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March 31, 2011

Got Grit?

I read my old training logs last night, the ones that I kept when I first started running. When I was training for my first marathon... When I didn't know how far this addiction would go.

Back then my only goal was to finish the marathon, to cross it off my Bucket List.

After the 2008 Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon
with my mom and step-dad., looking bloated.
I found an entry from the first time I maintained a sub-8 pace for longer than a couple miles, something I didn't know I was capable of: 4/14/10- 7.77 miles; 1:00:57; 7:51 average pace. Ran Cambria Hill, super strong headwind on the way back. Quad still sore from yesterday. FASTEST EVER!

I can remember talking to a male running buddy whose BQ time was 3:30, which means maintaining a 8:00 pace. That sounded IMPOSSIBLE to me. And then, less than a year later, I did that and then some, running a 3:27 and qualifying myself.

After the 2010 IMT Des Moines Marathon with my mom. Did you catch the
theme of my mom wearing bright green? It makes her easier to spot.
 I'm not really sure when running became more than a hobby and turned into a dream. But it has. And a lot of days it sucks. This isn't something that comes easy for me.  Running was never something I excelled in; I was never competitive in high school and never ran track in college. I have no PR's or impressive stats. I don't have parents who are Olympians, or even avid runners really. But what I lack in genes, I make up in grit.

Grit: firmness of character; fortitude; determination.

For me, running requires sacrifice. And to get where I want to get to, it will require more than I'm currently giving. Most days it seems overwhelming but occasionally it feels possible.

And the possibility of what could be is what keeps my feet moving forward.


March 19, 2011

You know you're a running nerd when...

... you spend all morning in bed watching live streaming of NYRR TV as they interview all the athletes that will be running the NYC Half Marathon tomorrow. I've gotten out of bed to make coffee and toast and to grab my laptop.

Both the men's and women's fields are really strong:  Ryan, Meb, Mo, Gebre, Galen, Abdi (and local MN runner Jason Lehmkuhle!) for the men and Kara (!) is  leading the ladies. This will be her first competitive race back after having her baby just six months ago. She will also be competing in Boston in less than a month, and she's made it clear she's looking for the win there.

You can safely assume that I will be up tomorrow at 6:15 a.m. watching live streaming of the race. Yep, running nerd. Seriously, it's like Christmas Eve for me.

Get the diddy on the rest of the field on the NYRR website.

March 14, 2011

Decisions Decisions- The Fall Marathon

Like I mentioned in an earlier post, I'll only be racing one marathon in 2011. Last year I ran Des Moines two weeks after working my butt off in the weeks leading up to the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon. Being so busy with work affected my training, which was during my taper but still an important week, i.e. not a good week to be on my feet all the time, not sleeping, and eating like crap. This year I'd like to pick a race that's a bit farther out from our Race Weekend (Sep 30- Oct 2 this year).

Through a lot of online research, reading back issues of Runner's World and talking to some friends, I've narrowed it down to three possible marathons, each with it's own Pros and Cons. I've used MarathonGuide.com as a source for runner reviews but have taken them with a grain of salt since I don't know if the reviewer is a "competitive" runner or a "run for fun" runner.

I don't give a damn about what the shirt or the medal looks like, if the expo is big or small, or what bands are playing at the post-race party. I just want to run an honest race... and under a 3:10.

OPTION 1
ING New York City Marathon
Sunday, November 6
$196

Pros:
- It's huge (that'swhatshesaid). Lots of people = lots of energy and could use the to pull me to a PR
- NYC is probably the most iconic marathon in the US and should be run at least once (or so I've heard)
- I've never been to NY, so exploring the city would be awesome
- Cool weather, good course

Cons:
- It's huge (that'swhatshesaid). Lots of people = huge crowds. I'm a small town girl...
- I think it would be an expensive trip
- It's closer to our marathon weekend, thus less time to train after

OPTION 2
SunTrust Richmond Marathon
Saturday, November 12
$70 if I register by March 31

Pros:
- Known as "America's Friendliest Marathon" for its spectators, volunteers, etc.
- Relatively flat, scenic course with few turns. See a video course tour by Runner's World here
- Cool weather likely (average low 37, high 61)
- Has a bus course tour beforehand (LOVE to see firsthand what I'm getting myself into so I can adjust my race strategy if needed)
- Richmond looks like a fun city to visit

Cons:
- It's on a Saturday. The only reason this is a Con is because it's a departure from what I'm used to. I always run long on Sundays.
- Possible windy conditions on portions of the course


OPTION 3
Philadelphia Marathon
Sunday, November 20
$80 if I register within the first month of registration opening

Pros:
- Nice course with some rolling hills in the first half, making it a nice race to negative-split
- Know people that have run it and liked it, lots of PRs
- Cool weather (average low 40, high 55)
- Sunday marathon, like I'm used to
- "Big city" race (this could be a Con, too, I guess, since I've only run small races)

Cons:
- Sort of an out-and-back course- which means that I'd be seeing the leaders run by when I'm at Mile 10 or something
- Later November date means possible crappy training conditions in MN
- Mixed reviews on MarathonGuide.com with regard to the start corrals and course

 So what do you think?