Setting my 2019 Race Schedule

My word of the year is challenge, and that’s something I’ve been focusing on as I set my race schedule for the year. I’ve had the races for the first half of the year pretty well locked down – a few olympics as tune-up and rehearsal for my big goal, IM 70.3 Ohio. But that only takes me through July. July is when my race season started last year, thanks to injury and surgery.

I started looking at what will come after July, with the idea of a challenge in the back of my mind.

I decided I wanted to finally tackle the series challenge with a local race group, which means doing at least five of their races. I’ve already got three on my schedule, so adding two more doesn’t sound too bad.

One thing I’ve never done is a back to back triathlon, racing both Saturday and Sunday. I’ve done it with half marathons, but not in a few years. So an added challenge for the year is going to be a Saturday olympic and Sunday sprint. The hardest part is going to be getting out of bed both days, I suspect!

So as of right now, here’s what I’m looking at:

  • 4/20 – Rumpus in Bumpass Olympic
  • 5/11 – Kinetic Olympic
  • 5/25 – Swimfest 4500
  • 6/15 – General Smallwood Olympic
  • 7/28 – 70.3 Ohio
  • 8/24 – Farm to Fork Fondo (tentative)
  • 9/7-8 – Patriot’s Olympic and Sprint (tentative)
  • 10/13 – Army Ten Miler (tentative)
  • 12/1 – Space Coast Half Marathon

The “tentative” just means that I haven’t plunked down the cash yet for the race. I’m also thinking I’ll add some more running races in the fall, maybe the Baltimore half, which I haven’t run in years. I should also pick up some 10ks here and there as time permits.

Given how little I raced last year, this feels like a lot, but I’m excited to tackle the challenge. I love the camaraderie of racing, and I’m looking forward to getting back out there.

The Prevalence of Cheating at Races

tswedensky / Pixabay

I’ve talked about cheating at races before, including about the people I’ve seen cheating at Disney races. But it seems to be an ongoing problem. If you aren’t already following Marathon Investigation, you should. Derek does an amazing job calling out cheaters at races. While his articles do typically focus on people who are cheating and winning awards or cheating to get into the Boston Marathon, he does also post about the average cheater, the person who wasn’t going to win anyway, but decides to cheat in some way.

There are a couple of different types of cheating. You have course cutters, who just refuse to complete the distance. You have people who create fake race bibs, either copying a friend’s or finding a photo online and using it to print a bib. Then there are the extra creative cheaters, like the people who turn a race into a relay, so one person starts the course, then they sneakily swap bibs, and another person finishes.

In this kind of information age, I’m always shocked by people who try to cheat and then deny it when they get called out. Not only should there be tracking data from a timing chip provided by the race, but frequently there are photos, and oftentimes, runners also have GPS data from their watches or phones.

Timing chips are never perfect. In recent years, I’ve had two different races where timing chip data was an issue. In one, my chip just didn’t register. In the other, I lost my chip taking off my wetsuit and didn’t realize it. But in both, I had GPS data to prove that I completed the entire race. I was never questioned on it, but if I had been, I had the information to back it up.

(I used to joke that no one would look at my results and think I was cheating, but I’ve come to see that that isn’t true – people aren’t just cheating to qualify for awards, they’re cheating just to get a finisher’s medal, which seems absolutely insane.)

The question is what should races do about these cheaters? Many of them are ultimately disqualified in the results, but if you’re just cheating to get a medal, you probably don’t care about that at all. Should they be banned from future races? For the repeat offenders, absolutely. And maybe the threat of banning after one incident would also stop some of the cheating.

Disney has tried to make it harder for people to get Goofy and Dopey medals. There are wristbands. There are photos (or so I’m told – I’ve never run either). But people can still cut the course or jump on to the course late in the race and still “finish.” Apparently, this year during the Disney marathon, there were runners seen on the monorail and runners jumping into the race at the Beach Club, which is just a couple of miles from the finish line. I really wonder Disney actually cares. What’s the harm in a small percentage of runners cheating the system, if the vast majority are doing what they’re supposed to do? Shouldn’t their focus be placed on making sure that those runners have an awesome, safe race?

While I’m not a huge fan of public shaming, I do enjoy seeing these cheaters getting called out, specifically the ones who have bragged about their “accomplishment” online. They did something wrong, they know they did something wrong, and maybe this will force them to see the truth.

And maybe it will help convince others that a DNF is worth so much more than a fake finish. There is a ton of integrity in fighting through a race, not giving up, but not being able to finish. At the end of the day, a medal is a fun shiny object, but knowing you did the right thing carries much more weight.

January Recap

KSAC Pool with slide
This pool is so nice and so stupidly hard to get to. Where is my hovercar?

You know those people who start off the year with banner workouts and then fall off throughout the year? Yeah, that’s not me. January was a low mileage month for me. I blame Disney and getting sick. Disney was totally worth it. Getting sick was way less fun, but probably also the fault of my Disney trip. Either way, I expect things to go up from here. And hey, if nothing else, I ran way more miles than I did last January!

January Miles:
Swim – 3.7 miles
Bike – 126 miles
Run – 22 miles

Yep, behind on all counts. Whatever, I’ll get there, I’m sure. (As I write this, I can envision my coach reading this and laughing, Mr. Burns style.)

But I set goals other than just mileage goals. This year, I wanted to cook one new recipe a month, read 50 books, and get back to strength work. (And budget better, but this is decidedly not a personal finance blog, so let’s just assume I’m always working on that.)

This month, I tried two new recipes, Miso Butter Salmon from the Run Fast, Cook Fast, Eat Slow cookbook and Millet Pizzas from the Run Fast, Eat Slow cookbook. The salmon was FABULOUS and I will be making it again. The pizzas were… okay. They were a lot of work and not so delicious that I am desperate to make them again.

I also read 6 books this month! (Okay, I finished 6 books this month. Two of those books were things I started to read previously and hadn’t gotten through. So I picked them back up first thing this year.) If you’re interested in that sort of thing, you can check out my profile on Goodreads, but I think from this batch, the book I’m going to recommend is The Forgotten Hours by Katrin Schumann. It wasn’t quite a book that I couldn’t put down, but it was darn close. I definitely looked forward to picking it back up.

As for strength work, I did it! I’ve restarted ChaLEAN Extreme. And it’s just as hard as I remember it being. I’m not following the calendar of workouts, just doing a workout once or twice a week as dictated in my training schedule. So it will take me more than three months to get through the cycle, but it’s still a great workout, and a great way for me to be able to track my results. I don’t expect to get swole or anything, but it’s definitely good for my body to get some strength work in addition to all the cardio.