My Next Marathon . . . Maybe

I have been going for walks nearly every morning.  I need to get out and move, so I go. It has been so oppressively hot and disgusting outside that I’ve been sort of glad that I was walking and not running.  Until today.  When I headed out at 7 am, it was still “only” about 70 degrees.  And it was beautiful.  Much less humid, with a light breeze.  So of course I started thinking about my next marathon.  As one does.

Any marathon is definitely out for this year.  In theory I might be able to find a race in December and have just enough time to train for it.  But why?  I decided to do another marathon largely to enjoy the experience of training with my friends.  Grinding out those long miles on my own doesn’t sound fun at all.

So then I thought about switching my registration for the Shamrock Marathon from the half to the full.  Other Liz and Rainey are running the full, so I would have training buddies.  But I’ve said many, many times that marathon training in the winter is not for me.  I’m not a baby about running in cold weather, but logging all of those miles in the dark and having to coordinate runs around snowstorms and icy conditions doesn’t sound like fun at all.  And there is nothing I hate more than the treadmill.  Plus, I really want to stick to my plan to work on speed this winter and spring.  I had a big PR at the Shamrock Half this year, and I would love to take another chunk of time off in 2018.  So Shamrock Full 2018, and probably any full in spring 2018, is out.

The local marathon training team, which preps runners for the Richmond Marathon in November, agreed to let me defer my registration from this year to next.  They typically don’t allow deferrals, but made an exception for me since I was injured so badly and so early on in the season.  But this essentially committed me to running a marathon in fall 2018, and automatically entered me in the Richmond Marathon.

It’s tough for me to get excited about running Richmond again.  I’ve run most sections of that course several times now.  It’s not an especially challenging course, but it isn’t easy either.  Miles 16-20ish are a long, gradual uphill, and that’s where I completely fell apart last year.

I might feel differently after seeing many of my friends run it this fall, but I’m not that jazzed about the idea of running Marine Corps.  It’s partially the negative association from having to miss it this year.   And it’s partially that the logistics frighten me a bit.  I like the idea of doing a smaller race that’s not in the middle of a major city.

Which brings me to my likely choice for a 2018 Marathon: the Steamtown Marathon in Scranton, Pennsylvania.   Pros for Steamtown:

  • Point-to-point course with a net elevation of about -900 feet!  Looks beautiful in the pictures too.
  • On the smaller side, but not tiny.  As far as I can tell they typically have about 2000-3000 runners.  And the crowd support is supposed to be awesome.
  • Definitely not close to home, but reasonable driving distance.
  • Relatively inexpensive, at least as compared to New York or Marine Corps.
  • I think I can talk several friends into doing it with me.  🙂

Negatives for Steamtown:

  • A little farther drive than is ideal, especially after running 26.2.  Will definitely need to stay up there the night of the marathon to recover.
  • More than a month before the Richmond Marathon, which means my training schedule won’t be at all synced with the local marathon training team schedule.  Again, doable, but not ideal.

That’s my plan, for now.  It makes me feel better to have one, even if I don’t end up sticking to it.

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