Tuesday, September 27, 2011

When to say "when"

Last week, a reader (hey, David!) commented asking me if I wanted race in the Sloppy Cuckoo 1/2 Marathon this past weekend in Philly. Two half marathons in a week? Sounded like such a fun challenge, especially since it encouraged to come in costume! There was no way to sign-up online, but I contacted the RD and found out I could register the day of. Fab!

As the week went by, I was getting more excited, but little voices in my head kept popping up with things like, "You're not ready for trails. What if you injure yourself? This isn't your key race and if you get injured before the Philadelphia Marathon, you'll be so SO upset." I just decided to ignore those thoughts until Saturday, the day before the race. John, the loving BF that he is, brought up some good points about the race and why I might not want to do it. I went out for a 5 mile run and the entire time, I created a list of pros and cons for doing the race. Here's what I came up with:

-Trail experience for my possible trail marathon in the fall after Philly
-Fun experience
-Another excuse to run in costume!
Lady GaGa costume from last year's Marine Corps Marathon
-Would spend more money participating than I should be spending
-Would need to go to bed really early Saturday, after the music festival I was at with John, my cousin, and friends
-Possibly jeopardize my ability to PR the Philadelphia Marathon due to injury
-Spending another weekend racing, away from friends and the bf

One main thing that I thought about is how much running takes up in my life. I run with Back on My Feet, in general, twice a week before work (doesn't interfere with seeing other people). I then usually run 2-3 times a week on my own, including my long runs. Sundays are usually shot (at least most of it) due to my long runs. Usually one night in the weekend, I have to go to bed early and/or not partake in fun activities in order to be ready for my long runs. I realized that registering for this race was going to be taking up more time away from my family and friends than I needed.

Do I regret it? In the end, 95% of me doesn't. I was able to stay out late with John, my cousin, Jessica (who was visiting from MD), and another friend Matt by going out late after the music festival. I was able to sleep in, watch Sunday Morning (guilty pleasure!), get in a 13.4 mile long run, run by the Puerto Rican Day parade in Philly, have a strawberry tapioca drink from Chinatown (first ever!), watch football games with friends out at bars, grocery shop, make vegetable stew, AND roast a chicken. Hello, did you see that list? That's a lot for one day, which wouldn't have happened if I ran the race. I do wish I could have done the race if it was on a different weekend, but in the end, I was able to balance out everything else in my life, have a blast, and still stay on track for marathon training. Win-win-win!!! Almost as much of a win the below gif is:

Source: Little Pancakes
You are welcome.


  1. Dan/Dave here! Bummer you couldn't make it, but it was probably the right call if you're chasing PRs. The race was a blast, but was pretty slick, and I saw a lot of bloody knees at the finish (there actually was a price for either muddiest or bloodiest finisher!). It had a real 'ultra' feel to it with the small field, good food, and mud so deep that you actually aimed for the deep parts of the puddles/creeks to better wash your shoes with.

    I spent all last year working on my PRs, but am now aiming for new fun challenges that don't involve running so fast/hard, though I did earn a cuckoo clock Sunday for my efforts.

    The Susquehanna HAT run (50K) in March is on my calendar, as is the "Dirty German" in May (also run by Uberendurance Sports). Which trail marathon are you looking at this fall?

  2. David, whooops about the name mistake. I'm awful with names, clearly. :( Sounds like the race was pretty cool! I am really bummed to have missed it, but I know it was the right call. Congrats on the prize!!!

    I am thinking of doing the NCR Trail Marathon in Sparks, MD. I am hoping to get Marathon Maniac status out of the way and doing it 6 days after Philly would achieve that. May do a 50k in VA Beach in mid-December, too (if my body can handle it).

    The HAT run looks too scary to me! I need to work away from roads before I do anything like that.

  3. Found your blog via the @Philly_marathon retweet... I'm going through this same delima for an upcoming race. I'm training for a Philly marathon PR, but I credit my getting back into shape on a trail run I did last October that's basically in my backyard. But to do it this year, I'd have to do the 10 mile trail race the day after my last 20 mile training run. I'm not sure when to say "when" myself. (side: David - I've registered for the HAT 50K, my first ultra. Can't wait!)

  4. Tim, nice to meet you! I'm with you when it comes to wanting to do as many races as possible. I've always considered myself a slow recoverer, but found I'm recovering more quickly with each race I run, so i'm trying to push myself when I can.

    Good luck at the Hat 50k for your first ultra! All of my ultras have been timed races on flat, paved courses, so I'm still in awe of people who do trail ultras. I've got to get one under my belt soon!