Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Looking forward

"After I get through the marathon, I’m looking forward to doing some shorter races and regain some speed I lost since pregnancy. (Sadly, I’m not one of those mothers who has a baby and magically runs 7-minute miles.) I’d love to PR the half-marathon."

I said that. I said that in my "Follow This Mother" interview. And, it's true. I want to run a shorter race and PR the crap out of it.

Now, if I can just pick a race.

With the Columbus Marathon just 47 days away, my attention and focus should be on the 26.2 miles ahead. Yet, I can't help but dream of what's to come. I've been adding race after race to the Pinterest board I've created for my running bucket list. There's Hood to Coast and the Louisville Derby Marathon, as well as the North Country Run trail race and a Napa to Sonoma half. Nike Women's is adding a D.C. location in the spring, and I am curious if Grandma's lives up to the buzz.

Most of these events are racecation worthy and more than likely once in a runtime opportunities that I will have to wait to experience. And that's why I found my conversation with Todd, the director of the Carmel Marathon at the Indianapolis Women's Half Marathon expo so interesting. It goes without saying that he was there to promote his event but he talked about the Carmel race with the same enthusiasm that he did about running. Period. And let me tell you he's got enthusiasm - gunning for Marathon Maniac status and running three of the big five marathons (Berlin, Chicago and Boston - New York and London are waiting).

The Carmel Marathon offers a marathon, half, 8K and a 1-mile event for kids. There's a post-race party in the Center Green, and I even heard talk of an after-party. The best part, though, isn't mentioned on the flier - it's within a two-hour drive of Fort Wayne, and we could go down the day before the race and come back after we relax and grab a bite.

Amen to that.

And that's when I realized that I don't have to pick some big race to PR at. I don't have to compete with other people in terms of the quantity and size of races they are running. I can pick the races that are right for me and not break the bank.

Mark has first dibs on the next training cycle. And he has earned it - I've completed two half marathons, a 50K relay and a handful of other races and he's only had one big outing, an Olympic-distance triathlon last summer.

Regardless, I'm still eyeing some local-ish options for next spring. Here are my best picks for affordable Midwest half-marathons.

Notre Dame Holy Half Marathon, South Bend
Organized by Notre Dame students, this is a low-key race with a low entry fee ($55). It winds through campus, and Kim at Girl Evolving ran it in 2012 with a stroller!

Cincinnati Heart Mini, Cincinnati, Ohio
March 17
The Flying Pig Marathon was my first half, and it holds a special place in my heart. It's a big race, though, with a big price tag. I think it was $80 when I wanted to register in 2012 (if you want to do the Pig in 2013 - decide now as the half is currently $65). The Heart Mini gives you some of the same scenic views and peace of mind that you are helping a good cause.

Carmel Marathon, Carmel, Ind.
Saturday, April 20
Entry fee: $50 (until Dec. 31)

Martian Invasion, Dearborn, Mich.
Entry fee: $49 (until March)
Boasts a fantastic finisher's medal, fun tech shirt and great crowd support. I ran this race in 2012, and I loved the scenic course that winds through beautiful neighborhoods and Hines Park.

Egg Shell Shuffle, Shaumburg, Ill.
Entry fee: $55 (2012)
If you are looking for a novelty medal, this race is it. The finisher's prize is - no shocker - a bright and colorful egg. Enjoy a race in the Chicago 'burbs where hotels are much cheaper and take the train into the city for brunch at Yolk.

What else would you add?


  1. I have been eyeing the Martian half for 2 years now...

    I would add http://wisconsinmarathon.com/

    It's held in Kenosha (just over the border of IL along Lake Michigan) and has my heart. I've done it 2 years in a row, and will likely do it again this spring. You'd totally have a place to stay. Just sayin'...

  2. Shaumburg 1/2 sounds fun - I have family out there.

    Veteran's City marathon is a nice, small, nearby one. Grand Rapids is great, too. Both have half options.

  3. I want to do the Napa to Sonoma so bad! Totally on my list. I haven't even thought about next spring yet. One of my favorite halfs even was Moab Canyonlands. Point to point along the river through the canyons. So peaceful and beautiful.

  4. Napa to Sonoma is also on my bucket list. Wine-ing and dining after running? YES, please.

    I'd love to run a half with you next year! The South Bend race could be a good meet-up point, as would Martian (in my backyard).

  5. Also, I love the new blog look! Who did it?