July 16, 2012

Creating your race schedule and converting your marathon times

Yesterday, I was pondering the importance of not trying to cram everything into life. This lesson hit home big time when the twins were born. There was just not enough time for so many of life's extras (sorry, PTA and bread baking and window cleaning), and I learned quickly to prioritize what had to be done, which mainly involved eating, sleeping and pooping. It's been way too long since poop was featured in the first paragraph of a post. You're welcome.


Although, the person sharing the idea of weeding out all but the best activities presented this thought on a spiritual level, I of course immediately took it to the running level. Even if a conversation or idea doesn't start with running, I can always make it end there. Annoying? My husband thinks so.

As I was trying to figure out my spring running schedule yesterday, I was overwhelmed with the number of amazing races there are to run. But I also have this compulsion to run the same race multiple times to beat my last time on the course. Hello, Savannah RNR Marathon. I mean business this time. I hope!

One of the races I was considering this year is Big Sur (because it's epically gorgeous times ten), but the cost of flying, entering, hoteling, rent-a-car-ing starts to add up fast. If I don't eat for a few weeks afterwards, I'm totally set.

Source

So then I started to look at other races that are supposedly scenic but closer to home. And then I thought, what if we move from here in a year or two, and I'm mad at myself for not running every southern race I could while I had the chance? The list of coulds, shoulds and that-would-be-dang-awesomes is way too long for me to even begin to wrap my small runner mind around.

So I'm going to bullet point the things that I am looking for in a race to see if it can help me narrow down the choices for spring.

1. Close to family so I can visit and run. 
2. A fast course to help qualify for Boston. 
3. A course so beautiful that I forget Boston exists. 
4. Southern courses that may not be as easily accessible later in life. 

One of my most reoccurring thoughts is that I should take advantage of life as it is currently situated because things can quickly change. Using this logic, I have two sisters who live in LA, so I should run the LA marathon. And where else could you run with 50 Slash look-alikes?

Source

Also, I should run all of the AL, TN, GA, MS races that I have the desire to run. Oh, plus that is way cheaper than flying somewhere to run.

And I'd like to throw a local 50K in there. Sounds like I need to go back to paragraph one. Focus on what is most important. Don't just try to cram everything into the schedule.

Also in looking for fast courses, I found a cool marathon time conversion site, where you can type in your finish time for one marathon, and it will supposedly give you a time estimate for another marathon and whether you have a greater chance of PRing. Of all the races I clicked, it told me that Rocket City was my best chance to set a personal record.

Have any of you ever run the LA Marathon? It definitely won't be as scenic as Big Sur, but I've heard the race supporters are amazing. I accidentally spectated this race the year my niece was born in LA. In the middle of walking around my sister's neighborhood, I realized that some crazy awesome street party was happening a block over. Of course, I needed to check that out. Turns out the party was a race. That was before running was even a blip in my imagination, but it planted a tiny seed of desire.

If you are familiar with the South, which marathons are the must-runs near Alabama?


Which are the must-run races of all time, any location?


How do you pick your races for the upcoming seasons? 

28 comments:

  1. I love your picture of don't ask me to volunteer. One day I will be able to help in your questions of races/marathons. xx

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    1. Yes! Have you picked a 5K yet? Or are you waiting for the heat wave to pass?:)

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  2. All good bullet points you listed! I am cheap and therefore pick races close to me, my family, and friends. There are 3 in the fall I am looking at...2 in NY (I could stay at my parents for one and with my best friend for the other) and 1 in PA (I'm not terribly far from Philly). I qualified for Boston at the VT marathon and if I get in, I told my husband there is a 150% that we will be having a weekend Boston getaway, lol. Sorry I can't be of assistance with the south/west marathons. You may want to check out skinny runners page as she recaps all her races and has done 30+ marathons I think. Good luck!! :)

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    1. Good idea on checking out SR's list. And, I'm with you on Boston. If you qualify and get in, you run! Congrats on qualifying!

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  3. If I answer all of your questions perfectly and completely, will you promise to leave "poop" out of your next blog?

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  4. You're really thinking ahead. I have not even finalized my Fall race schedule yet. Just off the top of my head, Albany, GA and KY Derby in Louisville are fast courses. I have not run either but have heard good things. Of course, weather could be a little warm after February. My PR was set at Mercedes this year and you can't go wrong with that race.

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    1. Thanks for the tips! I haven't finalized fall either, but I want to do at least one marathon and want to schedule everything else around that.

      Mercedes was so fun! I did the half with my brother and loved it!

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  5. I am not the person to ask for race advice because I appear to have this obsessive addiction to them. My husband just said to me last night, after I flashed a Runner's World Big Sur ad at him, "You don't have to run every single race you can think of every year!" I happily told him the 2013 race sold out the day after registration opened so Big Sur 2013 is not possible! As I type that, I look up at the registration confirmation pages pinned to my board - 3 are Disney related. Big Sur is not possible in more ways than one - this racing addiction of mine is putting me in the hole in a major way!!! But I can't seem to control myself. Therefore, I'm going to give you this advice (do as I say, not as I do) and try to stay close to home!! Although I have 3 out of state races on the schedule, I do have 6 local races planned!

