What better way to give yourself something to work for in 2008 than to sign up for a race? But be aware, some pre-planning could save you a little money. Many races that already have registration open will be raising their prices beginning January 1.
Now is the perfect time to find out the registration details of your favorite race and add it to this list. Runners, cyclists, adventure racers, swimmers and anyone who wants others to be a part of an awesome event can add it to the comments section below.
What's going to be your motivation to train in 2008?
The sixth annual Teva Mountain Games is returning to Vail, Colo. May 30 - June 3. This is the country's largest adventure sports festival celebrating mountain sports, soul and culture. This week-long gathering of professional and amateur outdoor adventure athletes from around the world will feature competition in multiple sports including: freeride mountain biking and big air, cross country racing and the Vail hill climb, freestyle and extreme kayaking, kayak and raft paddlecross,bouldering,speed and dynoclimbing,trail running championships, and the Ultimate Mountain Challenge. To Register for events, click here.
Floyd Landis is set to compete as a member of Team Athletes for a Cure in the Ultimate Mountain Challenge. This event is just eight months after the current/tentative/putative/besieged/etc. 2006 Tour de France winner underwent major hip surgery. Click here to read the full story.
In addition to the athletic events, the Teva Mountain Games will include an adventure photography competition, a film competition, an interactive exhibition and demo area, live music and the prestigious Everest Awards ceremony.
The adventure racing craze is sweeping the nation and a myriad of new races are being organized from coast to coast. Increases in participation have been linked to the natural cross-over for cyclists,runners and water-sport aficionados, but I believe the true allure of this demanding activity lies within the individual who is forced to realize his or her limits and push through them -- all while contributing to a team.
This team dynamic offers endurance athletes used to the solitude of triathlon or marathon the chance to work together as cohesive unit compensating for individual strengths and weaknesses. This creates an opportunity for individuals to emerge as leaders within certain areas of the race and responsibilities are delegated accordingly. Often, teams designate a captain and a navigator who've proven they can perform those tasks despite challenges such as sleep deprivation and physical exhaustion. Capitalizing on these strengths keeps a team organized and on track during the onset of fatigue.
I asked my friend Barrie Adsett, navigator for San Diego-based Team Equinox, what he considers to be the key to adventure racing. He explained, "In adventure racing, reading a map and knowing how to navigate are maybe more important than being a strong or fast athlete. No matter how fast you go, if you go the wrong way you are just further away from where you are meant to be, that much quicker."
Team captain Steve Moore commented, "Equinox has proven many times that brains beats pure brawn." Adsett added, "In the hare-and-tortoise fashion, going an optimal route is better than zipping everywhere but getting nowhere." Kristine Gillis, the sole female member of the co-ed team, recommends practicing with orienteering clubs and regional adventure racing groups.
I recognized that I hit the first plateau in my 18-week training program when my training and nutrition regimen were dialed-in but my leg strength seemed to be deteriorating instead of building. In need of either cross-training or performance-enhancingexercises to counter this common stage, I came across the following article which helped me get my training back on track.
This featured article is for the runner,triathlete or adventure racer looking to develop the strength of their stride without logging additional miles or hitting the gym. These simple exercises will benefit both sprinters and ultra-distance runners alike, and can be performed in the comfort of the home. Read the following story to learn four exercises to increase your running speed.
As per part I, "Required gear includes a survival blanket, sleeping bag, compass, whistle plus the minimum 2,000 calories per day. The race enforces strict water rations while temperatures routinely reach 120°F during the day, amplifying the difficulty of this race."
Monday marked the end of the 6-day, 151-mile Marathon des Sables. This race is considered one of the toughest foot races in the world as competitors struggle against the ruthless conditions of the southern Moroccan Desert.
Throughout the 22nd edition of the Marathon of the Sands, the group lessened from 756 to 727. Among those who did not finish the competition was France's Bernard Julé, who passed away in his sleep following the most difficult stage in the competition. Julé, showed no signs of risk after the 70.5-km Stage 5. Teammates found him dead at dawn on Saturday before Stage 6. This unfortunate loss was difficult news for competitors who were moments away from beginning their second straight 70.5-km stage.
