Go For It: My 2012 Running and Travel Calendar

I went to a high school that begins each year by reading Oliver Wendell Holmes’ poem The Chambered Nautilus, which is rich with imagery of growth and development. It’s about making fresh starts, working diligently, and building and achieving something greater each year. Tradition combined with optimism dictate that the Head of School says after reading the poem, “Let’s make this the best year yet.”

I’ve been thinking of that poem and phrase as I plan the next year’s calendar of races and travel. I’m going on 43 and starting my 18th year of running. Why not make it the best year yet? Why not explore new territory and go farther than ever before?

I’m feeling pretty pumped since the North Face 50 two weeks ago (race report) and receiving the news I got into the Miwok 100K. The growing demand to gain admittance to trail races (which are limited by permitted spots available), plus our family’s complicated schedule, prompts me to plan a calendar now of races and travel, which in turn fuels optimism and motivation.

I decided to share my 2012 race calendar below. What’s on your calendar for ’12?


Jan. 8 Epiphany Run: This fat-ass-style ultra (see 2011 report) is a training run, pure and simple. My legs will be tired from the Dec. 31 Rodeo Beach 50K. I’ll roll out of bed and see how far I can go.


Nothing but long runs and speed training, alternating between flatter road running in prep for Oakland Marathon and hilly trail runs.


Mar. 25 Oakland Marathon. Last year I ran it as a training run for American River 50M (race report). This year, I want to push it and run a faster time, which means goal-specific training and pacing. This isn’t a PR course, given the hills and turns, but I’d like to get in under 3:15.


No races planned. We are spending Spring Break in NYC (hello, Central Park!).  I’ll peak in long runs and then taper for Miwok.

A runner on the Miwok course.

(Photo above courtesy of Gretchen Brugman of Daily Adventures, a talented ultrarunner and blogger who will be at Miwok again.)


May 5 Miwok 100k (62 miles). This will be the longest I’ve ever run. The course crisscrosses the Marin Headlands and attracts a very competitive field. I can’t wait!

Following Miwok, if my legs aren’t too trashed, I’d like to do the Tilden Tough 10 on May 20, the first event in the East Bay Triple Crown Series (see below in June).


I’ll try to hold onto my 2011 crown in the East Bay Triple Crown Trail Challenge, following the Tilden Tough Ten:

June 3 Lake Chabot Half Marathon

June 17 Woodminster 9M XC

I was stoked to pace or crew for Western States on the third weekend in June, but it turns out I’ll be in Jackson, Wyoming, during that time—a nice alternative!


I’m actively lobbying Morgan and the kids to get to Telluride, Colorado, on or around July 1 so we can do another amazing river trip with my brother and sister-in-law, celebrate 4th of July in Telluride, and then be there July 13-15 to pace and/or crew friends who are doing Hardrock. Given how incredible pacing Hardrock in 2011 was, I would love to repeat the experience, with family in tow.

Later in July, I’m heading to four days of Geoff Roes’ Alaska Trail Running Camp. Then Morgan and the kids fly up to meet me for an Austin Lehman Family Tour of the Kenai Peninsula. Pinch me!


Aug. 12: I’m hungry for a 50K PR. I’ll bust my butt to go sub-4:45 at the Skyline 50K.


Nothing serious. Adjusting to school, focusing on work. I may do Coastal Trail Runs’ Diablo Marathon or 50K on Sept. 15 as a training run.


Not sure. The Dick Collins Firetrails 50 or companion Golden Hills Marathon, second weekend in the month, are always tempting. But I’ll probably skip it and just train if we do the November event below.


Nov. 10: The Catalina Eco Marathon is on my radar. Morgan and I ran the Catalina Marathon back in 2006, but this is a different course that eliminates the gut-wrenching early-morning boat ride to the start. If we can get the time off and if Morgan wants to go, I’d like to do it.


The North Face Endurance Challenge 50M in the first weekend of December—seeking to improve my time and overall experience there significantly.

I can’t wait for the new year! I encourage you to share your race and travel plans in the comments below.

