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How I Chose My Next Fall Marathon

I’m sadly not running the Eugene Marathon this year.

This is tough. I was so excited about it, I signed up when the price was low, I couldn’t wait to train in the spring when I’m all fast and race in the Pacific Northwest summer during a celebration of running in Tracktown USA. I was going to stay in an adorable rented house with my family (including baby nephew) and it was going to be an amazing weekend.

Of course, things often don’t work out as planned and with my neck injury coming in January, I’m just not ready to start training for a July marathon.

Naturally my thoughts went to a fall marathon. I started researching every fall race on the east coast, and finding fault with them all. Wineglass Marathon, the frontrunner because wine, just didn’t excite me. (And Ellen didn’t love it/didn’t think I’d love it and I trust her opinion). Every mid-late November race was out (which includes my beloved Richmond and Philly) because I didn’t enjoy the last few weeks of cold weather training last year. A few races that sounded interesting (Newport RISteamtown and Chicago) were the same day as Ashley Runningbun‘s wedding, so those were out.

Dori PDX marathon

This is what I look like when I see my family during a marathon

I liked that Lehigh Valley was in early September but I wanted a little more time to heal my neck and get back into running shape. Cape Cod seemed too hilly for a PR attempt. My friend Miranda loved Baystate and it’s near my husband’s parents’ house, but the course is two loops and I just wasn’t feeling it. No one I know liked Hartford much.  I didn’t want to deal with logistics, waiting for a long time in the cold and the hills of NYCMBaltimore was hilly. Marine Corps was too big. I wanted smaller but not too small. I want crowd support without hoopla.

After being frustrated with not loving any of my east coast options, I opened the Marathon Guide list of races and just started reading through each one, thinking maybe I’d find something in the Seattle area where my family lives. I came across two races in Washington state - Bellingham Bay Marathon and Leavenworth Oktoberfest Marathon. I researched both and really, Bellingham Bay seemed perfect.

A gorgeous course that runs along the water, a time of year the weather is usually ideal, not too hilly especially considering the location, an inexpensive price tag (for the next few days, more on that in a minute) and did I mention just how gorgeous it is? I mean, look at the course map! Apparently it is unofficially called “the most beautiful marathon in the Pacific Northwest.”

I also really liked the date - September 28. No cold weather training and also the good chance for a nice race day. I looked up flight prices and they were totally doable (unlike Eugene flights, which was driving me crazy).  And really, I just felt excited about this race. I didn’t feel this way about any of the east coast races I looked up. I was tempted to register on the spot. Bellingham Bay Marathon felt right.

I emailed my brother and sister in law to see if they were free for a trip to Bellingham that weekend and they were up for it. I asked on Twitter if anyone’s run this race, and every response I received was overwhelmingly positive. I was convinced!

Bellingham Bay Marathon

Photo: http://www.bellinghambaymarathon.org/

And then I started to really think about whether this was a good decision. I’m first recovering from injury, but I’m getting better each week. This morning I ran 3 miles without pain. I’m getting there. Plus, I figured that even if I can’t run this race for whatever reason, I’d still go to Seattle and see my nephew (who will be 21 months at that time) which I’d need to do anyway!

Also, the price of the race was about to go up on April 1. Tempting! Pressure!

Dori with Harrison nephew

Showing Harrison my bling in PDX

I consulted with Coach Abby and she advised me to wait, and only register if I can run 8 miles pain-free and comfortably by the end of May. That made sense – better to wait and pay more than register now to save money and then not be able to run. Although I really hated the idea of paying more later on . . .

When I went to the registration page and began the process (you see where this is going), it gave me the option for buying race insurance. RACE INSURANCE. For $7 (less than the cost of the price increase April 1) I could get a full refund if I can’t run the race.

That was the sign I needed. I had nothing to lose by registering. So I signed up.

And that, my friends, is how I chose my next fall marathon. My fourth marathon. Another marathon where my nephew Harrison will cheer for his Aunt Dori. Another marathon combined with a family visit. And if all goes well with my healing, my PR attempt.

