Why hello there, bloggerworld. It’s been a while! My absence, for a change, can be credited less to my feeling like I’ve lost my blogging mojo and more toward the fact that I’ve been crazy busy due to wedding season.
When last we spoke I had just returned from a wedding-weekend-turned-mini-vacay (my favorite kinds of wedding weekend!) in Fort Lauderdale/Key West. I was a little worried about how a couple of days spent sauntering around Duvall Street with a Corona constantly in hand would affect my running when I returned to the real world, but as it turns out…beer carbs=great fuel. Even with TWO rest days “built in” to my schedule last week [read: one travel day and one post-wedding Easter Sunday/reunion with peanut butter and sweets] , I managed to bang out 45 miles for the week. I was quite pleased with this number…not so much with the number of Easter treats* I got into yesterday.
*Fun fact: I was late to work this morning because I made a point to go by CVS for discounted Cadbury eggs. I have no shame.
Back to the point though. Why was it so important for me to get 45 miles on the calendar last week if I have no major races on the horizon? Because I do, in fact, have a race on the horizon.
It had been my plan to sneak attack everyone with a race recap come May 28th. A big “Surprise! I tricked you! I didn’t wait until November 4th to run my second 26.2! Ha!”
But many of you were already on to me and making comments such as, “Oh, you ran 17 miles before work on Friday morning? What race are you training for?” Because yes, I DID in fact, run 17 miles before work on Friday morning–a pre-workday PDR for me. There’s only but so many times I can answer a question like “So WHY did you turn a 5 mile running tour into a 20 mile run today?” with “because I felt like it.” Although the real answer to that one was a secret bet I had going with myself…if I could run 20 miles on March 24th, then I’d have both the confidence and training needed to be able to finish a Spring marathon.
So on March 25th, I signed up for the Buffalo Marathon.
I had toyed on and off all winter with signing up for a Spring marathon.
On the one hand, I never thought I could run a SINGLE marathon. But then I did. Afterwards, I said I’d “take a break” from racing and wait until July to start focusing on training for the ING NYC Marathon. But it wasn’t long before I was missing training, missing long runs and missing having a goal. Sure, I had RnRUSA on the calendar for March, but after spending 8 weeks building up far past the 13.1 distance to reach 26.2 instead, a half marathon just didn’t quite cut it for me anymore. A week before RnR I ran 18 miles (that run, legitimately “just because I felt like it”) and I didn’t find it grueling or tiresome or any of those negative words that a non-runner might associate with such a distance. Instead, I found it motivating. And encouraging. And when a week later, I busted out 20 miles “because I felt like it,” I found it solid reasoning to sign up for my second full marathon.
For a while, I had had my eyes on the Vermont City marathon. Laura, is running this race as a pacer, so I knew I’d have at least one friend nearby, if not more. Not to mention, just the act of meeting Laura and hanging out with her put another check mark in the “pro” column of whether or not to do a Spring race. Laura (who has run I think 70ish marathons?) made a very wise point very shortly after we first met, that the more races you run, the less pressure you put on each one.
When I finished my first marathon in under four hours I was a whole ball of emotions–shocked and elated being two of the dominating ones, but in the very back of my mind I was also a little sad. Crazy? Probably. But at the time I was already signed up for NYC for the following November, and even though it was a full year off, I knew it was a far more difficult course and the chances of me getting anywhere near a 4-hour finish were near impossible. I secretly started wishing that I had done NYC for my first marathon, and Richmond for the second, ONLY because I was distraught over the idea that I’d very likely run a slower race my second time around. Laura’s logic, whether it applied to this situation or not, helped me get over that hump. Richmond was magical in so many ways (yes, I just used that unnecessarily dramatic term), and New York will be too, but for its own individual reasons. And by throwing a Spring marathon into the middle of the mix, I think I’ll be able to separate the two a bit, and not hold them up against each other.
So what happened to Vermont? Why Buffalo?
I’m a big fan of killing two birds with one stone (though I wish there was a kinder expression than that). And while I’d have one running buddy in Vermont, I’d still have to worry about hotel accommodations, and other unforseen expenses. I knew that weekend was a good one though, given it’s Memorial Day and there’s an extra day off work. So when I started to poke around at other alternatives, “just in case,” and Buffalo popped up, there was no doubt in my mind. Buffalo, like Vermont City, would be a new destination to explore and far enough North that the temps in late May would still be ideal running conditions. Unlike Vermont City, I could run a spring marathon AND visit one of my very best friends, in her hometown that she has spent the last 8 years begging me and all of our other friends to go see.
(Said friend celebrated a birthday yesterday, happy Bday Asia!)
And so I clicked the “register” button. The JD was obviously the first to know. Seeing as how I badgered him for a solid 24 hours about whether or not he thought I should do it/was capable of doing it. He was, as always, overly supportive: “You could run a marathon in your sleep” Lies, yes. But white ones, that gave me the confidence I need to kick myself into training mode.
I also told said friend in Buffalo, that I was finallllyyy going to pay her a visit, with the caveat that she be ready to indulge a super early bedtime the Saturday of my arrival, a super early wake-up time the following morning and get ready to cheer her face off, as I’m thinking the crowd support at this race will be a little smaller than the super smiley and go-nuts-for-strangers-running streets of Richmond. I thrive on crowd support. Dear friend, thoughts on renting a golf cart and just blaring music (it can be Firework. On repeat) and throwing confetti at me for the entirety of the course? Yes? Awesome, thanks.
Aside from those two, I wanted to keep my signing up a secret. For one, I thought that whole sneak attack blog race recap would be a lot fun. But this morning, when I saw the very sad number of blog views over the last few weeks ( a result from the even sadder number of posts), I realized that training is what kept my blog mojo going. And I’d have MUCH more exciting things to share with you if I wasn’t trying to delicately cover my training trails. I’d rather gush to the world when I finish up a near-50 mile week, thankyouverymuch (I swear, I’m not a Leo. VIRGO! VIRGO!)
Sure, I’ll probably have to feel the wrath of my family and friends who do not exactly condone my running…but better to get that out of the way now rather than late May!
So there it is, my friends. The jig is up. I am training for a spring marathon. Due to wedding season and all of the other crazy and fun events going on over the next few weeks and months, I will very likely NOT participate in any serious speed work. My strength training will likely continue to suffer a bit. But I will gladly re-introduce peanut butter into my diet (hopefully not on a 3x’s a day or more basis), embrace a few crazy long runs prior to the start of the work day, have a blast running Buffalo stress free (read: not focused on any time goal, just focused on putting a run in between two other 26.2′s) and celebrate my second full marathon lakeside with an old friend and very likely, a glass of wine
Happy training kids!