Saturday, March 29, 2014

Going for Gold

I'm at it again. And by it, I mean two things: 1) running and 2) working on my New Year's resolutions. Technically, I'm also working on my life list, but that's a tertiary consideration.

Tomorrow begins my quest for gold: Maniac Gold, that is. Between tomorrow and May 4th, I will run four marathons in 35 days.
  1. March 30th: Hogeye Marathon, Fayetteville, Arkansas
  2. April 13th: Raleigh Rock 'n' Roll Marathon, Raleigh, North Carolina
  3. April 26th: The Garmin Marathon in the Land of Oz, Olathe, Kansas
  4. May 4th: Square to Square Marathon, Bentonville, Arkansas to Fayetteville, Arkansas
I've been an official Marathon Maniac for almost two years, but when I qualified, I slid in at the lowest qualification level with what, if you ask me, would be considered the easiest way to qualify: two marathons in 16 days. Back in 2012, I did the Hogeye Marathon on April 15th and then the Nashville Marathon on April 28th. I celebrated my Maniacness at the finish line with my bestie Jill and her husband Michael, who had my reward in hand courtesy of a local running friend who'd figured out how to get it to her: my Marathon Maniac Sweaty Band!!
Since then, there have been super highs and one big super low in my running pursuit, but I'm back on track and running as much as ever. This year, I set a goal to up my Maniac level. I set the goal without a specific plan as of January 1st, and considering what it takes to qualify for some of the Maniac levels, I figured it might take more than a year to figure it out.

Check out what it takes to be some of the highest levels - you think I'm a crazy runner, there are people out there who are Palladium! Platinum!! Titanium!!!
With 2014, I also decided to recommit myself to speed work to try and requalify for Boston after the disappointment of missing the cutoff for this year's race. This winter, the weather has been totally uncooperative, and my head has been back and forth on my commitment to speed work. About a month ago, as my friend Shauna and I did the math on what it would take pace-wise to run a 3:45 or faster, the wind went out of my sails. I just don't have the mental strength this year to train for that kind of sustained speed.

I've thought a lot about whether fast matters. I've considered the many, many reasons I run. Ultimately, fast does matter. But it's far behind so many of the other reasons - time with friends, my mental and physical health, the sheer joy of knowing my body is strong enough to persist mile after mile after mile. My most enjoyable run to date this year was a Saturday run where I slowed down and spent time talking to friends I haven't run with in a good long while. That was what finally convinced me that for me, the joy is in the race, not the finish line.

Which brings me back to my Gold pursuit: these four races aren't going to be about time. The Hogeye isn't a Boston certified course, so my time wouldn't matter for qualification purposes, anyway. Raleigh is going to have over ten thousand runners, and a packed course is not an ideal time to go for speed. Oz is a repeat race for me, and while I may have a shot at some speed, it's a little bit hilly and challenging for a BQ attempt. And Square to Square is a free, unofficial marathon put on by a local running store, so certainly not Boston certified.

These races are about the joy of running, and all of the reasons to run other than fast. Race reports to come, but I can tell you up front, they will all be fun.

No comments:

Post a Comment