Saturday, March 23, 2013

So let's talk half marathons

Earlier this week I alluded to being bitten by the race bug again and all week I've been planning out my next 12 months of races.

I've finally landed on running the LA Marathon as my first 26.2, and I plan to take the next 12 months to get stronger, up my mileage and throw in a few halfs along the way.
I'm still very new to racing (my first race was about a year ago) and I'm still figuring out my racing "style."

I'm realizing how important it is to understand what type of racer you are so that you're not disappointed when race day actually comes. So here are three things I've come to learn about myself:
(1) I'm very competitive
(2) I don't have a lot of money
(3) I prefer Saturday races

So what does that all mean?  It means that for most races, I wan to push myself and continue to improve. Since I can't afford to do a ton of races a year, I want the one's I do to count. Which means that I'm ruling out (for now) big races like Disney & Rock 'n' Roll because they're so crowded and expensive, and looking for medium sized, road races in local cities.  I also hate missing church on Sunday morning, and would rather have an extra weekend day to recover, so I'm also looking for more Saturday races, when possible.

Since I don't have a lot of money to spend on extra things, like hotels and restaurants for the night before, I want to find races that are drive-able the morning of, so that limits me to about 100 miles or so. Basically as far as San Diego to the south and Santa Barbara to the north. 
This might not be my racing style forever and life circumstances will surely change some of these things, but as it stands, those are the things I'm looking for in my racing experience.

So far I've found 4 races I'm interested in between now and next March.

The City of Laguna Hills Memorial Day Half Marathon is actually on Memorial Day so it's a Monday (but at least I'm not missing church), it's about an hour away, is for a good cause, and at $70 is less than half the price of a Disney race!


 The Run Montecito-Summerlander race on July 20th in Santa Barbara is probably the one I'm most looking forward to.  It looks pretty small, is a beautiful course and is the cheapest race I've seen.  They give you the option of registering without receiving a medal or shirt so if I opt out of the medal it's only $40. (adding the medal makes it's $55 so I might still get it 'cuz even then, that's a great deal)

November (I'd rather do October, so I might switch this one out for an October race)
I'm looking at the She Runs San Diego on November 3rd.  It looks fun because it's a super girly women's race series, is also a Saturday, and only costs $60 - but has quite a few rolling hills and is mostly on a dirt path. So... eh, we'll see.

The Santa to the Sea Half Marathon on December 9th in Oxnard looks like a fun, low key event. It is on a Sunday, but it's affordable, small, and just seems fun.

Between now and December I want to get in and maintain half-marathon shape as well as continue cross and strength training.  Then after the Santa to the Sea, I'll start seriously upping my mileage in prep for the LA Marathon on March 9, 2014.

If I actually do all 4 races, that will put me at 6 half marathons for 2013 which is fairly ambitious. And yes, I realize a lot can happen between now and then. Injuries, life, work, etc. do tend to sneak up me, but at least having a plan makes me more focused and helps me prioritize my workouts.

Are there any races that you're particularly looking forward to in 2013? Any races you've already done this year and loved?

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