For most competitors, just crossing the finish line is considered a victory for an experience of this magnitude. Despite the odds, Morocco's Lahcen Ahansal secured his 10th victory of this marathon and earned the title, "Prince of the Desert". As Ahansal passed through the finish line, he carried a piece of paper with the number "53" written on it to honor Julé, who wore that number on his race bib.
The 22nd Marathon des Sables, or Marathon of the Sands, began on Sunday in the Sahara Desert with 756 competitors from over 30 countries embarking upon the 6 day, 151-mile endurance race. Participants are required to carry all of their own gear in their packs with the exception of tents, which are assembled by race organizers at the end of each stage. Required gear includes a survival blanket, sleeping bag, compass, whistle plus the minimum 2000 calories per day. The race enforces strict water rations while temperatures routinely reach 120°F during the day, amplifying the difficulty of this race. By the end of the third day, the field has dropped to 749 competitors, many who withdrew from the race due to foot problems. The extreme conditions of the contest have attracted athletes of all abilities who pay upwards of $3000 to participate. With the 2007 race underway, the 2008 and 2009 races are already sold out with only a wait list option available. The following video captures the truly epic atmosphere of this event:
[http://active.typepad.com/.shared/image.html?/photos/uncategorized/compass.jpg]Adventure racing is a unique challenge of both teamwork and individual physical and mental fortitude. Activities generally include paddling,mountain biking, trekking and orienteering. Course and race length differ throughout the season so be sure to pay attention to these parameters when registering for a race. These events are either done solo or as team. Generally, it is difficult to find enough people willing to commit and train to become part of a team, but I’ve listed some helpful ideas to help you take that next step and give adventure racing a try.
1. Specific: These goals are most clearly defined by the 6 “W” questions – Who, what, where, when, why. The answers to these questions will begin to bring your goals into focus.
2. Measurable: By establishing a system for measuring progress toward the attainment of each goal you set, you will find increases in motivation by experiencing a sense of achievement when reaching the smaller incremental goals along the way. To prevent ambiguity and vagueness, make sure to incorporate a quantitative time frame allowing you to carry out those steps and feel successful.
3. Attainable: Once goals are identified and the incremental goals begin to be accomplished, the larger goals that used to seem far away, begin to grow closer as you grow as a person. It's truly amazing how one begins to figure out ways to make goals become reality. Previously overlooked opportunities manifest themselves and bring you closer to the achievement of your goals, all the while, new attitudes, abilities, skills, and financial strategies develop to help you to reach them.
4. Realistic: By truly believing that your goal can be accomplished, your goal will be realistic. This is something that you and you alone must decide. Be sure to set each goal as to represent ample growth. By following these guidelines, higher goals often prove to be easier to reach than lower goals because lower goals produce a lower level of motivational energy.
5. Timely: Goals should be set within a time frame with a starting point, ending point, and fixed intervals along the way. This will perpetuate a sense of urgency to act as target dates approach. Goals without deadlines tend to fade in importance and fall in rank of priority where less commitment is established.
So good luck to all you weekend warriors who are on your way to S.M.A.R.T goals!
+(Photo provided by Gettyimages / Photographer Gary S Chapman) +
More recently, a team of 3 ultra distance runners became the first modern runners to cross the 4,000 mile Sahara Desert. This was only made possible by running an amazing average of 2 marathons a day for 111 days!!!
American runner Charlie Engle, 44, Canadian Ray Zahab, 38, and Kevin Lin, 30, of Taiwan crossed the world’s largest desert while running through six countries: Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Libya and Egypt. Their ultra effort was established to raise funds for H2O Africa, the charitable organization of Running the Sahara. These runners were able to prove the impossible was possible all while raising awareness of the world-wide water and sanitation crisis that, according to UN news officials, “causes nearly 2 million child deaths every year and holds back countries’ development, especially in Africa.”
A web site was implemented to track the progress of these runners while taking pledges and donations on a per mile basis. This epic journey was captured on film and will be made into a documentary by narrator and executive producer, Matt Damon. The film is scheduled to be released late 2007.
(Photo provided by the Associated Press, Photographer Jennifer Thermes)