Today’s Numberz: 6 days until another chance…

During this morning’s 10 mile marathon recovery run and half-marathon training run, I was thinking about how long it might be until I have another shot at reaching one of my official new running goals: running a sub 4-hour marathon.

It was only seven days ago that I crossed the finish line on Market Street in St. Louis to complete my first-ever marathon (in 4:04:53). I’ve been gimpy most of the week. Struggled through a 5-miler and 3-miler. Yet I’m already craving the opportunity to race again. To push myself harder. To start more conservatively. To train better. To race smarter.

If marathon running is a virus, then I’ve been infected.

But I’m not used to having to wait a long time to compete again. And I’m not very patient in general.

From the time I first stepped on the ice at age 5 until my hockey career officially ended after my last game in college at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, I was never more than 6 days away from the next game (except for the very last game of a season when the next game was months away).

Most times, one week of practice was all that stood between me and the next opportunity to prove myself on the ice. Six days to build on a good game and try to do even better. Or six days to erase any mistakes on the ice better than the Zamboni ever could. In high school, when I was playing on a travel team and my school team, I sometimes only needed to wait until the afternoon since I often played two games on the same day!

When a game ended, the slate was wiped clean. I had a fresh start. And there was only the NEXT rapidly approaching game to focus on.

But generally, marathons aren’t supposed to be run every day. Or every week. Or even every month. I realize there are some people who have achieved those kinds of monumental feats, but that’s not in the cards for me. On the other hand, waiting for a full year to run another full marathon probably isn’t something I’m going to be able to stomach.

Right now, I only have one more marathon scheduled before the end of the year. It’s the 2011 Indianapolis Monumental Marathon way in the future on November 5. That’s 202 days from today. And my current plan is to run it with my father-in-law and help pace him to a 4:15 Boston Qualifier time. So that one’s ruled out for trying to break the 4-hour barrier.

The 2011 Christie Clinic Marathon in Champaign, IL is going to be held on April 30 while I’m away on vacation. And that’s a little too close to the one I just ran anyway (a mere two weeks…ouch!).

I’m already registered to run a half marathon in Rockford, Illinois four weeks from today (or a total of five weeks from the day I finished in St. Louis). It’s a small field of approximately 900 half-ers and 350 fulls, so switching would probably be possible.

But how soon is too soon?

I have no idea. I need to do some more research. And I guess I’ll have something else to think about while running this week…

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2 Responses to Today’s Numberz: 6 days until another chance…

  1. Kristy says:

    5 weeks may be a little close. You will just be fully recovered from the St. Louis marathon (a good rule of thumb for beginners is 1 day of recovery for each mile ran). It sounds like you can switch at the last minute so I would just see how you feel. If you feel you don’t have a decent shot at a sub-4, I wouldn’t do it. It’s just too taxing on the body.

    • Ack! Guess the 20-miler this morning probably wasn’t such a good idea… (And you’re right that I don’t truly feel recovered yet after just 12 days–this morning was tough.)

      Because my training has been for the marathon, and not a fast half-marathon, there’s probably no way I’ll come close to a PR in the half. So the competitor in me keeps whispering to do the full (thus the need for another long run this morning three weeks out to even see if I could do it). I’m not sure I could run a race “just to run” and not be pushing myself towards a goal.

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