Home sick with a sore throat, stuffy nose, and achy body today. Missed this morning’s run, this evening’s book club, a whole day of work, and have already cancelled tomorrow morning’s acupuncture appointment and tomorrow evening’s Pilates class. I spent all morning blogging for work, then spent all afternoon sleeping. I suppose it would have been asking too much for my birthday week to roll into a fortnight.
While running with BG around Lake Naomi on Saturday, I mentioned my marathon plans–to race the Empire State Marathon on October 16th in the hopes of qualifying for Boston 2012. BG pointed out that qualifying times must be run by September 23, 2011, when registration closes. Basically this I have two choices. One, I can train for and race a marathon earlier in the Fall– a September marathon, for example– in the hopes that I’ll run a qualifying time (sub 3:45, which requires shaving 4 minutes off my PR) and still be able to get a bib after all the faster runners have registered. Or two, I can stick with my original plan of racing the Empire State Marathon and try and qualify under the new standards for the 2013 race. The thing is, in 2013 I jump an age group, because I’ll be 40 for that running of the Boston Marathon, so the qualifying standard would be the same for me (instead of dropping down to 3:40). This makes me a little sad, since I had hoped to qualify before I was 40. Gosh, suddenly 40 seems uncomfortably close.
Racing a marathon in September seems dodgy–there’s that east coast humidity to deal with, and it crunches my base building into a shorter window than I’d been counting on. Right now I’m considering the Lehigh Valley Health Network Marathon for Via, on September 11, 2011. It’s a net downhill course but not by much–initially I thought i’d feel like qualifying on a net descent course would feel like “cheating” but I’ve heard from a lot of marathoners who testify that downhill races pose their own challenge as they are killer on the quads. The reviews on MarathonGuide.com are strong. The field is limited to 500 marathoners, and including the relay and the half-marathon there will be fewer than 3,000 runners on the course that day. The size is just right for me, since I have finally accepted the fact that I am not fond of races jammed with crowds and competitors. Regarding my concerns about the weather, this is what BG said when I emailed him Sunday night:
Lehigh Valley Marathon is largely run on a towpath along the Lehigh River – semi trail-like conditions. It’s a dirt and cinder path – low impact, but in some areas there are some tree roots and rocks to watch out for. I know the course well, having run it in pieces on relay teams, but never ran it as a marathon. A friend at work has, and I’ll get his take on it and let you know. One consideration is it’s all pretty much down in a river valley, and is often pretty humid early in the morning.
I once ran a marathon in early morning humidity–the Disney World Marathon (Orlando, 2008)–and I hated it. But I hated that marathon for many, many other reasons, too. I could stick with the Empire State Marathon and try and qualify for 2013. If I did that, then I could maybe run Berlin in 2012, as that would give me a nice window to recover before having to begin training for Boston (assuming I even get in). Of course, this is all bizarre speculation, since I know too well what happens when I make these sorts of plans. I get excited, I build my years around them, and then nothing turns out the way I’d planned!
I have a month before I need to commit to a training plan for a September marathon–so i’m happy to toss my options around until then. One thing I know for sure–I won’t ever train through the winter for another marathon again, unless it’s for Boston. What do you all think? Do you have any suggestions of smaller races within decent driving distances of New York City I could try out? What strategy would you take in trying for a BQ, given my last PR and my goals? I welcome your thoughts.