Running is my BFF

I’m still here! Just haven’t been posting as frequently because, well, I haven’t had much to say… and I’ve never been one for filler posts (which is why I don’t have a “blogging schedule”). So what have I been doing lately? Running. Duh.

About two months ago I took to the blog and twitter to try and figure out my fall goal race. Obviously it was going to be a marathon (I haven’t given up on them yet), but I didn’t know where and when I wanted to race. I was ideally looking for a late-fall race in order to give myself maximum training time (and also because one of my best friends is getting married in October), so I zeroed in on November races that were within driving distance. I think in the back of my head I had an idea of which race I was going to pick all along, but I still wanted to get opinions from other runners. So after looking at my calendar, my finances, and Google maps, I decided on the Anthem Richmond Marathon on November 16th!

Prior to registering, I started thinking about training (of course). I had a ton of thoughts in my head – what training plan should I use? How many miles a week should I run? When should I start? How much build up should there be? Am I going to actually get through a successful marathon training cycle for the first time ever? What should my goal be? …and those were just a few of the questions I had. I like to think of myself as a mildly experienced runner (it’s been almost 4 full years), but I’ve only ever run by myself, for myself. I’ve done an okay job thus far, but thought it might make some sense to get a little help… especially since my marathon training has been awful up to this point.

So what do I mean by help? Well, I jumped on the coaching bandwagon! I know that I’m never going to be an elite runner, and heck, I may never even qualify for Boston. But I like the idea of having a professional that really knows the sport to guide me through training. I mean, when I was swimming I didn’t do that blindly, so why should running be any different? I know that there are a lot of mixed feelings on coaching for “average” athletes, but I say to each his/her own. The great thing about it is that I can stop at any point. So if it turns out having a coach really isn’t for me (which I doubt), I can go back to doing things on my own. I don’t really have any long-term goals with what I want to get out of coaching other than the obvious – get faster and better my marathon time!

A big reason why I decided to get a coach is that I’ve found that with every marathon training cycle, by the end I hate running. This is something I absolutely want to avoid, because as the title of the post says, running is currently my BFF and I’d like to add an AE to the end (you know, best friends forever AND EVER – welcome back to middle school). I think having the pressure of someone else waiting for my workout results that I’m PAYING will keep me in check. At least I hope so.

Between now and the marathon I have a bunch of fun summer road races planned, starting with a 5k this Sunday! I’m really looking forward to starting to work with a coach, and to have a successful marathon training cycle.

What do you think about running coaches? Yay or Nay? 

I Need Your Help!

It’s that time of the year – fall marathon registration time!

I’m having a hard time deciding on a marathon to run this fall. My original plan when first starting out on the marathon bandwagon was to run as many big races as I could (Chicago, NYC, Philly, LA, etc.), but I quickly realized that bigger doesn’t always mean better. While I would love to run Chicago again this year, I’m really glad that wasn’t my main focus considering the registration issues they had. I’ve also realized that while traveling far and wide for races is fun, it isn’t always kind on my bank account. So this year (the year of a Disney World and Disneyland racecation), I’ve decided to try and keep it local.

I have a few qualifications for this fall’s marathon. My main focus is a PR. But not just any PR, a big one. No no, I’m not looking to qualify for Boston, I just need to get under 4 hours… I don’t care if it’s a 3:59:59 (though with my luck it’ll be 4:00:00)! So that means flat(ish), and fast. I don’t mind net downhills since they don’t seem to bother my legs too much, but I’m obviously not looking for “rolling hills” which really means a giant hill at mile 9 that will make you almost cry (I’m looking at you, Philly Marathon). Next on the level of importance is location – as I said, I want to keep it local. This means no more than a 6 hour car ride from New Jersey. And finally, timing. I’m looking for mid-October to early December, which I realize takes quite a few marathons out that have previously been suggested to me. 

So this is where you come in, my fellow runners! I’ve narrowed it down to 8 marathons, which is hardly “narrowing it down;” I really need to get it down to 2 or 3 in order to make a logical decision. Here’s what I have:

  • Atlantic City Marathon (NJ) – 10/13
  • Mohawk-Hudson Marathon (NY) – 10/13
  • Steamtown Marathon (PA) – 10/13
  • BayState Marathon (MA) – 10/20
  • Marine Corps Marathon (VA) – 10/27
  • Manchester City Marathon (NH) – 11/3
  • Richmond Marathon (VA) – 11/16
  • Rehoboth Marathon (DE) – 12/7

I’m looking for anyone that’s run any of these particular marathons (or knows someone that did) to share their insight, as well offer up additional suggestions if there are some I’m missing. Who knew that picking a marathon could  be as difficult as running one? Ok, it’s not at all, but you get my point. Help me out! Please? 🙂

Wrong Side of 25

I remember turning 21 like it was yesterday (well, it was only 5 years ago). I woke up early, excited at the prospect of legal drinking awaiting me and joined my dad on a walk with our black lab Kennedy. We discussed how it felt to be 21, and he jokingly said “well, it’s all down hill from here!” which is something my uncle firmly believed in and would tell anyone approaching the age. For me, it was a milestone that only meant I was beginning my transition to the real world. But, being  a young 21 year old, I didn’t think much of it at the time. Not to go into details, but I certainly enjoyed myself that weekend!

To be 21 again… with my two co-captains!

Anyway, it’s crazy to look back and think I turned 21 FIVE YEARS AGO, today! That’s right, I’m officially 26 as of this morning. There was definitely a point at about 23 where I started to stop wishing my birthdays away. Growing up you’re so concerned with what’s coming next – when you’ll be old enough to drive, to drink, etc., that you miss all the milestones in between, until they’ve already passed. I guess you can say I’m at a point now where I want to stop and smell the roses. I’m thankful for every moment – good and bad, and look forward to all of them (the good just a bit more than the bad, though!).

My sister and I… about 15 years ago.

My twenty-fifth year was my most memorable yet. Sure, I didn’t get my license, become a legal drinker, or graduate from college. But, I ran my very first (and second!) marathon, I spent the year working on my fitness and joined a fabulous group of likeminded people at FitFluential, my blog has started to find it’s grove, I finally finished my teacher certification, and I’ve enjoyed my time with friends and family, celebrating their milestones and each other’s company.

So, how could I top 25, you ask? Especially now that I’m over a quarter century old, and officially on the wrong side of that quarter? Well, I have big plans, people! Aside from trying to figure out just what it is I want to be when I grow up, I’ve got plans for my third and fourth (and possibly fifth) marathon this year, as well as celebrating a lot of marriages of close friends. I’m sure there will be much more in-between, and I’m looking forward to it. But first on my list is to devour some ice cream cake!

How do you celebrate your birthday? 
Did you ever reach a point where you became thankful for each birthday, rather than expectant?