For now, it’s back to resting my neck, doing all my PT exercises (some for neck, some for hip which my physical therapist thinks is contributing to my neck), doing my leg and hip strengthening from Coach Abby and (semi) patiently waiting to get back to Refine and run more miles.

But all of this is so much sweeter now that I have another training season and a great goal race to look forward to.


Updates: Work, Marathon, Injury, Life

After my last blog post, I went silent. For a month. This is the longest I have gone without writing since I started blogging back in November, 2007.

There are a few reasons for this hiatus.

1. Thanks to the recurrence of my neck injuryI haven’t been exercising. Since fitness is my topic of choice and my favorite hobbies (aside from reading but I’d rather read books than discuss them) are running and Refine, not being able to do either means I don’t have much to say to the internetters reading here.

I am glad to say that after a very long six weeks, a number of physical therapy sessions (with the best PT ever in the history of this world, I am obsessed) things seem to be finally getting better with my neck. I ran outside yesterday — the only spring-like day we’ve had so far — for 2 miles. This is a huge milestone actually, because up until then my limit was 1.5 before my neck would act up. I smiled the entire time like a jackass and I felt amazing.

2. I’ve been mourning not running the Eugene Marathon. I mean, I didn’t officially make the decision not to move forward with this race, but that’s only because of my stubborn denial. Given that the race is now four months away and I only just ran 2 miles when I should be in the first weeks of official training, I think it’s obvious.

I’m really upset. I wanted so much to train this spring and not deal with the annoying parts of a fall marathon (namely, beginning training in the most humid time of year when I am slow). I also wanted to get my marathon over with and have my summer weekends free (long runs take a huge toll on me). And I really wanted to visit Eugene, stay in a cute rental house with my adorable baby nephew (plus brother and sister in law) and run an awesome marathon on a weekend devoted to running.

At the same time, I lost so much strength from not going to Refine that I am eager to work on getting that back first. But overall, I’ve been really sad about this. Better the neck thing came back now than after I started training and bought my $600+ plane ticket (kinda relieved I don’t have to deal with that…) but still. Ugh.

3. I was so miserable at work I had nothing left in me to blog. Anyone who’s ever been deeply unhappy at work will understand this one. It wasn’t something I could write about while I was working there, but I was miserable for a very long time. Like, sick to my stomach unhappy. Cry in the morning because I can’t imagine another day, another week, another month at that place unhappy. I would barely even talk to my husband in the evenings or weekend; I was mostly silent. I couldn’t see a light at the end of the tunnel and as hard as I tried, it didn’t seem like my situation would change anytime soon. Going to a place that causes you to feel this way, day in and day out, is draining. I was exhausted. I had no room in my life to blog; I was too busy being unhappy. When I was at home, I was lethargic. I watched TV and that’s about it. Of course, it didn’t help that my main outlet — working out — hasn’t been available to me.

Even though I had already given notice for about half the time I haven’t been blogging (and unhappy with the quality of my posts before that), I still needed to be out of there to understand that it is good on the other side.

I have a new job now and it’s a much better situation. I’m very, very busy — busier than I’ve ever been in my life — but also much happier. I’m enjoying my work and feeling much more fulfilled, but I am also a little overwhelmed in these beginning stages.

I will have less time to blog but I hope to write a little on weekends when I can. And when I am working out again, I’ll write about my return post-injury. If and when I can train for another marathon (I am devoted to my sub-4 goal) I will once again share my weekly training updates. I absolutely loved doing that last time around, and it will be fun to compare training cycles.

And there you have it.


How I Chose My Next Fall Marathon

I’m sadly not running the Eugene Marathon this year. This is tough. I was so excited about it, I signed up when the price was low, I couldn’t wait to train in the spring when I’m all fast and race in the Pacific Northwest summer during a celebration of running in Tracktown USA. I was going

Read More…


Updates: Work, Marathon, Injury, Life

After my last blog post, I went silent. For a month. This is the longest I have gone without writing since I started blogging back in November, 2007. There are a few reasons for this hiatus. 1. Thanks to the recurrence of my neck injury, I haven’t been exercising. Since fitness is my topic of choice

Read More…


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