A Half-Marathon a Month for a Year
Sometimes it takes me a while to get around to doing good things. Especially if those good things are something I've been doing for a while, things people have complimented me on, things I feel I have even the smallest of footholds. Oh, I've made some progress? Time to let that go.
Like this blog. It's been quite some time since my last post. I knew I'd take a break after the marathon. I hit the post-big goal lull that's inevitable after a long run. I had, and still have, some runs planned, but not 26 milers. Summer arrived. A 1/2 marathon happened, then another. A good friend flew into town from Indonesia for an extended stay. One of my closest friends moved and with her, the core of my running group. In other words, good ole' dependable changes occurred in my training schedule and in my life in general. And I rolled with it as best I could. But I also let some things slide, like writing. While I had no doubt I would continue running, regardless of if I was with a group or not, I wasn't sure what my aim was anymore with the blog. After all, a blog should have a direction, should it not? Even if it's not obvious in every blog title or post (like with certain restricted diet cooking blogs or financial advice blogs), the author should at least know why they are writing.
My quandry was solved in the usual place - out for drinks with friends who run. We were in Beavertonback in May, not the most inspirational place, but we were grabbing a beer before heading to Du Kuh Bee's, which in my humble opinion has the best noodles in the tri-met area. Morgan and I have run more races together than I can count on one hand and Kathy and I were in the same Hood to Coast van together. With these two, I came up with the idea to run a 1/2 marathon a month for 12 months.
In June, I had already planned to run the Backyard 1/2 Marathon in White Salmon. In July, I had the Fueled by Fine Wine 1/2. In August, I am running the Front Range Relay in Colorado (X fingers about the fires, for many more reasons than our relay) which has me running about 21 miles, so I'll either count that or find a 1/2 marathon somewhere around Portland.
That's three. Why not keep going?
I know it's a little gimmicky, but with long-distance running sometimes a gimmick is needed to maintain interest. Hello compression arm warmers and rock n' roll events! The 1/2 marathon distance would also allow me to easily train up when I decide what/where/when my next marathon will be. When I train for halfs, my weekend runs are between 10-12 miles and build up to 15. I read a quote from a man who had done over 60 marathons, a guy in his 60s. Not an elite, just somebody who liked to run. When asked how he did so many runs without being injured, he replied (allow the paraphrase here), "I train so that I'm always ready to do a marathon. I never allow myself to get that out of shape." Best advice I've heard about running yet. With the 1/2 marathon plan, I figure I'll pretty much be following it.
I hope to be a far better blogger about my upcoming 1/2-marathons and the Front Range Relay than I have been about my last two races. Let me give brief overviews of both, though they deserve far more.
Aid station, Heartbreak Hill, White Salmon
Kicked. My. Ass. This free (yep, free) event is put on as a fundraiser for the White Salmon High School Cross-Country running team. For a few miles, Morgan and I ran ran behind the running coach, a man who chatted personably to other runners about the event in years past. I contributed $30, I'm sure others did both more and less. Needless to say, the team exceeded their goal. The feeling of camraderie at this race was lovely and makes me want to search out running events in a similar vein. We ran up Heartbreak Hill, which has a ridge called Triple-bypass Hill at the end of it. Both were aptly name. We ran past a monastary, through pastures, and past the most stunning views of the Gorge. At all the aid stations, volunteers handed out HOMEMADE goodies (no-bake cookies, granola bars, etc.). People stopped and waited to take in the view. That and we were all about to pass out. I've never walked that much in a race. That's right, people, walked. We hiked a mountain. And almost more difficult, we then looped down a steep, steep single track to return to the finish. It was terrifing - and brilliant. My friend Theresa came in third and she said even the frontrunners walked. Like I said, an asskicker. I'll be back next year.
FUELED BY FINE WINE: Dundee Hills, Oregon. This is one of my favorite runs, period. Yep, it's fancy schmancy. Yep, the promoters are LandRover and the charity is to save the Pyrenees (big fluffy dogs need saving, too). And yes, you end at a winery where you drink a buttload of wine. Get your nose out of the air and get your ass to this race. Again, the views are mindblowing. The people are great. I got into a pack that I basically stayed with the whole race (over 10 miles are on dirt - dirt as in vineyard backroads, fields, single track). We would head up some steep hills and it was the power of the pelaton hauling us up. And at the end, we drank some good wine. The celebration tent was definitely better last year, but the race course was far improved.
"Tasting" wine after the race. Theresa came in third for the 2nd time. Stoller Vineyard.