Although I've been looking forward with much anticipation to the Triple Crown again this year, I've decided not to do it. The main reason is my half marathon training team released its challenge schedule:
Saturday Run Challenges
February 2 – Prediction Run (IU Campus loop, ~4.3 miles, http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=1587918)
Prior to the run, all group members will guess the time in which they think they will run the given course (no timing devices allowed). Thirty (30) points will be awarded to the closest to their predicted time, twenty-nine (29) for the second closest, on down to one (1) point for the furthest from their predicted time.
February 16 – Point/Hill Challenge (20 minutes)
All group members will take on the IU cross country course hill given twenty (20) minutes to complete as many hill repetitions as possible. Each successful repetition will earn a point for that member’s team.
March 1 – IU Campus Scavenger Hunt (20 markers)
Twenty (20) cryptic clues will be given to both teams hinting at the location of twenty (20) markers spread throughout the IU campus. Markers will be worth ten (10), twenty (20), or thirty (30) points depending upon their difficulty and distance from our meeting location. Team members can retrieve multiple markers during the game, so long as it is done one at a time.
March 15 – Point/Hill Challenge #2 (30 minutes)
The same rules as February 16, but a thirty (30) minute time period will be given.
March 29 – 10 Mile Relay (in 400m legs)
Each team will be split up (by Ben and Tom) into three (3) “mini-teams” of five (5) runners, totaling six (6) teams. Runners will toe the line of the IU outdoor track for 400m repeats. Every ninety (90) seconds a “wave” will start. Each team will include one and only one runner in each wave. The times of each team’s finisher in each wave will be totaled for an aggregate time. This tally will be kept throughout the competition, so the overall placing and time is known. The reason for “wave” starts is to keep the group together to allow for closer competition even as the race reaches the later stages. *note: with a wave beginning every 90 seconds, a runner should expect to have about 5-6 minutes between their individual repeats. Each runner will total 8 repeats of 400m for approximately two miles total. The top team will be awarded one hundred (100) points with each descending place receiving twenty (20) less points than the previous (100-80-60-40-20-0).
April 12 – Prediction Run #2 (IU cross country course, 5k)
The same rules as February 2, but the location changes to the IU cross country course.
April 19 – The 10 Mile Challenge (INRunCo course)
This day will mark the longest run of the training program for most of the training levels. For half of the group, this will be the first double digit run and a huge accomplishment (only to be bettered in two weeks!). But, even for the veterans this course will be nothing to scoff at and from this date forward, course records will be kept for all gender and age groups on this challenging ten-miler. The course starting from the Indiana Running Company must be completed to earn twenty-five (25) points.
Could you resist that? Well, I can't. :) To help keep people motivated and make it more fun, we were split into two teams. Points can be scored by logging runs, by close you get to your race goals, and of course with these challenges. I love the feeling of running for a team and I don't want to let them down by not showing up for several of the challenges. There is a 15K race included a few weeks before the mini, so it's not a total loss. And it's already paid for! The fact that we're saving $60 apiece in race fees and a ton of gas money doesn't hurt either. I still might enter a race here and there on non-challenge weekends, if I can find any close by.