Choosing a Race


Okay, if I’m serious, I gotta pick a race and register.  Like, NOW.  Before much more time goes by.  I Googled “November marathons 2010” and came up with a decent site, but it hadn’t been updated since Jan. 2, and there were a LOT of races with a TBD date on them, which isn’t helpful at all.  But I wrote down three of them that seem to be within driving distance (though Memphis is a little far):

Okay.  The Richmond Marathon is being billed as “The Friendliest Marathon” and sounds great…small-town feel for a big-city race.  The pictures are pretty, too…and hell, if I’m going to spend like SIX HOURS RUNNING, it might as well be in a scenic setting (though I’m sure by then the leaves will be gone).  Problem with Richmond is, I’d have to start NOW…it’s just about 17 weeks away.  And I’m not QUITE ready to start training NOW.  Like…I need a couple more weeks to work up to the minimum ability level to start the program.

Philadelphia is next.  Perfect length of time away…I’ve got two weeks till that one’s at the 16-week point…and I declared that I wanted to do 2 weeks of 30-minute runs to solidify that ability before starting training.  So that’s great.  BUT…I’m really thinking of putting together a trip to Italy for next month that will probably last somewhere around 2 weeks…and I’m not sure I’ll be able to train while I’m there…because my primary mode of travel might be WALKING, and if I remember the Camino clearly, I would NOT have enjoyed adding a running routine into the pilgrimage.  Then again…I’m not positive I’d choose to do the pilgrimage to Rome (Via Francigena)…which means the walking thing might be irrelevant.  HOWEVER…if I picked this one, Mom would kill me…it’s the same day as Homestead (last race of the season for NASCAR).

The St. Jude Marathon in Memphis sounds pretty cool.  My dad and I both contribute to St. Jude. (How can you not? they treat sick kids!)  I’ve never been to Memphis and have always wanted to go.  It’d be a cool little sojourn the weekend before my birthday.  Gives me some breathing room to start training AND go to Italy…and just overall sounds great.  Plus, I THINK I can trust it not to snow in Memphis the first weekend of December…which is usually ALWAYS the first snow around here.  I could be wrong about that.  But it’s a hunch.

Last option is the one in Rehoboth, DE.  Having been to Atlantic City in November, though, and remembering how INSANELY COLD it felt near the water, I hesitate to try to run 26 miles near the ocean on the second weekend in December.  No personal connection to this one.

I actually worked quite a ways through the Richmond registration form online.  That one is $90.  Which is probably what most of them would cost.  I didn’t finish the reg…it just seems a bit too soon for training purposes.

Anyone got input???  Anyone done the Memphis marathon?  I gotta say…that one’s looking the best to me….?  Anyone got other options in late November-early December?  I can’t go on much longer telling this person and that person, “Hey, I’m training for a marathon!” and having nothing to say when they ask, “Cool!!  When??”


ps – i’m sure the st. jude marathon in memphis would require some fundraising…anyone willing to promise to toss a buck or two my way if this is the one i pick?


About merlintoes

Amateur marathoner, constant wanderer, sometime teacher, and pilgrim for life. As of July 2012, I have picked up and moved my life to Colorado, a state where I know no one, have no job, and hear it is very beautiful. I don't understand it myself...but I'm gonna run with it.
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5 Responses to Choosing a Race

  1. Patty Engelen says:

    Well, actually, you HAVE been to Memphis. More accurately, we drove through Memphis on our way to California when you were about 5 months old. Needless to say, I’m a little leery of these late-fall races as far as the weather is concerned. The chances for really COLD weather exists which I guess is preferable to really HOT weather for running. I’d love to see you run a 10K first and THEN start training for a marathon. Is spring too late for your first marathon effort? I don’t want to throw a wet blanket on this, but I don’t want you to skimp on training for an undertaking as daunting as a marathon. I know you will be able to do anything you set your mind to. I just want to make sure you are ready for the challenge! These are my thoughts. You can take them or leave them. . . :-)

  2. merlintoes says:

    I hear what you’re saying. What I’m reading, though, is that it’s hard to train for a marathon in cooler weather and then run it in much warmer temperatures than you trained in…that’s my concern for the spring-race possibility. Let’s see what Jimmy says (or George & Abbey)…they’re our seasoned pros!

  3. George says:

    This is a tricky one. I’ll say first that I have only ever run marathons in the fall, though I’ve done a few spring half-marathons. This is mostly due to the fact that I can’t imagine doing 18 and 20 mile long runs on back country roads in ice and snow here over the winter.

    I can vouch for Richmond. It is a great race, and very friendly. I’ve done it once before, and Abbey and I are both doing it this year. They even hand out gummy bears in the later miles, and you can’t beat that.

    However, you do have to think carefully about jumping too quickly to marathon training. The worst possible thing that can happen is to add mileage too quickly, get injured, and have to stop.

    I have always wanted to do St. Jude… I expect that Memphis weather in December is just about perfect! That one gives you some extra time for training, as well.

    Another option that I don’t see that you’ve listed would be to commit to a half-marathon (at Richmond or Marine Corps in DC, etc.) for the fall and look at an early spring marathon. I’ve done the Shamrock half at VA Beach twice and loved it. I think that marathon might be worth checking into.

    Good luck!

  4. merlintoes says:

    My fear is not being able to train through the winter for a spring race because of the cold. This past winter, for example, if I’d committed to a March or April marathon and been stuck inside all through February, I would’ve been beside myself. Thoughts?

  5. merlintoes says:

    Memphis average high for 12/4 is 56…low is 38.

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