After disappointment and frustration at both Leadville and Hellgate the second half of this year, I've decided to revise my thoughts for 2012 and focus my races a bit more. Hellgate was frustrating, but I fought it out as long as I could, and of my 3 DNF's in ultras, it's the one where I know I made the right decision. I had only managed to eat a couple handfuls of pretzel sticks from mile ~15 through 44 (where I dropped) and the course is too demanding to get that depleted. There are some lengthy rock fields and technical descents in the 8.6-mile stretch into Bearwallow Gap, and they just destroyed me. Regardless, I loved every bit of Hellgate I ran, even the parts I hated, and I will be back.
So anyway, I had planned to give 100 miles another crack in 2012, but I've re-evaluated, and I want to get better at shorter distances before I give that arduous task another go. I also want to give myself more quality, focused workouts this year and try to get faster. For now at least, this is what I'm thinking for 2012:
Holiday Lake 50k++
Terrapin Mountain 50k
Promised Land 50k
Mt. Washington Road Race (Something pretty different, but I do enjoy climbing)
The Eastern Divide Ultra 50k (new race, 30 minutes from my apartment, looks to be a fast course)
After this, I'm (almost) definitely signing up for Mountain Masochist to round out the LUS, and if I can do the right workouts (if I even want to) this summer, I might go to Grindstone and try at just finishing, but probably not.
If I don't then my fall will be some combination of this:
IMTR 50 Miler
Cheat Mtn 50 Miler
Mountain Masochist 50 Miler
I'm not going to double MMTR and Hellgate, so which I decide to race will really depend on my training through the summer and autumn. Whichever I choose, I want to be fully prepared.
My thought for not doing anything longer until the Fall is that I can do a natural progression of mileage, focusing on some speed this spring and then making it longer as I move forward into the Fall. I've got plenty of base from this Fall, so hopefully I can bounce back quickly. I'm also only taking 15 (fairly easy) credit hours this Spring thanks to abysmal course placement by the Chemistry Department limiting my schedule, so I'll have time to do more focus workouts and actually do stretching and core work and all that good stuff.