Figuring out a race schedule works the same as clothing selections in department stores – just as they are months ahead (I mean, really, who wants to shop for winter jackets in August?!) so too are we with our plans. Ours is for a very good reason though – the training it takes to prepare for a long-distance event is months, so plans must be laid accordingly (my heart is skipping a beat with the sounds of “plans” in the air!). In addition, the popularity of many races means you have to register early before they sell out – and to register early, you have to make a commitment in your own mind (and wallet!) far in advance.
As I was training for the ultra, I found myself getting a little discouraged looking at my long-run splits. I am no speedster, believe you me, but we all have our own personal spectrum of where our runs fall. And during many of these runs, I felt more on the Dennis from Run, Fatboy, Run (totally recommend this feel-good movie) than Paula Radcliffe side of my speed-o-meter. I keep detailed notes of my long runs, splits for each mile, so I knew just how much slower I was going than when I have trained for marathons. This wasn’t actually a bad thing, most ultra plans do not recommend speed or tempo work for your first time out of the gate. I had plenty on my hands running 50 miles without worrying about how “fast” each of those miles were. But worry I did… well, not worry, more like felt frustrated. I realized that this was something I had to let go and the way I did was to tell myself “look, train for this puppy properly and in the fall you can train to race a marathon to your heart’s content. now chill the f* out!”
It’s hard to ignore yourself yelling in your own ear so I took my own advice and had a fantastic Kashi Classic. But now my running mind is like “time to pay the piper, lady. let’s run!” So it’s time to start getting geared up for fall racing season. And that is what I am calling it this year, rather than “fall ‘hey let’s just do this and whatever happens happens’ season” or “fall, ‘who cares what my time is as long as I have fun’ season”. Nope, I wanna race. Many times in my past (esp as a youngster), I have been afraid to push my self, to make it mean something to me if I fail, to actually race (sad as those splits might be, they are still gold to me!). Over the last few years I have gotten over that hump, and now I actually like to see what my legs can do. At 35, my fastest years are starting to be numbered but I’m not out yet! By the way, I think that running races just for the fun of it is also super important, and something I often do, but other times I just wanna get a ‘lil serious and let the rubber meet the road. This is one of those times.
I was looking for a fall marathon that would help me check off another state, but still offer a flat, fast course. I found a few options, but then realized that my vacation days and budget were not gonna be able to support it. Luckily, I live in the northeast where there are scores of close fall marathons to choose from, but I am going back to an old friend – The Philadelphia Marathon. This was my first marathon in 2005, and I have run the half and relays (which I don’t think they offer anymore) numerous times. It has always been kind to me – great weather, awesome course, wonderful organization and PR-city. Of course, I am definitely due for a disastrous time there, since nothing can be perfect forever, but I am going to risk it since I trust that Philly has my back, come what may. Training starts next Monday, so look for an upcoming post detailing my training schedule. You can bet it includes slapping Mayor Nutter’s hand at the start, though! Love that dude!
To prepare, I will also likely run the OCNJ half as a tune-up race (and to cheer on Kat!). Other than that, any races I do will be more for fun or training than for racing. I plan on doing the Coombs/Douglass run on 8/4, a Schalick Alumni vs HS students race in October (likely 10/13, if you are an APSHS grad, come join us! It is going to be awesome – sure, those teen dreams are gonna wreck us, but it will be fun going down! Contact me or Laur for more details), maybe the Bone Run, likely 10/27, at Parvins (if it is open by then) and maybe Tale of Two Cities on 11/3 to run the whole span of the new bridge (missed is last year while on smoochymoon).
So although it’s only July, I say “You ain’t got nothing, fall!”. And you know why? “Because the race is long, but it is only with yourself”.
Now it’s your turn! Tell me,
What later summer/fall races are you planning on?
Do you like to race or run for fun?
Want to do some long runs together?? I love training buddies!
PS Just so you know, I am now singing “Philadelphia Freedom, I love you; yes, I do!” Now it can be in your head, too 🙂
“Shine a light, shine a light, won’t you shiiinnnnne a liiiiiiight?”