Now that we’re solidly into 2011, I’m starting to seriously consider which races I’ll do this year, my first full year of running. Last year, I only did 5ks until October, so I’m up for trying different/longer races. But based on what I know so far, and where I’ve already put money down, here are my 2011 plans. Are there any others you suggest?
F*ing Freezing Frozen Lake Half Marathon – I was peer-pressured into this small grass-roots race, which is now not really “officially” happening due to permits. But I’m still planning on running 13.1 miles in the cold with friends next Saturday. I think I’m crazy.
Indy Mini Half Marathon – I scheduled this as my very first half marathon, and I think it will still feel like my first “real” half marathon. I’m really excited about it, especially because I’ll have spring weather to train in rather than this icy, cold nonsense. May 7.
Elgin Fox Trot 5k – This was my very first race, and it’s a wonderful hometown race through downtown Elgin and the adjoining historic neighborhood. They also offer a 10 miler that runs all the way to Trout Park, but I think for nostalgia’s sake, I’ll stick with the 5k. In the past, it has been on Memorial Day, so I’m assuming it will be Monday, May 30.
Warrior Dash 5k & Obstacle Course – A warm-weather version of the Cross Country Challenge, with more obstacles and a shorter distance. The course includes cargo nets, mud, a river, bales of hay, fire and more. This may be the most interesting race of the year. June 18.
Helping Hands 5k – This Elgin race had only 110 participants, but it was my very favorite of 2010. The course was interesting – part subdivision, part open prairie trail, part golf course, with plenty of big hills – and the volunteers were great. The atmosphere was laid back yet energetic, and the post race “party,” sitting on a hillside in the grass, sipping beer in the sunshine, was simple but perfect. Plus, it supports the Boys & Girls Club of Elgin and the Community Crisis Center. I really hope they do it again in 2011. Last year it was the last Saturday of August, so I’m penciling it in for August 27. Though I may be out of town that weekend…
Gifford Park Turkey Trot – This inaugural race had only about 50 people participating (the cold mist and wind kept a lot of registrants home, I think), and no awards or even official times – just two laps around the park, and a guy with a stopwatch at the end. But it was perfect for Thanksgiving morning, and I hope they do it again this year.
Cross Country Challenge – This truly challenging 8k, through prairies and muck and creeks and giant, ice slicked hills was definitely one of the more interesting experiences of 2010, and I’m looking forward to doing it again. December 4.
Apparently if I find good races in April, July and September, I’ll have one a month for the whole “season.” I may look at doing the Fox Valley Half Marathon on September 18 – the course gets excellent reviews and it’s local – but again, I need to see how some fall travel plans shake out.
Any other suggestions?