"No marathons in 2017," I told Mark.
Marathons are too much work. They take too much training. They make me too cranky. And with the change in my career, I wasn't sure how much time I could truly devote to training.
But on a fantastically temperate November day, on an early morning run, I talked about how I had thought about doing a 50K in December. When I had been working it out in my head, I was piggy-backing off my training for the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon. I could never pull the trigger, though, and on that day I said I was glad. I was burnt out, and I didn't feel like going for another long run ever again.
Or at least for a month.
"I guess the 50K will wait until 2018," I said. "I told Mark no marathons in 2017."
And then, in sync, my friends uttered a single truth: a 50K isn't a marathon.
I let it go. I did. I promise.
Of course, that was until I agreed to pace my friend for a 20-mile loop when he attempts the IT 100 in April. If I was going to get in shape for him, I reasoned, I should do something for myself, too. Being in shape to run 20 miles for him would basically put me in marathon shape and if I was in marathon shape, I could basically be in 50K shape.
(Don't you love runner's logic?!?)
It only took 15 minutes of searching to find Another Dam 50K in Englewood, Ohio, on June 3. Not only was it within a reasonable drive and fit in with my schedule, it cost $25 to register. I can't even run a local 5K for $25. And when my friend agreed to do it, too, I knew it was meant to be.
Training began this week for the race. Well, technically it began last week, but I had flu thanks to my kids. (Next time, I'm quarantining them in their room with a mini fridge stocked with Nuun, juice boxes and fruit snacks.) I'm following a plan (in theory) from Competitor that was written by a fellow Team Nuun member and will require to (finally) consistently run five days a week and tackle hills. Lots of them.
Note: The course claims to be flatish but the loop has three hills and you run the loop four times. That's 12 hills for those who don't like math. And 1,200 hills for those who don't like hills. Also, this race is in southern Ohio. I grew up in southern Ohio. It is not flat.
I'm still in the holy hell what have I done stage of training, daunted by the long runs and 4:04 a.m. alarm. But I'm also in the still hacking up a lung stage of the flu (legit flu, not the stomach bug or a cold), and I'm guessing that as it starts to let up so will the doubt.