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9 Responses to Go For It: My 2012 Running and Travel Calendar

  1. Phil December 18, 2011 at 11:58 am #

    Very cool Sarah! Good luck with your Miwok training. I ran the Catalina Eco last month, unfortunately a huge storm came through the night before the race, so they had to reroute it. We still ran 1/2 of it in ankle deep mud and thick fog.

    I’m hoping to run some local trail races with destination races of the LA marathon, Big Sur, Madison, SF, ET Midnight, Bizz Johnson, Mt. Desert Island (Acadia NP), and JFK 50.

  2. footfeathers December 18, 2011 at 12:31 pm #

    Sweet season you have planned! We’ll be crossing paths a few times; here’s mine up through Aug:
    Jan 8 / Epiphany 60k, CA
    Jan 28 / Coyote Hills 13.1 Mile, CA
    Feb 18 / Bay Breeze 13.1 Mile, CA
    Mar 10 / Way Too Cool 50k, CA
    Mar 17 / Badger Cove 13.1 Mile, CA
    Apr 21 / Diablo Trail Challenge 50k, CA
    May 5 / Miwok 100k, CA
    May 12 / Ice Age 50 Mile, WI
    Jun 9 / San Diego 100 Mile, CA
    Jul 13 / Hardrock 100 Mile, CO
    Aug 14 / Tahoe Rim Trail 165 Mile, NV/CA

    See you in a couple weeks!
    footfeathers recently posted..Inside Trail Racing – New Event Management Co. on the West CoastMy Profile

  3. Jenna Vandenberg December 18, 2011 at 7:01 pm #

    Good luck with that 100K! I can’t wait to read about it. I’m hoping to be in shape for the Oakland Marathon in March too, although my goal is substantially slower than 3:15! If money and time off allows, I’d like to go to Nashville for their Marathon in early March as well and Spokane’s Bloomsday the first week of May.
    Jenna Vandenberg recently posted..Italiana de Las VegasMy Profile

    • Jenna Vandenberg December 21, 2011 at 9:33 pm #

      Sarah – I actually didn’t run the Las Vegas Marathon, the course for the 1/2 is really bad, you don’t even go up and down the Strip. I’ve been hearing about the water problems too. Crazy, huh? Inner Mongolia: great water. Las Vegas: contaminated.

      I just got a job in Denver, so cancel all the aforementioned race plans! I’m looking forward to some good trail runs through.
      Jenna Vandenberg recently posted..Being in One PlaceMy Profile

  4. Mark Tanaka December 19, 2011 at 12:33 pm #

    Looks like fun, Sarah. Way to step up to metric 100!

    I put my name in to pace the Oakland Marathon again. I told Melissa (Ownby) I would prefer 3:30 in case I’m recovering from some race I haven’t yet signed up for, but there’s a good chance they’ll need me at 3:20. Hopefully you’ll stay ahead of me, but if you need “I’m having a kind of suboptimal day” support, I’ll be there for you.

  5. Betty December 21, 2011 at 11:27 am #

    Sounds like fun yet exhausting. The challenge will be on the first months. You will get used to it as time pass by and you’ll have an amazing time running at the same time staying fit.
    Betty recently posted..How To Attract WomenMy Profile

  6. Sarah December 27, 2011 at 12:32 pm #

    Update: I plan to do the Feb. 25 insidetrail.com Chabot trail run.

  7. james December 28, 2011 at 2:34 pm #

    Lake Sonoma 50, April
    TRT (Tahoe) 50, July
    Firetrails 50, Oct
    Just want to work on building miles, and getting stronger and faster at 50s this year. Thanks for the motivation!

  8. Mykl Morrissey January 2, 2012 at 8:31 pm #


    Your racing schedule is pretty solid and the variety appears to provide some balance. Good luck with it all.

    My schedule isn’t as full as yours but it still provides a good challenge:

    March: 3/10-Way Too Cool 50K
    3/24-Old Goats 50-miler

    April: Maybe the Santa Barbara Endurance Run 50K

    May: Perhaps the Bishop High Sierra 50K or the Silver
    State 50-miler

    July: Angeles Crest 100-miler

    This list is not complete but it what’s on my radar now. Also, I’m interested in the Triple crown series you mentioned.

    Thank you.

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