Tuesday, March 31, 2015

What should I do this fall?

Here we are on March 31 knocking on the door of spring so of course all my focus is on my running schedule for the fall.


One thing I hate about marathon running is how much time it takes to prepare yourself to run a good one. You have to decide months in advance what your A race will be and make all your plans around it. And when I say "all your plans" I don't just mean running plans I mean ALL your plans. Besides running, my other favorite pastime is travel and Brian and I are trying to plan our vacations for the rest of 2015 and that means I need to determine how many spare vacation days I will have for running trips vs. regular vacation trips and the dates of the trips will need to fall around big running weekends. It's all so complicated. This doesn't happen with a 10K!

Last Wednesday I found out that I was lucky enough to get chosen in the lottery for the 40th Anniversary Marine Corps Marathon which is great because it's my favorite marathon and I have a bunch of friends who also got into the race. This means a great weekend with friends on a beautiful race course. Sounds great, right? It also means that I probably won't be able to hit a PR at this race because there will be too many distractions - the huge size of the race field and those aforementioned friends. At heart, I'm a social runner, I prefer friends and good conversation when I run to pushing the pace. I can't be at a race with friends and PR. I know because I've tried to do it in Philadelphia in 2013 and the result was not a PR and the only marathon of my 28 where I finished feeling sad - not about the missed PR but about the missed experience of running with my friends. It was a lose/lose. So if I choose Marine Corps, I will be choosing to run for fun not for the clock.

Which brings me to Option 2: Steamtown Marathon. I haven't run this one but I've heard from many running friends that it's a fantastic race. It's a great course, it has wonderful support, a great medal and it has a reputation for being VERY FAST. This would be a great option for me to run this fall as my A race. This is the clear winner if I want to run for time on the clock. What's the catch? It's two weeks before Marine Corps. I could choose this one but if I do I will probably lose out on the camaraderie at Marine Corps weekend. I have run full marathons two weeks apart before but I can't say it was the smartest thing I've ever done and I'm not sure I want to do it again. But then again, maybe I do?

Option 3: Have I mentioned my friends who are trying to run marathons in all 50 states? I have a few of those. I might be one of those people myself (I've got ten states but haven't joined the club....yet) That crew is planning to run the Outer Banks Marathon in early November. I'd love to see these people and run with them again. Most of them I only interact with online but I've run marathons with all of them in the past but this race is two weeks after Marine Corps. It's a flat, fast course, which is good for PR but then I have the friend problem again. If I run in North Carolina I pick up a new state. (Does that go on the Pro or Con side of the list?)

And then we have option 4: the Rehoboth Beach Marathon in December. A good friend is planning to come run this one as part of her 50 states quest. I'd love to join her since I've run the half here in the past and enjoyed it enough that I want to come back for the full. But this run will be with her so again, no PR option.

Let's not forget Option 5: the Philadelphia Marathon. Probably my second favorite race. The race where I set my PR. The course I know the best. The old standby. Easy to do, easy to skip over because it will always be there.

Odds are good that I will run at least two of these races - maybe even three of them. I can't run them all. I don't even want to run them all. (Well, I do, but I know that I can't actually pull that off.) I don't know how to choose. I don't know what's the most important thing to me right now.

Registration for Steamtown and Philadelphia starts tomorrow. Time to start flipping some coins...

Friday, March 20, 2015

Bringing Back the Blog?

Wow! Looks like I haven't updated my blog in more than five years! I'm acting surprised about that but I'm really not - when I stopped writing it was a conscious decision just like today I'm making a conscious decision to start doing it again.

Back in 2009 I decided to stop writing here because so much of my blogging was about my running life and I was taking on a leadership role in my local running group that made me feel very uncomfortable about putting my feelings about running and the group out into the world. I felt like I had to keep all that buttoned up. Times have changed, that group doesn't exist anymore, and I'm finding that I'm in a bit of a running rut and I think that this blog might help me get out of it.

What have I been doing in the past five years? Running a lot! I've continued to do marathons and half marathons and I've also taken up cycling although I haven't been quite brave enough to tackle an organized cycling event. I am hoping that might change this summer. I'll have to go somewhere official to tally up my running stats for the blog bio but I know I'm closing in on 30 full marathons and I crossed the 50 half marathon milestone a couple of years back. I still talk often about retiring from marathon distance running but I love it too much for that and I'm reminded of my how much every time I'm out there on race day.

I've been lucky enough to become an Ambassador for Skirt Sports (my long time favorite apparel company) and that's one of the reasons I wanted to resurrect the blog. Lots of the other ladies on the Ambassador team have blogs and I thought I might as well join the mix.

But I mentioned a running rut earlier and then I changed the subject. (I don't like to talk about my rut.) I'm not tired of running but I've lost my focus. I don't know what I want anymore. I've long known that chasing PR on the clock doesn't really motivate me most of time -- I'm much more of a social runner -- but I think the urge is coming back. This winter has been a tough one around here with lots of bitterly cold weather and icy trails and that combined with my mother's illness and death combined to give me about a month with no running at all. I feel like this spring I'm going to be starting from scratch with my training and that makes me want to REALLY reboot what I've been doing. That's not so easily done though because I belong to a training group that follows a specific training plan (Galloway) and while I want to run with my BRFs (Best Running Friends) I'm not sure that I want to follow the group plan and that makes life a little difficult. Maybe not so much if I push myself more in my weeknight workouts. We shall see. Plans have yet to really form.

I'm also trying to choose a fall race to focus my attention and training on. I've entered the Marine Corps Marathon lottery again with a bunch of friends and I would love to run it again but I know that's not the race for me to set a marathon PR. I will need one in early October where I can run solo and push myself OR I might just try again at Philadelphia, a race I know like the back of my hand and the course that I set my current PR on. I don't know what to do but I'm glad to be thinking about it all again.