New Year's Day 2010 doesn't seem all that long ago, and now I am very happy to welcome a new year and a new race calendar. For the record, I probably should not be allowed to read other runners' blogs; it only serves to fill my head with crazy ideas and wagers about the maximum number of races that I can run in one year before my body decides that it hates me.
It's only now that I'm starting understand exactly why I like running in races -- besides the sweet t-shirts, finisher's medals, and competition. To be completely honest, I enjoy the goal-setting (and goal-accomplishing) that comes with running races. Don't get me wrong, I have plenty of goals to work toward (including that whole doctorate thing -- by the way, folks, I've decided that it's GWU School of Education or bust), but the prospect of crossing a finish line and the glory that comes with it are great motivators to keep this crazy train moving.
In 2011, I hope to run at least one marathon (two maximum), one half-marathon, and several local races. The problem is deciding which races to run:
March 20, 2011 - Shamrock Marathon: Virginia Beach, VA: I'm seriously considering running this race. However, one potential challenge is that I'm committed to running the Cherry Blossom 10-Miler in DC on April 3, 2011 (two weeks after the marathon). Then again, I can always run the half-marathon for a great weekend getaway in March.
May 1, 2011 - Gettysburg North-South Marathon: Gettysburg, PA: Combines my love of American history and running. One of the cool things about this race is that, although it’s a single event, there are two courses: "North" and "South." Plus, there's something wonderfully awkward about running a course based on the side your state fought in during the Civil War.
May 1, 2011 - Cox Road Races Providence Marathon: Providence, RI: One of my good friends from college mentioned this race to me a while back, and -- according to Facebook -- he's already registered. I took a quick look at the course map and elevation, and I imagine this would be a great place to shoot for a personal record. (The elevation peaks near mile 7, and the rest of the course is relatively flat after that.)
October 15, 2011 - ING Marathon: Hartford, CT: This is one of the few marathons held in my home state, and it would be awesome to run a race so close to home. Like the Providence Marathon, the course is flat after Mile 5.
November 6, 2011 - ING New York City Marathon: New York, NY: I imagine that running a marathon through New York City would be an incredible experience, but I can't say with certainty that I'm going to run this race because there is a lottery for bib numbers. I think that I'll just enter and hope for the best. (P.S. I love that there are video checkpoints at this race. The stakes are pretty high for elite runners, but little old 9:13-minute mile me isn’t going to win any prize money or be named the top female runner in the world as a result of this race.)
I've spent some time clicking through the Washington Runner's Report Race Calendar to come up with a list of options for 5Ks and 10Ks to fill in gaps between the longer races, but there is also a chance that I'll find some awesome races on the Potomac River Running Race Calendar once it is updated for the new year.
Readers, I welcome your comments and suggestions if you have any experience with any of the above races or other favorites.
No matter what, I am looking forward to whatever this year brings. I hope you will forgive me for quoting Jack Dawson, but I think it is fitting considering my one resolution for this year: "I figure life's a gift and I don't intend on wasting it. You don't know what hand you're gonna get dealt next. You learn to take life as it comes at you...to make each day count. "
Happy New Year, folks. Here's to making 2011 count.