Spring is upon us. Maybe the official date is still a couple of weeks away, but the blooming daffodils, flirtatious robins, and warm breeze in the air tell me that I’ve survived another long dark winter (not that this was one to complain about). Shedding the gloves and taking advantage of the increasing daylight hours, I find my thoughts drifting ahead to the upcoming race season. What will 2012 bring?

Developing a race schedule can be a challenge. Flipping through the race calendars in magazines and online, I realize that the possibilities are endless. How will I ever choose where to focus my dreams and goals? I must find some way to narrow it down.

There are many factors to consider – will there be one big goal race or lots of smaller challenges? Do I want to focus on pavement or dirt? Go for endurance or work on my speed? Fortunately, I’m not a multisport athlete like so many of my friends – I don’t have to choose between bi’s and tri’s – biking or running – not to mention kayaks and swimming.

How about travel? Do I want to stick with local events or go big and mix it up with West Coast competition? Would it be fun to pick an event and train with a group of friends? Do I want to shoot for PRs at events I’ve already run, or expand my horizons with brand new adventures? And speaking of adventures, maybe an organized event isn’t in the cards this year. How about a solo run across the Smokies or returning to take care of unfinished business in Shenandoah National Park?

Then there are the quirky goals: finally get up the courage to run a naked 5k, or maybe attempt another open-water swimming event, this time without experiencing a panic attack in the middle of the lake.

Here in the Southeast, we’re blessed with more opportunities for outdoor challenges and adventures than one can squeeze into one season – or one lifetime. We’re only limited by our imagination. What does this spring season hold in store for you? Aim high and dream big!