Ever since I decided to run a second marathon, my goal has been getting a ticket to Boston. I finally have that ticket and came to realize something: I hate the marathon. After Boston, I don’t think I’ll tackle the 26.2 distance again. The training is hard, both on your body and mentally, it’s time consuming and just plain exhausting. It’s an unbelievable achievement and the knowledge that you ran 26 miles is awesome, but when it comes down to it, there’s other running goals and experiences I want to do, other than continuing to run marathons.
So, after last Saturday’s race, I began thinking of what those experiences were. What did I want to do, now that I’ve got my BQ and have a shot at running Boston in 2016?
I have no desire to run an ultra. If I think the marathon sucks, it would be silly to want to run further than that. I think ultra runners are amazing. But, my body doesn’t really enjoy running that many miles, so ultras aren’t for me.
I really enjoy the half-marathon distance. It’s a fun distance, not too long, but you still get to do a decent amount of training, and it’s a distance I think I could work on running faster. So, yesterday, I registered for the Flagstaff Half-Marathon in September. This will not be a goal race. It’s simply the opportunity to run a distance I enjoy, in my hometown, in a situation that is a new challenge for me. It’s all on trails, and the elevation is no joke.
For the half, you run each loop once. That’s a lot of incline and decline. I have no goals for this race other than to simply run it and experience it. And I think it’ll be a fun, new challenge for me.
Additionally, I also entered the lottery for the Soulstice Run in October. The lottery pull is April 1st, so I’ll know soon enough whether I’ll be running that race. Again, it’s a trail race and it’s about 11.5 miles.
I was perusing some other websites, looking for trail races in Phoenix in the late fall to tackle, when I found this run: The Flagstaff Extreme Big Pine. It’s the inaugural race and on trails I’m familiar with. I haven’t registered yet as I’m still deciding what distance I want to try out. I’m leaning towards the 27k (16.8 miles). Again, there wouldn’t be any actual racing involved. This race is in early June, which gives me plenty of time to build up to the mileage. I enjoy 16 miles. I think it’s a great distance and one of my favorites during marathon training. Since I was hoping to maintain a base mileage of 13-14 mile long runs after this marathon, running a 16 mile race wouldn’t be a stretch. I’m pretty confident I’ll be running that distance, I just need to take the plunge and register.
I don’t want to overload my schedule with races, but I enjoy racing. I like the atmosphere and the time spent with other runners, and I think running three hometown races this summer/fall would be a lot of fun! I would love to do a few 5ks and even try a 10k, but for now this is all I’m going to put on my calendar.
While I have no goals for any other these time-wise, I’ll use them as a way of maintaining a good base, so when Boston training begins in late winter, I won’t be starting from scratch.
I’m excited to try some new distances and something besides road racing! I have access to such amazing trails in Flagstaff, it’ll be fun to race on some of them.
What’s your favorite distance to race? Favorite terrain? What running/racing experience should all runners try out?