On I went, out of the wood, passing the man leading without knowing I was going to do so. Flip-flap, flip-flap, jog-trot, jog-trot, curnchslap-crunchslap, across the middle of a broad field again, rhythmically running in my greyhound effortless fashion, knowing I had won the race though it wasn't half over, won it if I wanted it, could go on for ten or fifteen or twenty miles if I had to and drop dead at the finish of it, which would be the same, in the end, as living an honest life like the governor wanted me to. -Alan Sillitoe, "Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner"

Thursday, November 11, 2010

What's next?

YES, YES, YES there is a good and proper break in my future, one in which I will not only take time off from running, but I will feel no guilt about it.  In other words: my proposed trip to Egypt for the month of January is looking more and more likely.  That's three weeks without gym access.  I will use this time to think about what I get out of running, what I want out of running, and how I can make these two mesh.  

Hint: fewer races, and actually racing the ones I sign up for.

I'm also going to consider the marathon itself, and whether it's something I should continue to do or not.  I love running marathons.  I love identifying as a marathoner, and I love long distances.  But, let's face facts here: I suck at them.  I'm really, really truly not a good marathon runner.  Not right now, anyway.

I might consider focusing more on the Fun Size Marathon - you might know it by its old name, the "half marathon."  It's easier to fit a 10 or 13m long run into my schedule and I want to stick to a distance where I can have a strategy that moves beyond "just finish the race."

Because that's the thing, ultimately: seven marathons in, it's no longer enough to just finish.  Before I got sick, I was to the point where I could race the marathon.  Yes, this is only my third post-sickness marathon (and only the second one I've been remotely prepared for), but mentally I want to be racing and not just finishing.  I want to be walking backwards down stairs the next day instead of feeling, you know, a touch sore but nothing too bad.

I'm still registered for that small race in Tennessee, the Flying Monkey.  I still haven't officially taken it off the table.  I am prepared for it and registered for it, and eeking it out would earn me marathon maniac status (at the bronze level) - although at this point, I'm not sure that's something I even want anymore.  The Flying Monkey, though, is out of my hands: right now, direct flights are prohibitively expensive (upwards of $400) and connecting flights are terribly inconvenient (no affordable options leave Sunday evening, and the Monday morning options don't get me back to NYC in time for work).

Also?  This totally happened in front of my office yesterday.  An ambulance blew up and they evacuated our building because of it.

I'm on hiatus tomorrow, traveling to Chicago to climb the Sears Tower with my brother.  Maybe Monday, too.  I'll be back soon.


  1. Hooray for Egypt! That's so awesome - it sounds like a perfect time to really think about what you want from running.

    I still can't believe an ambulance blew up. They are supposed to save people! So weird. Climbing up millions of flights of stairs sounds very scary, especially 4 days post-marathon. I can barely make it up one flight! Good luck and have fun :)

  2. I highly recommended the Fun Size route. It's what I spent most of this year doing and it was AWESOME.

  3. Or you can go bite sized and do 10Ks. Takes a fraction of the time and you still get a T-shirt. Ha! Any races on tap in Central Park for December? Have fun in Chi-Town.

  4. Have fun at the Sears (Willis?! Ha) Tower Climb!

    After my first marathon I wonder if I should try to "race" one too. I really enjoyed it, but wonder if I should do them if I am no good. I think I need to change my training plan though.

  5. Sarah, NO PLANS for any December races, at all! Maybe I'll be bold (and contrary to typical NYRR fashion) and go to Central Park to cheer runners on.