Indecisions, Indecisions…

Blog, Sue Cloutier

So, about that marathon that I’ve been training for… The training has been going well. Very well. Fitness is right where I want it to be. I can feel a 4:30 marathon in my future…or at least, a personal record. But the marathon? That has yet to be determined. Like, which one I will be running.

On March 31st when I went to the website to register for the Sugarloaf Marathon, I was shocked to find that it was already sold out. I entered my name for the wait list, sure that I would get in. As the days turned into weeks, that certainty fizzled and I decided I had to look at other options. Eventually, I came to the decision that the Mainly Marathons New England Series’ Maine marathon was going to be my best choice. It’s close to home, an easy course, and within a week of Sugarloaf so it wouldn’t throw off my training plan too much. Still, because of the hefty $130 registration fee, I wanted to wait a little to be sure I wasn’t getting into Sugarloaf. On Monday, there was only one day left to register before that fee went up to a whopping $150, and I still had 56 people ahead of me on the Sugarloaf wait list so I pulled the trigger. I registered for the Mainly Marathons race.

I was pretty happy with this decision. The forecast looks good. I can run the course anytime. I love the atmosphere of the race and the amazing aid station. It might even be a better choice than Sugarloaf because it doesn’t have any of those pesky hills. Now two days later, I’m second-guessing myself, as I usually do. See, in the past two days, the wait at Sugarloaf has plummeted to 36 people. The registration closes in only four days, but now it’s looking like I might actually stand a chance of getting into Sugarloaf. And now I have to consider, if I do, do I take it?

Sugarloaf was my goal race. Sure, it has some legit hills in miles 5 through 10, but after that, it’s 16 miles of freaking downhill running. One of my running idols, Joan Benoit, fellow Mainer and first female to ever win the Olympic marathon, will be running Sugarloaf. The weather is looking great, and my mom already reserved a hotel for us to spend the weekend up there. Plus, I already have that weekend off from work, and if I ran the Sanford marathon, would almost certainly have to work that night as it’s the busiest day of the year at the restaurant where I work.

I actually sat down and wrote out a detailed list of pros and cons for each race. I won’t bore you with all of the details, since I’ve already covered most of it anyway, but suffice to say, it’s a close call. Deep down, my heart wants me to run Sugarloaf. So if I get in, I’m going to do it. And probably just stick to the 5K at the Mainly Marathons race. That’s going to be the most expensive 5K I’ll ever run. Holy mackerel.

Curse you, fickle New England weather!

Blog, Sue Cloutier

It’s getting close now. Tomorrow will be my longest training run of 18 miles before the marathon, and I keep vacillating between nervousness, feeling super burned out, and excited to see how fast my easy training runs are becoming. I feel like I’m on the verge of a PR, as long as the endurance is there. This is peak marathon training, and I kinda love it.

Of course, a few days ago, I was hating it. I bailed at mile 14 of a 16 mile training run after run/walking at mile 12. Seriously, how can I be in any kind of shape to finish a marathon, especially if there is any kind of heat above like 60 degrees? I had one epically bad run, on a hilly route on a hot day. It happens. But what if it’s hot on race day? How bad is that going to suck?

I know the second-guessing is just par for the course as race day approaches. But I also know the perils of training for a spring race through the cool winter months and being ambushed on the day with sweltering summer weather out of nowhere. There’s no good way to prepare for that when it’s currently 45 and raining. All week long.

Well, there’s not much I can do about mother nature, aside from taking advantage of any hot days that might come between now and then. Whenever then is. I still haven’t registered for a spring marathon. I know Flying Pig will be too hot for me. I am still 61 people behind on the waiting list for Sugarloaf.  Right now it’s looking like my best option is Mainly Marathons New England Series Day 1 in Sanford, Maine. It will be pretty warm that day too, but the course is relatively flat, and shaded, and the race starts at 6:30am. So there’s that.

I don’t know what I’m going to do. But I do know that I am going to run a marathon next month. And regardless of whether some hot weather prevents me from running a personal record, I know the fitness that I have gained, and will be able to build upon for a cool, fast fall marathon. Just got to keep my eyes on the real prize – eventually qualifying for Boston.