Important update (that probably no on cares about): I have decided on my fall marathon!!!! I have been going back and forth between a few and finally decided to register for the VIA Marathon.
The course starts in Allentown, PA and is very scenic and FLAT! There were a few considerations before making the final decision.
- It needed to be somewhat local. I will still travel the night before and do the expo/packet pick-up thing, but I don’t want to take a ton of time away from my family.
- I preferred it be close enough for some family to come and spectate. It gives me a great boost of energy to see people I know out on the course. And, it also prevents me from doing any walking…haha. Although I think that there is a Murphy’s Law for runners that states even if you run 20+ miles, someone you know will always see you walk that .02 you took to catch your breath for a minute. Am I right?
- I wanted it to be a somewhat flat course. I do enjoy rolling hills, but if I want to BQ, I’m going to need all the help I can get.
- I prefer an earlier fall race. It is MUCH easier for me to train during the summer, because I have the time off of school. Once school starts, training begins to be a crap-shoot. Separation anxiety is in full swing, so child care at the gym is out for now. Next year’s marathon is on September 11. So, the earlier the better in my opinion.
Some photos from along the course that I took two years ago. I was preggers and went to support some friends who were running:
From the website: Bart Yasso, Chief Running Officer at Runner’s World Magazine designed the course and yes, a river runs through it; the Lehigh River to be exact. As Bart likes to say; it’s a course designed by a runner for a runner. Scenic, shady and a net elevation drop of 240’ make it an attractive qualifying run for the Boston Marathon. The average runner’s time last year was 3:57 hours.
I ran the VIA half marathon this year and really enjoyed it. I finished in 1:48:30 which I was pretty proud of. I knew I wasn’t in the best shape, but I felt that I ran a strong race and negative split the course. I always, always, always enjoy races in which I negatively split the first and second half. It feels deflating to have tons of people pass you in the first few miles, but it is SUCH a confidence booster to pass those same people later in the race! Sometimes I have to hold myself back from saying, “Yeah, I got you!!!” That would just be rude 😉
Side Note: As I was sitting in the bus to shuttle us back to the start, I was sort of hanging my head out the window because the the “ripeness” going on inside. (fyi: people tend to smell after running 13.1 and 26.2 miles…it smelled somewhat similar to hot garbage…it wasn’t pretty folks) While doing this, I saw a guy walking around chatting with runners and suddenly realized that it was Bary Yasso. Like a crazy person, I just started yelling, “Bart! Hey, it’s Bart!” He came over and asked about the race and the course. Such a nice guy. Love him!
Anyway, the course for the half was great. Most of it was through wooded areas near the water. The ground was packed gravel which tends to slow the pace by a few seconds, but I didn’t mind because it was pretty with the leaves just starting to change. There really were no significant hills, but there were enough turns and scenic changes to keep it interesting.
I thought about registering for the Steamtown Marathon, which is just a few weeks after, but decided against it. Although it is also a net downhill course, I didn’t want to ruin my previous experience with it. Steamtown was my very first marathon, and it was a blast. Don’t get me wrong, those last handful of miles were hell, but the first 19 or so were amazing. I literally loved life for those few hours. Every little town we ran through was like a mini party. If you are looking for a small race with great crowd support, Steamtown is a must. I had no time goal for the race but ran a strong 3:45:45.
Even though Steamtown is a great choice to qualify for Boston, many sources say that the VIA marathon has even better odds.
So, here goes nothing. My plan is to spend the winter getting comfortable running sub 8:00 miles while keeping up with double digit long runs weekly, and then focus on marathon training specifically in May. I haven’t decided on a training plan yet. I have always used free Hal Higdon plans and they have been great, but I feel like I need something more specific. I really like to know specific paces that I should be running rather than just total mileage and types of workouts. Any suggestions?
Have you planned out your 2016 race season? Share what you are running!