Monday, April 15, 2013

The Dating Game

Choosing a marathon is like a metaphor for relationships. 

You find out as much as you can about it, do your research, commit to it, accept it's flaws, and maintain a healthy level of stress and excitement about it.
In the end, you still don't know if you'll succeed or fail. You don't know how amazing or grueling it may become. Sometimes, it all comes down to your weakest moments - will you continue on and push past the fatigue, not knowing what other hills or obstacles may lie ahead? Or will you be overcome with exhaustion, fall to your knees, beg for mercy and withdraw yourself? 

Originally I had pretty much come to the conclusion that Grandma's Marathon was going to be the best option for a late spring race.
This marathon has it's flaws (lodging being the main one) but it had awesome weather and a great looking course, and most importantly it gave me until late June to get my legs ready to dominate. I even created a training schedule based on that date.  

Turns out, now there is a big conflict with that weekend. So, I have to break up with this marathon before I really even got to know it. I'm sure it's a nice race and has a lot to offer some lucky girl out there, but the timing in my life is just wrong right now. 

It's not you, Mr Marathon, it's me.

Thankfully I have backups, like any wise girl should, and immediately delved into research on my next marathon relationship. 

Bachelor #1:
A running friend ran the Lake Placid Marathon last year and sang it's praises. Come to find out, it was ranked the #2 "Best Destination Race in the USA" by Runners World a few years ago. I can totally see why after looking at course photos-  it's a breathtaking double loop course in the Adirondacks.

Bachelor #2:

Newport also has it's advantages. It's known to be an incredible course to PR on (and is on the Runner's World list of best and fastest courses for 2012), and runs out and back along Yaquina Bay on the beautiful Oregon coast. The weather will be incredible and the views spectacular. 
Newport is also the headquarters of Rogue Ales, so I would know exactly where to go for some post race recovery! (Priorities!)

Bachelor #3:

Calgary was the original race I was considering for the late spring. The end of the course runs along the Bow River and promises for nice cool temperatures. It would be amazing mostly because it would mean I get to see my sister! Plus, I would have a place to stay and have someone to chauffeur me around the city like a diva.

The Cons? 

Lake Placid is not easy to get to. At all. And it would be a tough course... there's even a comment on the website that the course finishes with "a significant hill" in the final mile. As a Floridian, the thought of what a significant hill might be to someone who lives in the Adirondacks makes me shiver.

Newport is a little over a 2 hour drive from Portland, so would require some logistical planning (although not nearly as challenging as Lake Placid). It's a smaller race - only 800 runners ran last year - so there's a good chance I'd be running alone for some of the course. Which means no pacers or drafting of big groups. 
It could be liberating, but could also be a disaster.

Calgary is a week earlier than Newport, which means even less time to prepare. It's also a pretty significant trip to take just for a weekend. And the course is tough. Oh, and I will be going BACK to Calgary in July for Stampede as this one might not be the best use of resources. 

Keeping P in mind, (you know, my real life boyfriend!), from a spectator standpoint I think they're all probably about even. Oregon may have a slight advantage only because it's a much smaller race and it will be easier for him to navigate without city traffic and road closures. 
I've come to terms with the fact that I don't have enough time to fully get my legs ready to attempt a major PR in such short notice.The goal for my late spring race at this point, for whichever bachelor I choose, is to push myself hard and see where I stand in the 2013 quest for marathon speed. 

 If I crash and burn, that's OK. I'll have all summer and the beginning of fall to get ready for an attempt at chasing the 3:35 pace group in Twin Cities come October.

The clock is ticking! 

Decisions, decisions..... 


  1. I loved your post!! And I'm so jealous that you have so many options!! Having a 7, 8, and 9yo, I can't really travel for races. But I can live through your adventures!!

    1. Thanks Jenny! I'm certain that there will be a day when I can no longer travel like that, so definitely going to take advantage :)