focusing on the next thing

Since doing the Marine Corps Marathon back in October, I’ve had some trouble deciding on my next marathon.  Since it’s difficult to do quality training without a clear goal in mind, my running has sort of floundered.

I don’t really mind this sometimes, as it can be good just to run for fun.  Over the years, I’ve come to know that I really need a goal to focus on, something to get me to do track workouts, hill repeats, and long runs.  Especially in the cold and rain.

So after hemming and hawing again when someone asked me whether I was training for anything, I decided to sit down and take a look at marathonguide.com (a great resource for finding out about races).  I figured that I’d be able to build from my current base of 15 miles by late April.  I could do one a month sooner, but it wouldn’t be a good effort.

I looked for US marathons between April 15th and May 31st.  The ones that looked interesting included Big Sur (which is most likely full), the Running Fit Trail Marathon in MI, and something called the Free State Trail Marathon in Lawrence KS.  I looked at some others, including one in Minot ND, and several closer to home.

I’m still not decided, but am leeeaaaaning towards the trail marathon in Kansas.  Huh?

See- my secret goal is to someday have run marathons in all 50 states.  It’ll take me until I’m eighty at my current pace, but I’m not feeling too much urgency about it.  I like going to new places, especially ones I didn’t think I’d ever visit.  I like running.  I’ve never, ever been to Kansas.  Also – what I can glean about the race is that it’s small and entirely on nice single track trail.

We’ll see.  One thing that gives me pause about this race is that there are no reviews from other runners.  Before I pop for an airline ticket to KC, I think I want some assurance that there’s likely to be a race.  I’d also like to know what I can count on in terms of total ascent over the course and what kind of support there will be.

But just charting out the long runs until April 26th has given me a new focus.  I even ventured out into a cold rain to do hill repeats tonight.  It wasn’t pretty – I only made 4 trips up an amusing climb of 150 foot in about .15 miles.  It doesn’t sound like much, but that’s about an 18% grade.  Try it.

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