Can you believe fall starts one month from today? I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around it. I measure the coming of warm days by the piles of fresh peas at the farm stands near my house, and it wasn’t that long ago that they were abundant and tasting of late spring. Now we’re fully into ripe tomatoes and watermelon, and the corn. Don’t get me started on the corn…
In the beginning of this year, I wrote a post about my upcoming race schedule. I got the unicorns right (the Boston Athletic Association’s 5K, marathon, and 10K have been run), but other than that, there were a lot of things I did not get right. For the first time I skipped a race that I paid for. Then on 4/21, the “heat season” started earlier than I would have liked. Over the next couple of months, I got back into training, and have actually pushed it quite hard at times. I can now actually run on warmer days without having to stop, even though I think I still have a lot to learn about pacing myself and understanding how hard I am working at different heat/humidity levels.
While I’m not running at my fastest pace these days, I’m getting close. A few weeks ago I ran the Yukan Triple Threat. That was a 1 mile race followed by a 5K, and right after that we ran a half marathon. I finished the half in 2:06:35, which is about seven minutes off my personal best, but still not too bad (and better than my average). The Runner’s World race predictor suggests I can finish a marathon in under 4:24 based on that result… and I have nine weeks of training left between now and then (AND it should be cooler on race day).
Which brings me to my race calendar. Here’s what’s upcoming for me:
- 9/12 (& 9/13): Reach the Beach New Hampshire. 200 miles. 12 runners. 2 vans. Each runner gets about 17 miles on the course spread out over three legs. Mmmm… the smell of six runners in a van with no shower facilities within a hundred miles.
- 9/20: Salem Wicked Half Marathon. This was my first half… I look forward to shaving at least 15 minutes off my course record. Unless, of course, I’m completely spent because I just ran RTB the weekend before. Then I look forward to just hope to finish.
- 10/12: Boston Athletic Association Half Marathon. My final unicorn medal of 2014, and due to its proximity to the marathon, I still have to figure out how hard I’ll run for this race.
- 10/26: Marine Corps Marathon. Oorah. Here we go. Every other race builds to this one.
11/2: Manchester Half Marathon. Here’s how to make sure you get back up on the horse after a marathon. Schedule a challenging, hilly half marathon just seven days later. 11/27: Greater Derry Track Club Turkey Trot. 5 kilometers to start your Thanksgiving off right! 12/6 or 12/7: Jingle Bell Half or the Half Merrython. Two organizations with holiday themes in one weekend. Maybe I should run both of them… they should make some sort of cool “I jingled both halves to make a full yule marathon” bonus medal.
<EDIT: I’m temporarily suspending any new race sign-ups to keep my schedule a little bit more free for travel>
That feels like a pretty full schedule, so that should do it for 2014. Roughly 500 more miles if I stay healthy. I feel pretty good right now. I’m on a very specific training program that challenges me while hopefully not allowing me to overdo it. I’ll write more about RunCoach.com and how that works out for me as the season progresses.
Because my brain tends to operate in a linear fashion when it comes to these things, I’m most geeked up for Reach the Beach. What could be more fun than signing up to be part of a 12 person relay team that goes from one end of New Hampshire to the other? I first became aware of Reach the Beach right after moving to New England, and even though I wasn’t a runner at the time, I was enthralled by the idea. I never paid enough attention to know what weekend the race was going to be, but somehow seemed to always catch a little bit of the race while driving around. The relay goes through my town at one point, passing just a mile or two from our house. Who’s excited to be part of that? This guy, that’s who!
Here’s how it works. The race covers 200 miles in 36 segments. When your team starts, you go through runners 1 through 12 in order, and whatever order you chose is the order you are required to stay in from that point forward. So if you run leg 3, you also run leg 15 and 27. Unless, of course, one of your runners doesn’t show up. If that happens, three people will get an extra leg. You run 1 through 11 in order, and the guy who ran leg 3 also runs legs 14, 25, and 36.
The race goes on until you finish. Dark of night? Grab some lights and get out there. Scared of running at 2 in the morning in the deep woods of New Hampshire? Run faster! Hurricane rolling in? It will probably only be a tropical storm by the time it gets to New Hampshire. Grab some rain gear and run!
Here’s a video from last year’s Reach the Beach to show you what it’s all about.