Marathon Season Is Here

I’ve been talked into the New Orleans marathon.

Time to put down the bike and lace up the running shoes. Well, not really. I enjoy my bikes too much to quit them totally, especially now that it’s mountain bike weather. My focus will be running, but the bikes will provide some fun exercise to keep me fresh. I ride lots because riding is fun. As for running, the most enjoyable part is finishing. So the only reason to run longer is because it feels better to stop. Hence, the longer the run, the more fun it is. Too much, though, will burn me out. To prevent that, I’ll run four days a week and bike one or two.

If I finish it, this would be my fourth marathon. I did the Mercedes Marathon each of the last three years we lived in Birmingham. I have not done one in either of the two years we’ve been in Shreveport. Two years ago I was too busy with all the work on the house plus the new career plus taking classes at LSUS for my certification. Last year I considered doing the Little Rock race but just never got off my bike all winter. Now I miss running, have the time, and am ready to go.

My goals are: Sub 3:30 = very happy; 3:30 – 3:45 = happy; 3:45 -4:00 = eh, at least I finished; 0ver 4:00 = cursing and not talking about it afterwards. I think those are reasonable. I haven’t run one in three years, but thanks to high mileage riding for the past year, I think I’m in better cardio shape now than when I did my best time (3:25) four years ago. Also this one is flat, which has got to be worth five or ten minutes of time versus the extremely hilly marathons I’ve done in the past.

What really has me excited, though, is my first training run, which was yesterday. Prior to that, I had run twice since last July’s Firecracker 5k. Both of those were under five miles. Hence, I was a bit worried about how I’d feel doing the seven miles I planned for yesterday. Shouldn’t have worried. I had no problem running it at an easy 8:00 minutes per mile. Of course, the weather was perfect – sunny and in the low fifties. I was also well rested because, thanks to the weather, I had not done anything even remotely like exercise in almost two weeks. Then my planned route unexpectedly joined with a local 10k, so I even got some of that race day excitement. All in all a perfect run. So good that when I arrived home just as the rest of the family was leaving for a 4 mile run/walk, I grabbed the dog and went with them.

I know from experience not every run will be that good. In fact most of them will be more miserable than fun. But the payoff at the end is worth it and right now it seems like an easy goal.

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