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Over a month later…

Wow, I can’t believe it’s been over a month since my marathon! It is sufficient to say that I have been enjoying my break. As much as I loved training, it’s nice to know that I don’t have to come home from work and run 8 miles, especially now that my commute is back to being an hour each way as opposed to 3 minutes.

Since I posted last I’ve been getting more into strength training, even buying a pair of these bad boys from a friend who was upgrading to heavier weights and selling them for more than 50% off retail! In addition, the longest I’ve ran since the marathon is about 6.5 miles this past weekend, and that’s felt long enough for me at this point. I don’t know how people do multiple marathons back-to-back without any rest. I am definitely more comfortable without the pressure of a big race and all the training looming over my head right now.

Because of this, I’ve decided to wait until next year to run another marathon (although a half marathon this fall could be in the works, since training isn’t quite as long and demanding, obviously). If I had decided to do a marathon this October/November, I would’ve had to start training in the end of June/beginning of July, which is fast approaching! So my long term plan is to run another marathon in 2013, probably in the fall (like I mentioned in my last post, Richmond or Marine Corps perhaps?)

You have to forget your last marathon before you try another. Your mind can’t know what’s coming.

– Frank Shorter, 1972 Olympic marathon gold medalist

Coming up soon, I am doing a fun Twilight Four Miler in June and a Crystal City Twilighter 5k in July. Both of these are night races as you may have guessed (no, they are not in fact Twilight vampire-movie themed races, haha). I’ve only done one other night race before, the Fairfax Four Miler on New Year’s Eve a few years ago, and it was different and exciting so I’m looking forward to these. Plus, I’ll have some friends like Emily, Leo, and Maxwell running in the four miler in June too!

A little further down the road, but even more awesome, is the Army Ten-Miler on October 21. This race is supposed to be just awesome according to everything I’ve heard and read. There are 30,000 runners: one-third (or 10,000 spots) of those registrations are reserved for U.S. service members and runners who have participated in at least seven or more Army Ten-Miler races, and the remaining two-thirds (0r 20,000 spots) opened to the general public on a first-come-first-serve basis last night at 12:01 am. Since I am in bed way before midnight, I risked waiting until morning to register. When I woke up at 7:30 this morning, I immediately went online to register. At that point, there were only around 2,000 spots left. That means between midnight and 7:30 am, 18,000 people had registered in the general registration, not counting the 10,000 that got to register early. WOAH. AND, by the time I got to work at 9 am, the race was SOLD OUT! That is definitely a new record for this race!

This will be my largest race to date by far. Side note: the Charlottesville marathon I believe had a little under 500 finishers. The Richmond marathon is somewhere over 4,000 runners. Compare that to the four biggest U.S.  marathons, which are NYC (46,000+), Chicago (35,000+), Boston (23,000+), and Marine Corps (20,000+). So, as you can see, this 30,000 person Army Ten-Miler is BIG! Oh and also,  it is “the third largest 10-mile race in the world.

Pretty neat, huh?! I’ll probably start my training for this race in mid-August. The short twilight races in June and July I won’t really ‘train’ for it in the way I’ve been using the word. I’ll just keep up with my strength training and running a few times a week, not too far.

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So what’s the plan?

I thought by now, 2 weeks after my marathon, I’d have a clear-cut idea about what is next but the truth is, I still haven’t figured it out! There are so many options and so many things I want to try. First, here are two possible events on both ends of the intensity-spectrum:

Ragnar Relay: The Ragnar Relay is “the overnight running relay race that makes testing your limits a team sport. A team is made up of 6-12 individuals; each individual runs 3 legs. The legs of the race vary in difficulty and distance, from 3-8 miles, allowing elite and novice runners to run together. Over 2 days and 1 night, teams run across 200 miles of the country’s most scenic terrain.” There is even a DC race! I have a friend in California that just did the San Diego race this past weekend, and I’m excited to hear all about how she liked it! I wonder if I have any friends out there who would be willing to do this with me; otherwise, you can sign up as a single and find a team. Even though there is probably time to try for an entry onto a team at the end of September, it’s more likely I’ll wait until next year (but who knows!)

Color Run: On the totally light-hearted and fun end of the spectrum is the Color Run, which is the “happiest 5k on the planet.” Here is how it works… you wear white and each kilometer of the event is associated with a color and  “as the runners hit the Kilometer Zones, they will be blitzed with color.” The Color Run is for everyone and anyone, and is “less about speed and more about enjoying a color crazy day with your friends and family.” There will be a race in DC (registration opens soon!) This would be a great race to do with some friends, I even know of some girl friends that have expressed some interest.

Now, here are two “normal” Virginia running events on both ends of the amount-of-people spectrum:

Richmond  Marathon/Half Marathon: I have been looking into the Richmond Marathon and Half Marathon event which takes place in November. I was supposed to do the half marathon last year, but was so burned out after an awful, awful 10-miler that I ended up just skipping it in favor of rest. Anyways, now Richmond is a serious contender for my next big race. It’s close by, it’s flat, and it’s well-known and well-organized. The Richmond Marathon has been featured in Runner’s World multiple times, listed as “America’s friendliest marathon” and also in “Best Little Marathons.” But the question remains whether I want to do the half marathon and try for a better time (the first half marathon I did was in May 2011) or go for the marathon, with one of the hilliest and a not-for-first-timers marathons already under my belt. There is over 6 months until the race, so I have time to think about it (given that most training plans are around 4 months long).

Marine Corps Marathon: I would love to run at least one of the big marathons at some point in my life (New York, Chicago, Marine Corps), which can have as many as 40,000+ runners. (As a point of comparison, Charlottesville was limited to 3,500 runners combined for both events, and I believe a little under 500 people finished the marathon). This year, the Marine Corps Marathon sold out it’s 30,000 spots in record time, under 3 hours! Incredible! This was the marathon that my grandpa ran for his 50th birthday also. So this will be in the back of my mind as a possibility to try for in 2013.

In the meantime, I’ve been running a few days a week, mostly short runs, just to keep my fitness level up. I thought not having a ‘plan’ would make me feel a little lost or confused, but for the most part it’s been pretty nice – I don’t have to plan my weekends around my runs like I had been for the past 4+ months. I can also consider signing up last minute for shorter races since I already have a decent running base (such as Pacers or Potomac River Running events).

So there you have it, a little update into some things I’ve been thinking about. Since fall marathon season is in October/November on the east coast, I’ll know by June whether I’ll be training for another marathon, half marathon, or waiting until next year.