I’ve been thinking of running a marathon for a very long time. If you’ve known me for decades, you might (but probably don’t) remember when i decided to run the Dublin Marathon in 2019. I built up to about 15 miles, but when I got Ireland, I decided I’d rather drink, be merry, socialize and travel. Honestly, I have no regrets. I remember the weekend of the marathon – I spent it traveling around Donegal in the rain with three friends. (The weather was brutal that weekend.) But Donegal is a wild, crazy place, a very long drive from Ireland’s airports, and I’m so glad I spent some time there. Since then, there’s always been a reason not to run a marathon. Usually work, but also pregnancy, babies, etc. I’ve always felt that if I was going to run a marathon, I wanted to do it “right” and train for it properly, not merely survive. But this idealistic approach has basically meant I will never actually run one.
Now is a good time, but far from perfect. I ended up deciding I could not afford $27 per hour for a subpar nanny or $35 for a good one. But that is another blog entry. The bottom line is that I have a decent amount of time this fall. We are vacationing in Hawaii, and I are preparing our house in Kent for sale, hopefully for a November listing. But the kids are in school, and S seems to like stroller running for the most part. I didn’t run much over the summer, though. I’d say I maybe averaged barely 15 miles per week, so I have very little base. So yes, not a perfect time.
Seattle doesn’t really have any great marathons. We have, in fact, one major annual marathon in the whole state, if you can call the Seattle Marathon over Thanksgiving “major” with 1600 finishers (as compared to Houston’s 7000 or Chicago’s 45,000. Seattle has apparently changed their course to reduce the elevation gain to around 1000 ft, compared to the 2000 ft it used to be, which is definitely an improvement. High likelihood of rain is also an issue; I don’t fancy running a marathon in the rain.
Normally Victoria and Vancouver, up in BC, would be an issue, but Canada is still very much canceling large events, and they’ve yet to have a large race in BC. Portland is another option, but I couldn’t be ready for it in October, and honestly, it doesn’t have a reputation as a very good race. There really aren’t any other options within convenient driving distance with over 1000 finishers.
If I’m going to get on a plane, I’d prefer to stay on the west coast. CIM is pretty much the preeminent marathon on the West Coast, and the timing in early December is convenient. 7000 finishers – big but not too big. Mean temperature of 47 F with an average high of 56 F. Slight downhill course – 400 ft elevation gain, 700 ft loss. Close enough to flat to “count” but pretty much optimal for a course profile. (Also, findyourmarathon.com is seriously an awesome site.) Really, the only major problem is that it’s in CA and I have to get on a plane to get there.
Covid is obviously a constant specter. I will not run a marathon wearing a mask, so let’s hope they don’t impose a mask mandate on the race. Or outright cancel it. They usually have pace groups, and I would seriously love it if they’d have a 4 hour pace group I could just latch on to. I honestly think that would make a huge difference, but most races, at least in blue states, have been eliminating pace groups due to Covid. So we’ll see. If it’s canceled due to Covid, back up options would include Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona, Houston, Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans, and the Ventura Marathon (in CA). All of them are on the warm side and some require a significant travel, time changes, and may or may not fill up before I had a chance to register. So I hope that CIM goes off as planned.
I’m definitely super nervous about it, but also excited. I’m glad to be doing something I’ve always wanted to do. I’m worried I’ll get injured or have some kind of health crisis halfway through. The idea of running 26 miles is just wildly intimidating. But it’s time to give it a go.