Albeit I'm at the start of a long road to recovery, the 2012 season begins here really, with the opening up of entry and lotteries to next years races.
After the experiences of this year I am headed into less travelling and less racing in an attempt to put myself in with a chance of finishing those that I enter in better shape and staying injury free.
I had a bucket list a long time ago that I have slowly been working my way through. My intention was always to do as much traveling as I could early on in my 'career' so that I could focus on some of the great races we have on home soil in later years when it might perhaps not be as easy or fair to make long and expensive international trips.
Having worked through the desert/ multi stage races, I stumbled into trail racing and have been lucky enough to run a few good trail 100s now. This year was the first time I tried my hand at mountain 100s and thankfully I got through Western States and Leadville despite being injured all year and running very little.
I saw those two as a right of passage really. I have always considered Hardrock to be the ultimate 100 and their entry criteria is very selective. I applied last year but felt I was doing so too soon in my running lifetime and knew that I should take more experience in before I committed to it, so I withdrew my entry.
Having finished 2 mountain 100s, albeit 'easier' ones, this year I think I am ready to at least put my name in the hat and see what happens. The chances of coming out with a place through the lottery is slim to none, about 11% based on last years figures and therefore similar to Western States. Crazy but what can you do.
I will go back to Comrades again, this time to run and I can't wait to line up on that startline. I will set myself some pretty hard targets there and try to stick to them. I am still hopeful a good group of Brits will travel out for that one.
Having been cut off at St Gervais in the 2010 UTMB when we were all pulled due to a landslide, that is again on the list but lottery dependent.
So with the North Pole, Comrades, Hardrock and UTMB - I am in danger of going over board once again. The reality is though that they are well spaced out and the chances of getting in to both Hardrock and UTMB are so slim that I'm not really worried about that.
If Hardrock falls through then I will go back to Vermont. If UTMB falls through well then I may just slip a late entry in to the one bucket list race that would be left for now, a little 153 miler in Greece.
Exciting times ahead and hopefully a bit more success than this year....