I will NOT be doing 12 marathons in 12 months again...at least this year. Last year was mainly about quantity, although it surely had many quality moments. 2010's marathon selections are going to be more about enhancing the total experience of each. They're about the "where" and the "who". There will be three pairs of back-to-back weekend marys in four countries, a new PR target time, and involvement in a cross-training sport I've despised my whole life.
First up, on my birthday weekend in March, the new LA Marathon. In 2004 I rode the marathon route on my bike and swore I'd never run LA because it was, quite frankly, the ugliest course I'd ever seen. It's been redesigned now, starting at Dodger Stadium and ending at the beach in Santa Monica. I am soooo looking forward to this one, not only for the sights, but also for the many folks I know who are running it, too. You know who you are. We are gonna have a ball, right? It ain't called LaLaLand for nought!
A week after that, it's the inaugural Oakland Marathon, just "down the road apiece" from my house. I have waffled of late about committing to this one, as I have used Oakland's streets as a favourite training ground for years. I've seen most of this stuff. But, my friend John has been applying gentle, but consistent pressure ever since I got on the fence. I am now off. What he does not know, until he reads this, is that in exchange for my participation, he is buying, at the very least, two rounds of beers at Quinn's Lighthouse Pub afterwards. There are a few other people I know doing it, too, including one who's using it to a "surprising" end. Gotta see how that unfolds!
Four weeks later I will be jetting off to Italy to tackle the streets of Trieste with my pal, Kari. She forced me into that marathon much like her BFF Laura did with me and last year's Rochester Marathon, and John did with Oakland. (Honestly, they didn't have to try too hard!) I could try to make the case that it's a supply mission, as Kari needs Ranch Dressing and Peanut Butter from home...but that would just be lame. I also need to reaquaint myself with carbo-loading, Italian style. Did some of that in Rome a couple of years ago before running the Dublin Marathon. I'm thinking it worked a treat.
Before my legs even begin recovering from the cobblestones of Northern Italy, I will be making my way to Prague. There's a marathon there on the following Sunday. I have a couple of friends doing that one, too. One of them is in dire need of a recipe for Key Lime Pie that he can prepare for his family in the Czech Republic. He must not be let down. Oh, I think they have beer there, too. Correct me if I am wrong.
After that, as it currently stands, I have a near-five month break from actual races. I will be in training, however, for a return to Italy, for the Venice Marathon on the 24th of October. I am running this one because 1) I am sure Kari will need more vittles and 2) if I'm going to spend the money to get to Europe to run, I can't do just one...as, you see, I will be heading to Greece (can you believe it???) the next weekend, to meet up with running dynamo, Ioanna, and her local posse. We're going to do a little thing we like to call the Classic Marathon in Athens. I mean, this is the real deal. This is where it all started. Grappa, anyone?
Whew! Anyone else feeling tired just thinking about this?
That's it for races...except for the one big hole I have yet to fill. My running club, The Goon Squad Runners, is based in the Beantown area. I have never run with them, other than in spirit. I need to get back there sometime this year. For those of you in GSR, I am scouring the calendars and trying to synch up whatever can be synched. Would love to know what some of your plans are so that I can coordinate.
Now...for the other stuff.
Even though I care not about my finishing times, I have decided to set a target time for at least one of this year's races, primarily to force myself to train harder so I finish stronger. I've done 30 marathons to date and have hated miles 17-25 in practically every one of them. They're not going to change...so I have to. Just once this year I would like to shuffle across the finish line in 4:30-4:45.
I am also aiming to run 20 miles per week...every week...except for pre-race tapers. I will be eating during those times.
I also hope to run at least one of these marathons in my Vibram Five Fingers "shoes". I love running in them but am still working my way, slowly, up to wearing them for all runs. Got's to be smartish about it.
Finally...I have taken to the pool at my new gym, although not "like a fish to water". I have never been a swimmer. My dad put me on his shoulders when I was very young and took me out into the ocean off an English beach. I guess he wanted to "teach" me how to swim. His method was to take me off his shoulders and show me the beach, saying "that's where you need to go!" I've never like swimming. Since the gym I joined has a lap pool I decided to use it. Again, it's a value for money thing. This morning I had the pool to myself. Did 12 laps. My goal is to be able to swim a mile by the end of the year. Just got to get that whole breathing thing down.
So. As my lovely wife said today...it would seem as though 2010 is taking on a "shape". So it would seem.
Hope to see some of you out there, somewhere or other. Cheers for 2010.