Planning Time (and an Awesome Opportunity!)

AJWs TaproomOne of the things I love most about the annual holiday season is that this is planning time. Sure, there are a bunch of folks running this weekend and over the next few weeks, but for many of us, this is our off-season, our downtime during which we recharge the batteries, rest our weary bodies, and plan for the upcoming ultra season.

That said, notwithstanding the few big ultra lotteries on tap for the next few weeks, most races are open and ready for our business. All that awaits us are beautiful races in lovely places with amazing people.

If you’re anything like me, when you look ahead to the coming year in running, many questions run through your head. Certainly, most of us need to balance running with the rest of our lives and try to formulate a schedule that meets the competing needs of our families, jobs, and desires. In addition, as the sport has grown, the opportunities to race are literally limitless. We can scroll through the calendar and dream of mountain runs in Colorado, flat and fast blazers in Maryland, a new exciting race in Europe or Asia, keeping that streak alive in California or simply going to a beautiful new place with friends and family where we’ve never been before.

In a way, this is our Spring Training. Hope springs eternal while our bodies reset and our focus expands. Our foundation miles begin to build up, our training logs become a bit more active, and there is a slight spring in our step that is ever so slightly returning to life after the long, slog of a summer just completed.

Hence, in the context of this upcoming planning season, I am excited to announce a new AJW’s Taproom Challenge. Keira Henninger, race director of the stunningly beautiful Ray Miller 50/50 taking place in Southern California on February 2nd, 2013, has offered a free complimentary entry to the race to the person who makes the most persuasive case for “why I want to run the Ray Miller 50.” Keira has, surprisingly, put me in charge of administering the contest and so, of course, we’ll be conducting it here on iRunFar, in public, over the next two weeks. Here’s how it will work:

If you are interested in a complimentary entry ($120 value) to this great race in Point Mugu State Park simply write a comment in the comment section to this column explaining “why I want to run the Ray Miller 50.” Entries will be accepted through December 14th with the winner being announced in the December 21st AJW’s Taproom Column. Our hope is that this timetable will give ample opportunity for the winner to make his/her plans accordingly. The selection committee has created a 47-item rubric upon which each submission will be based and each entry will be judged on the basis of this rubric. Should none of the entries meet the minimum standard (or if nobody even bothers to try) the entry will be presented to Bryon Powell by default.

Bottoms up!

AJW’s Beer of the Week
Mission Brewery Shipwrecked Double IPAThis week’s Beer of the Week comes from that beer mecca of San Diego County. Mission Brewery’s Shipwrecked Double IPA is one of those rare DIPA’s that does not taste boozy. Sure, it tips the ABV scales just over 9% and its 75 IBUs should not be taken lightly, but this is a surprisingly smooth DIPA and one worth a try, especially if you’re down that way and can get it fresh on tap.

Call for Comments (from Bryon)
Enter the Ray Miller 50/50 contest. What are you waiting for?!