I think I need a 12-step program for Runners (see what I did there? 12 'step' program?). Trying to keep my list of races for 2014 down to something manageable is tough. There are so many races on my bucket list! Enough to keep me running for the next 30 years (if I am blessed with the ability to compete for that long).
One the one hand, I love running races and doing so in different locales. I love running races because I enjoy the thrill of the challenge and the accomplishment. And I love the camaraderie and excitement that permeates the expo and the start corrals on Race Day. I love running the course (maybe not so much after Mile 20), and sharing in those fun and memorable experiences that happen out there. And I love the Finish Line and the cool bling that awaits me there!
On the other hand, there is much to be said for 'quality vs quantity', not to mention budgetary and time management realities. I ran 22 races in 2013 and I do not really want to run that many in 2014. It would be great to actually build in some 'off season' time, and to make time for other events coming up next year that satisfy other aspects/interests of my life. (Yes, I do have a life outside of running lol).
So far, my plan has been to 'front-load' my full marathons in the Spring months before the heat and humidity take hold, and then plan for one Fall marathon. Other races kinda get slotted in where they will fit in with my training schedule for those marathons. And now that I have decided to complete the full 5-race 'Space Coast Marathon Big Bang series', I have to factor that into the plan as well.
Can I tell you my secret? I love running races with friends. Whether it is running as a group or sharing the race with friends scattered throughout the course, it is just more fun being able to hang out with your buddies before, during, and after the race. So when friends say "Hey! We should run this race together!", it takes a lot of willpower to pick and choose (and sometimes having to decline).
So after much debate, thought, gnashing of teeth, and fiscal planning, I 'think' I have come up with a race schedule that will work. And, surprisingly, the number of races is about half that of 2013.
Feb 3 - Groundhog Day Half
This race is one of those where the shows goes on regardless of the weather. Held in Grand Rapids, MI, it will surely be a very cold and likely snowy race experience. I figure it can't be more difficult than my 2012 Polar Dash Half Marathon where it was 15F and snowing the entire race. This will be my first Half Marathon in Michigan! And just for fun, they have a 4.4 mile evening run the night before the Half which I will definitely do.
Mar 9 – LA Marathon
This race begins my Spring marathon series. I selected the Los Angeles Marathon for three reasons. First, because my Dad wondered why I didn't run it in 2013 and he said he'd come watch me in 2014. Second, I grew up in Los Angeles and so it feels like a 'hometown race' to me. And third, because my buddy Joe Taricani will be one of the race announcers which will make the race even more fun!
Mar 29 - Penguin in the Park 5K
This will be my third consecutive year running this race. John Bingham sponsors this race to help fund a Millikin University scholarship program. My daughter is a senior at Milliken so it is fun to run this race and with her there. Afterwards we all eat a post-race breakfast on campus. Usually my running partner and friends from my W.I.S.H. running team run this with me.
Apr 12 - Carmel Marathon
This will be my first Full race in Indiana and I have heard good things about this race from my Indiana running peeps. Looking forward to the scenery of this course, and I am sure to see some Maniacs friends to hang with.
Apr 25-26 - Illinois 5K/10K Mini I-Challenge
This is a two-day race challenge with a 5K on Friday and a 10K on Saturday. I ran their Half I-Challenge in 2012 (5K & Half). I decided to do the 'mini' so at some point, I will have one of each medal (once I run their Full later on). My main reason for going to this race weekend is to cheer for a few friends who are running their first Half marathon. I figure I can run my race and then have plenty of time to go back out and cheer for them!
May 4 – Kalamazoo Marathon
This will be the last Full marathon for the Spring and my first Full in Michigan (completing both the Half and Full distances in that state). I have friends who live in Kalamazoo so I look forward to spending time with them both before and after the race. I wish I had the time to go up to Idlewild MI and stay at our summer place for a few quiet days. Hmmm.. I will have to see what the work schedule (and my vacation time) looks like by then.
Jun 6-7 - Ragnar Chicago
I am very excited about this race! This is a two-day, 196-mile relay race from Madison WI to the lakefront in Chicago. I am running with 11 other friends (mostly from the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago) and it will be the first race of this kind in which I have ever participated. I will probably run about 20 miles total during this relay. I am sure there will be some amazing stories to tell after this one! Good thing our Bishop is running with us -- he can keep the Holy Spirit close by!
Jul 20 - Rock-n-Roll Chicago Half
This will be the third consecutive year I have run this race. It is usually pretty hot and humid in July in Chicagoland, so this race is definitely one I prefer to run with friends for the fun of it. Running through the city is always a great experience! Last year, I ran with several friends from Team AllEars. I hope they come back for it in 2014!
NOTE: The next three races with the asterisk (*) beside the name haven't been finalized yet. If I get into the NYC Marathon, I will probably run either the Center of the Nation or the Mohawk Hudson races but not both. If I don't get into NYC, then I will run the other two.
*Sep 19-20 – Center of the Nation Marathon Weekend (SD, WY)
This race series is actually five consecutive full/half marathons but I only plan to run two of them. If I do this, I will add SD and WY to my list of states, and I will move up to a 4-start Marathon Maniac. The cool thing about these races is that there are no time limits. So if I run out of gas during the second marathon, I know I will still be able to finish.
*Oct 12 – Mohawk Hudson Marathon
This will be my first race in New York State! And I get to run it with a great friend who I ran the Disneyworld Full Marathon with this past January. Any time I can run a race with friends from my W.I.S.H. racing team, I am a happy camper!
*Nov 2 - NYC Marathon
I know that I want to run four of the Marathon Majors in my running career. I've run Chicago. Now I need to run New York, London, and Berlin. So I entered into the NYC lottery to see if I can get s spot in next year's race. If I do, that will be awesome! If I don't, I will try again another time. But a chance to run through the city of New York would be a special event indeed!
Nov 23 - Route 66 Half Marathon
This will be my first Half Marathon in Oklahoma. Pretty cool! This race has some special perks for members of the Marathon Maniacs, Half Fanatics, and 50-Staters -- particularly that the Finishers medal/ribbon is unique for members of those clubs. I expect there will be a ton of fellow Maniacs and Fanatics there to help make the race a hoot. Let's just hope the weather is a bit warmer in 2014 and not in the 20s like this year!
Nov 30 – Space Coast Half Marathon
This will be the second of five races in which I will participate for the Space Coast race series. The medal for this race will be for the Challenger Space Shuttle. I love the space program so running this race is special for me in that regard. Plus, after the race I get to spend time with my first cousins!! Hey Doug, I still expect you to run this race with me in 2014!
Well, there you have it! My 2014 race schedule. Hopefully, with solid training, no injuries, and no life surprises, everything will go great. And, we will see just how much self-control I can muster to avoid letting the race count 'creep up' as the year progresses. LOL (My wife and friends would say 'good luck with that!')