Wedding or Marathon?

55% of runnersworld.com readers say you can pick a marathon over a relative's wedding — if you signed up first. 

Wow. We love what we do, don't we? There has to be a joke somewhere using the term "Runaway Bride," I'm just not clever enough to come up with one. So, the question is: Would you choose a marathon over a relative's wedding? Well, a couple things go into the thought process here:

Are we talking about a cousin, uncle, sister or grandpa marrying a 30-year old blonde bombshell. Because some of those you just have to attend the wedding, no matter what.

Secondly, what marathon is it? ING New York, Nike Women's in San Francisco... because both of those are lottery drawn and difficult to get into. Is it a Rock n Roll Marathon that happens every year like clock work? Is it Boston?

Many things go into the thought process in making this decision. Unfortunately we don't know how in depth the 55% (or the 45%) put into their decision. Is there any situation that you would pick the race over the wedding? Is there any situation that you would choose wedding cake over cliff bars? My guess is that there are instances where both cases could be made.

Fortunately I've never had to make that decision. Perhaps if you attend the wedding and skip the race, the relative has to agree that if they ever get divorced, he/she has to run a marathon. Thoughts?


Destination Races

You can call them destination races, vacation runs, holiday with a marathon on the side... it doesn't matter, we all do them. How many times have you seen a race in a city that you've always wanted to visit? Next thing you know you are registered and looking for hotels and a flight to Margaritaville.

Traveling to another city to participate in an event can be quite an experience. It allows you to see the city in a way that most people don't get to experience. At least not the same way YOU are experiencing it. Last year, I ran Big Sur... long story (race recap) short, they close Highway 1 and you are running on the California Coast (or as the slogan says: running on the edge of the western world). Sure, everyone could just drive down Hwy. 1, but to truly appreciate the view, imagine it by foot while running up a 520 foot climb over 2 miles called Hurricane Point. The journey is a reward in itself, with the view as the cherry on top.

If you schedule the race early in the trip, you get a "quick" tour of 26.2 miles of the city, leaving you the remaining time to relax and enjoy your vacation. If you schedule it late in the trip it can serve as the final hoorah before you return home. Both options contain pros/cons, but just remember you are doing two things in one swing: visiting a place you always wanted to and second: running in a place you've always wanted to visit.

And you can't be embarrassed by wearing your finisher's medal the rest of the day in public. After all, they're strangers and you won't see them again... or will you?

Note: My first marathon was in 2006 in the lovely city of Florence, Italy. Training for 6-months was just a little bit easier imagining how beautiful it was going to be... give it a try! It's worth it. I just booked my airfare and hotel for New York in November... although I have been to NY before, it totally counts as a destination race since I live on the other side of the country. Cheers.


99 Days to Glory

It being Monday, it seemed like the perfect day to change things up a bit. Before I get to my announcement, I'd like to lay some ground work to serve as context for my decision.

I've been running for almost 4 years and have gone through some peaks and valleys in terms of my training. There have been injuries and back-to-back weekends running 20+ miles. This year has been filled with monthly races, but my training has taken a dip. Although that can be fun, I feel like I am missing out on several opportunities to get faster (through my own lack of training).

Part of this may have led to my current ITB injury... so how do I make a switch? Duh, by putting it out there on Facebook and allowing all of you to hold me accountable. 

So here it is: I will be spending the next 99 days (kicking my own ass) in training towards a 4-hour marathon (4:00-4:09). That's right. I have 99 days (starting yesterday, Aug.1) until the New York Marathon and I want to shave 20+ minutes off of my marathon PR in NY.

Here is the plan of attack:

Yes, sir! For the next 90 days, I will be working out every day with P90X. (for those unfamiliar, P90X is a 90-day extensive workout program coached via DVD). I have slacked the past year on my cross training and weight lifting, so this should get me re-focused on strength training and improve my core. Both will help the process of improving my running form and stride making me more efficient on the road.

Continue rehab on ITB
Over the weekend, I had my ITB worked on through some massage (similar to A.R.T. - active release techniques). I'm assuming I need one more session next weekend and should be all set to ease back into it. I'll also be receiving some acupuncture (more to follow on this).

Increased focus on quality running
This is largely predicated on my ITB recovery. It has been a month since I hurt it and I feel like I'm on the back end of the road to recovery. I'll run a mile this week, then ease back into increased weekly mileage culminating at the NY Marathon. Quality is the key word here. With 3-months to go and coming back from injury, every mile is going to have to count. No more "garbage miles."

Weight loss
Natural physics: a lighter object requires less force to move forward. I would not classify myself as over-weight, but could stand to shed a few pounds and "tighten" things up. I'll look to improve my diet and with the increased strength training and running, things should start to "disappear."

My current PR is 4:29. I'm looking to finish NY in the 4:00 to 4:09 bracket. It is doable, but will require a focused 3-month plan. The P90X program will be a large part of it, but working out doesn't equate to running faster. Over the next 99 days there will be many two-a-days and multiple showers to make sure I smell lemon fresh.

Since I began running 4-years ago, I have not been through a "rigorous" training program. Believe it or not, I've been getting faster by simply doing a couple mid-week runs and long runs on the weekend. So, I'm putting it on front street and leaning on all of you to help motivate me towards a life-long goal: a 4-hour marathon. In the (altered) words of Jay-Z: "I got 99 problems, but a marathon ain't one."