Catch the fever. I've got it already!
It's very exciting that between the magical socks, pacing myself better the second time around and being used to this mileage now, I'm recovering nicely from the marathon thirteen days ago. I've just been doing recovery runs but they feel MUCH, much better than the days following MCM. Having reached that BQ goal, I'm getting a bit more confidence to set some new goals that seemed nuts before, and am experiencing some weird nervous energy that has me heading to the internet to start scheduling out the rest of my running year. Watching Boston online on Monday, and then viewing all the subsequent photos and race reports sent my recovery madness into a frenzied pitch. Luckily, I don't feel so alone in this phenomenon-Miranda, who BQ'd the same day as me, but at the Illinois Marathon, says it's the same story at her end too. So, what have I done with that madness?
Well, for one, I've planned out the remainder of my 2009 race schedule, after I said I was just going to run whatever I felt like between now and the 114th Boston Marathon. Translation-I had a list of races in the back of my head that I skipped here and there over much of the past year in order to give myself the best chance possible to BQ. There were others I was prepared to shelf if I needed another BQ attempt in the fall, too. Now, happily, I'm revisiting all of them.
Next "big" race on the horizon is the Bolder Boulder on Memorial Day. I ran it with my oldest daughter last year, and we had a blast. This year, I'm staying with a friend who runs it most years, so I went from needing to skip it for financial reasons to being able to do it between not bringing the family, and having free lodging in Boulder (well, I'll be sure to bring her a very nice bottle of wine from one of our local wineries, or some good microbrew as a little way of saying thanks).
For those unfamiliar with the race, the unique thing about the Bolder Boulder is the wave system. It makes this second largest 10K in the nation (first being the Peachtree Road Race in Georgia) one of the most well-oiled machines you've ever seen. The first 22 waves are qualifying waves. You have to provide a documented time to run in one of them, so it is a very unique opportunity for the average joe to start a race in a wave full of people who run at the same pace. All the waves after the first 22 continue on with 62-70 minute, 70-90 minute, 90+ minute waves, and a number of other specialized waves, including military and middle school waves. It's a great race-within-a-race setup, with each wave of a few hundred people getting its own start and a trumpeter's call to the post.
I'll be running in the BA wave this year. All of my last three race results convert over to a 10K that puts me squarely in that wave, so I went from being terrified to excited to see how I might be able do. It's a challenging course-if you take the start too fast, you'll pay later as you go uphill to Folsom Field, and you have to be dilligent to run the tangents on this curvy, winding course through the streets of Boulder. The course support is great, and lots of fun, quirky people line the course (there's a bacon station with both regular and tofu bacon, beer stations, slip and slides...you name it). After the citizen race, there is a wonderful Memorial Day celebration with military flyover, and the elite race, which featured the likes of Ryan Hall and Deena Kastor last year. Can you see why, after I swore I was going to skip it to save money this year, I jumped at the chance to do it when I found out I could crash with a friend?
Throughout the summer and fall, I do plan to just stick around my corner of the state. In June, I will do my first half marathon in a year, the Steamworks Animas Valley Half. Race entry was relatively inexpensive, I will again be able to crash with a friend the night before, the field is capped at 300 runners and they give runners free food from the grill, and beer from the brewery from which the race takes its name. Did I mention the beautiful course? It was a no-brainer to sign up for this race.
Further down the road, I'll run The Other Half Marathon (literally, "the other half marathon" run in Moab, Utah, complimenting the original Canyonlands Half Marathon), which was my very first half marathon in 2007. I didn't run it last year because it was two weeks before MCM-too close for comfort. It'll be great to run that beautiful course again. In anticipation of the May 1st opening day of registration, I was able to book a room somewhere without a mandatory two-night stay the night before the race. I also booked lodging in Ouray for the Imogene Pass Run in September, in anticipation of the crush of runners looking for lodging in the small, Swiss-influenced mountain town.
The IPR causes a runner to run the gamut from fatigue, exhaustion and frustration to joy, a sense of well-being and accomplishment. Both agony and ecstasy are guaranteed for those who sign up. As you slowly march your way to the summit in the thin air, you curse yourself for participating in this trip over the mountain from Ouray to Telluride, and promise yourself you'll never do it again if you can just make it through. When participants feel the need to stop on the way, they very noticeably turn and face DOWN the mountain so they don't fall victim to head games and defeatist attitudes that could easily come from looking up the mountain.
Upon reaching the summit, though, the pain melts away and gives way to a feeling of "I got up here on my own two feet! I did it!" and by the time you come down the Telluride side, you're already thinking about how to come back next year and do it a little better and faster. (Of course, it's not over after the summit...they see the most falls in the first mile after the summit from competitors who made a 10-mile uphill ascent, and suddenly have to switch to good downhill form!) This was my slowest race finish last year relative to my position in the pack, and it's one that gave me some of the best feelings and positive mojo from a race.
Beyond the above races, I'll try my hand (or feet) at a variety of local races as they fit into our family's schedule, and will be doing some fun runs with the kids at area 5K's. The first one is next weekend, with my middle daughter, and will primarily be walking and jogging intervals while my oldest runs with her Girls on the Run coach and teammates further up.
The last bit of recovery madness to strike is the commencement of Boston 2010 planning (yes, already!). It's a good thing I was sitting down when I got my first bit of sticker shock over hotel prices. The sad thing is that when I went to individual hotel websites, I found that the rates available through marathontours.com really WERE "deals" compared to regular hotel rates that border on the insane. I wouldn't have said it last fall, but it truly worked out for the best in that I did not qualify for this year's Boston Marathon and thus have a full year to save my money. We want to strike a balance between being as frugal as possible, but also enjoy what will be only the second childless long weekend away in what will then be thirteen years of marriage. It'll also be great to meet some of my virtual training partners. Their advice, support and friendship through highs and lows of training and racing (and on topics completely unrelated to running, too) is really valuable to me, and I look forward to celebrating with as many of them as possible next April.
So, that's it for now...just "hurry up and wait," try to recover well and get back to one hundred percent. This marathon recovery period is perfectly timed, too. We have about a month until the end of the school year here, and the dance studio's annual recital plus the addition of the usual "winter" ballet being moved to the same weekend as well. With each of our four kids taking at least one class, and my temporary withdrawal from the adult classes, it will be my first time ever sitting in the audience with my husband with all kids backstage/onstage! That sounds like an actual date, or something.
A big shout-out of good luck to Oklahoma City Marathon BQ-attempting gals NJGirl, and JMGWitt, and OKC first time half-marathoner and blogger Oz Runner! I'm very excited for each of you, and will be cheering you on from my home.