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    1. You are talking to a fellow addict! I feel your pain.

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  6. We're having all the same thoughts. Something has come up which means we may move away from California a year earlier than we'd expected so suddenly I'm thinking of the races I haven't done that I wish I HAD done, and the trips we haven't done that we want to do...and we're suddenly reworking our priorities as well. I'm hoping that the 'something' goes away so we can stay a bit longer.

    You should think about the London marathon, it was amazing, And I'd like to run Paris as well.

    And please never leave poo out of a blog post. It's an obsession in our family and I'm glad to see someone shares it.

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    1. My dream race in Europe is the intercontinental race starting in Istanbul. But London and Paris would obviously be awesome too!!!

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  7. I pick most of my races based on distance. I am just too poor to get crazy though one day I would like to do some of the big destination races.

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  8. I like the idea of local races, to eliminate the travel and hotel costs. If you have any inkling that you may not be in your area much longer, absolutely take advantage of local races. Grass is always greener isn't it?!

    But, on the other side, we only live once, and if finances allow travel I would totally say check out another part of the US. Easier for me to say, because I don't have kiddos to drag along or find a sitter for.

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  9. Before I move out of Montana, I'm totally running the Madison Marathon (a.k.a the highest road marathon in the country and possibly the world, a.k.a. don't bother with a watch, there ain't no qualifying for Boston on this run, a.k.a. just cruise along and enjoy the view).

    I tend to look for races that are under $40 and less than an hour drive, although the distance limit is not always feasible here.

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    1. In all of my searches, I also read that the Missoula marathon (not sure if that's the official name) gets amazing ratings from runners. I put it on my list of want-tos!

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  10. A friend of mine has done the Southern Tennessee Plunge Marathon and said it was a great course, with great people. Not sure the views will be quite Big Sur-esque, but then again what is? Great blog, really get a kick out of the humor involved. I'm also really impressed with the planning– planning for the fall is about as far as I get in July.

    Greg at Dazadi.com

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    1. Two votes so far for Southern TN plunge! Thanks for visiting the blog! I'm still planning fall too, but if I want to do something major for spring, I figure I'll pick it out now and then plan smaller races around the major one.

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  11. I don't have any race tips but I just have to say that the picture of the field trip chaperone is priceless!

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  12. I can't answer any of your questions, but I love that picture and the caption! So hilarious!!!

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  13. I have run the LA Marathon - it was my very first - and YES to spectators and race support being awesome! It was like a party the entire way. Not very scenic, but very fun.

    I also live in Huntsville and have run Rocket City several times. It is a flat, fast course. Boring scenery, but flat and fast with good spectators because they have a contest. Not sure if you are a headphone wearer, but they are crazy against that here in Huntsville.

    A favorite I ran last year without any training was the Southern Tennessee Plunge Marathon. GORGEOUS scenery. It is very small and I remember a few little hills, but overall I LOVED it. I was not trained and so I was just taking it easy to try and finish the thing and it ended up going so well! It is October 9 this year. I'm registered for the half this year, but since I will have a newborn, I'm not sure if that is a bit...ambitious. :)

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    1. OK, you're the second person to praise Southern Tennessee Plunge! I am definitely going to sign up for that next year. Or maybe I could try the half this year. I think it's to close to Savannah to try to pull off the full, especially because Savannah is a goal race. But a half might be doable.

      That's what I hoped with LA. I talked to my sister today about it, and I think I'm getting closer to adding that to my list.

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  14. I just happened upon your blog and I love it. I am an Alabama lady (runner, mother of four, also)...but I live in the mountains of Colorado now. Put the San Juan Solstice on your long term goal list. It is a 50 mile mountain race and is AMAZING. Lots of runner support and talk about scenic. The San Juans are some of the most beautiful mountains in the US. I am a huge fan of the race, I have never run it...but always help out or cheer. My brother-in-law ran it and said it was amazing. The SJS starts and ends in our great little town called Lake City, CO. www.lakecity50.com check out the photos and race map, it will blow your mind!

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    1. And it's not as far away as Big Sur! I wonder if flights are cheaper to CO?

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  15. I'm the worst race chooser. I have commitment issues. Lol. But I guess I'm doing a 5k on Friday. And I want to do a half marathon next month. We'll see if that happens.

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    1. I love when you are in good enough shape to just drop in a half marathon any ole time! You rock!

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  16. I'd be crazy excited if you ran Rocket City since I'm running that for my first full. I've heard nothing but good things about it. The Southern Plunge looks like a good one as well. I wanted to do that half but it wouldn't work with my schedule.

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