call for Comments
Any thoughts on my 2011 schedule? Remember to share what’s got your already dreaming about next year.