What's that phrase...Too many races, too little time?
There are some races, though, that really stick out. Maybe the race course was fun, or maybe it was tough (and you really had to dig deep to stay in the game). Some race distances are easier than others, but all have their challenges. And then there are the select few that keep you coming back, year after year.
Care to hear a few of the favorites?
First off, there's my favorite race distance...the Half Marathon.
There are so many things I love about the 13.1 distance. It's a long distance, so it does mandate some training and preparation. Crossing the finish line is pretty spectacular knowing the work you had to put in to make it happen. It's not so long of a distance, though, that the training is too time-consuming. Also, most half marathons come with a finisher's medal, which is a nice keepsake (in my opinion).
|track jacket swag from the IMT Des Moines Marathon (I've run the 13.1 seven times)|
Way back when I was first pinning on race bibs, 5K races were my go-to. I didn't have the endurance to take on anything longer, nor did I believe I had the ability to even try. I ran most of those 5K's as 3.1-mile non-stop runs...certainly not "racing" the distance, but definitely trying to run a tiny bit faster than a typical 3-mile run. It's only in recent years that I have a new respect for the 3.1 distance. It's actually quite a challenge, at least for me, figuring out how fast is not too fast in that first mile. And then there's the balance of running somewhat fast, but conserving a bit of the mojo to carry you through a strong finish. Stay tuned...I'm still a work in progress on this, even after 14 years of trial and error.
|at the 2018 RnR Chicago 5K|
Yes, you read that correctly (both the "12 hour" and the "overnight"). I did this event with a group of friends, in July of 2016. I was just coming off a brief Plantar's Fasciitis scare (followed by an out-of-the-blue hamstring tendonitis attack). In other words, I had no grandiose goals but to remain upright and stay in (almost) constant motion for those 12 hours. The course was a 1-mile loop, around a lake, on a clear path. We were blessed with perfect temps and ZERO precipitation (unlike the previous year's record heat/humidity and heavy rain for the first few hours). I ran a lot, through the night, and took numerous walk breaks. I ended the 12 hours with 37 total miles, and was so jacked on endorphins, I stayed awake for almost the next 10 hours before I finally crashed into a deep slumber.
|still vertical after 12 hours of constant motion|
I respect the fact that speed is relative, and also quite subjective. Personally, I'm not naturally gifted with speed (endurance has long been my forte'), but I wanted to test my long legs to see what they could do. The Grand Blue mile is a 1-mile race, held in conjunction with the Drake Relays (Des Moines, IA). I ran it for the first time in April 2018, and surprised myself with a 7:53 finish time. I ran it again this past April, and PR'd my time with a 7:23 finish. Mind you, this was "just" one mile; I'm quite certain I could not have held that pace for even another 1/4 mile. My lungs were burning like crazy, my throat was horribly dry, and my legs took several days to recover from that single, solitary mile. But, it was a fun challenge seeing what these legs (and body) could do .
|lining up for the 2019 Grand Blue Mile|
How do you feel about a hilly course? What if I told you this race takes place at the end of July, when it's always extremely hot and humid? Oh, and there's that first big hill, right after the start line, for the better part of the first mile. Also, the race course is an out-and-back, with non-stop crowd support (and water sprinklers and slip-n-slides). All of these nuances make the 7-mile race course anything but boring. And, that big hill at the race start rewards you with a hefty downhill right before the finish line.
|by the statue of Join Benoit Samuelson and Billy Rogers|
Oh, Holy Heat & Humidity, Batman, this event will really test your sanity. I first attempted this event in 2016. It's actually a 5K and a 10K, but they are run within 30 minutes of each other, in the middle of July, in the evening. It's a 5K course, so you essentially run that same 5K route three times if you're on a quest for 15K bragging rights. This course, though not too physically tough (there are a few hills, but they're not crazy), the mental aspect of repeating the same route three times is really crazy. But, you feel like a total badazz upon finishing (usually just after the sun has set) and you're a saturated mess of perspiration.
|I was dripping everywhere when I crossed the finish line...|
How about you? Got any unique races that make you smile? Any races that keep you coming back each year?
I'm linking this with Kim and Zenaida for the Tuesday Topics Link-Up