With one simple click, everything changes.
Anybody ever do this? Fill out the online entry form and then just sit there, finger nervously twitching as you hesitate to press that mouse button and commit to something big? Maybe a distance you have never done before? A Full IRONMAN? An Ultra? Your first “race” (no matter the distance)?
Because now I have skin in the game. Granted, it’s not IRONMAN money (which, more than the training, is why I will probably NEVER do one). But skin, nonetheless. Now I have to “train”. Not just run. I have to stretch to distances that make me uncomfortable. I have to push my limits. I have to be hungry and tired and wet and hot and cold and grumpy and sleepy and all the other dwarves at the same time.
So… After much self induced stressing and gnashing of teeth, I finally picked a race to start my longer distances journey with. The Berryman Marathon on May 16. Deep in the heart of the Ozarks. It has a 50 miler as well but I’m not ready for that. I looked at Land Between the Lakes in Tennessee, the Little Rock Marathon and a few others. They were either (in my opinion) too soon or I had something going or… or…
In the end I just looked at what my goals are. I just want to successfully complete a trail marathon, a road marathon and an ultra distance race this year. So going slow and giving myself plenty of time to ramp up is not a bad thing. There are a few shorter races in between to run and I’m also trying not to break the bank so the closer I can stick to home, the better. Berryman may be the farthest away from home I get. I might just do something crazy like run Heart of America for my road marathon (here in Columbia) and then run Rock Bridge Revenge for my 50K. Anything else in, on and around those races is just gravy. If I feel fantastic as the training progresses… maybe I’ll go farther… A 50 miler, perhaps? Or maybe I will hit the ceiling again and have to back off. Either way, I’m more comfortable doing it closer to home than half way across the country. If I have another great year…? Maybe a mountain ultra… or a 100 miler. Or… Dare I say… an Iron distance triathlon.
But I had to start someplace…
I ran 14 miles yesterday. The significance of this run was simply that it felt REALLY good. Dead on 9 minute pace. Not breathing hard. Nutrition feeling good (yay, Tailwind!). I even ran with music… which I never do. Just to see how it felt. I felt like I could have easily gone 16-18 miles. But why? The good news is there is NO RUSH. If I continue to slowly push up my mileages, I will still be at marathon distance by March 1. This still gives me a month and a half before Berryman. Since I am looking to go longer anyway, I may try to work up to 30 miles by the end of April if I feel good.
In the meantime, there is the ROC run in January, lots of little road races sprinkled all through the spring, the Sedalia half, a duathlon or two… Who knows? It’s really fun to think of being able to do all of those races with no pressure. Just going out to have a good time and do the best I can. It’s a different world.