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
The Grand Blue Mile was in the book I just read - look out for my review tommorrow!!! I love this post. My favourite distance is the marathon, my worst is 10k (at the back, people making kind comments, just get into it, time to stop!) and I'd love to do that 12 hour run but not through the night.ReplyDelete
The 12-hour run was quite an adventure (there's a race recap if you look through the archives in July 2016)! I"m a little bummed I had the wonky hamstring thing (that was still healing), or I'd have tried to get to 50 total miles ;-)Delete
I have a number of repeat races that I love. The 5k is the only race that I feel like I have the racing strategy down (not too fast first mile, "race" against other runners for mile 2, all out for mile 3) and I would love to do a 1 miler someday. Now that I have a good half experience under my belt, there are a few local races that are going to get repeat business as I learn the distance.ReplyDelete
I should try your strategy! I always seem to go too fast in that first mile (even if I feel like I'm holding back). I can continue with a strong pace, but I'm usually out of the "going all out" mojo well before the finish line LOLDelete
I love my 4 on the 4th of July race that I do every year. There is also the Shamrock Shuffle 8K that I also love. I used to think that 5ks were "easy". I mean, 3.1 miles? Piece of cake. Aha, they're "easy" if you just run them but if you are racing them then it is something else. I also enjoy 10 mile races. There are times when 3.1 additional miles for a half marathon is just too much. :-)ReplyDelete
Thanks for linking up with us!
Right? I used to treat the 5K as an easy 3-mile run LOL It wasn't until I actually tried to "race" it that I realized just how taxing three short miles could be.Delete
I love all of your race favorites! My favorite race distance is the half marathon since it's a challenge but the training doesn't take over your life.ReplyDelete
Totally agree...surprised? ;-)Delete
One of these days I want to try a mile run.ReplyDelete
5ks are definitely hard! Non runners think they’re easier since their shorter, which of course is exactly why they’re so hard!
I am not a huge fan of the loops, though. 37 loops? Well, you are mentally tough, to be sure.
There was a recent 1-mile race (also in Des Moines, but affiliated as part of the marathon series). It was on a point-to-point course (the GBM had two left turns to navigate around), so this other 1-mile race probably would have rewarded me with a slightly faster finish time (assuming decent temps, etc.). But, I opted to not do it ;-(Delete
This is fun!! Sounds like you've done some pretty awesome races!ReplyDelete
Thank you ;-) Well, there have been a few "dud" races, too LOL. As long as I learn something from a race, though, they all are worthwhile. These races, highlighted in this post, area the best of the best ;-)Delete
I agree that the 5K is tricky! I start too fast and then have a problem pacing. I often out run myself and then crash in the 3rd mileReplyDelete
Oh, I have played that game MANY times!Delete
That's one of my favorite things about running: There are countless ways to enjoy it.ReplyDelete
Exactly ;-) We can enjoy it in all kinds of weather, on every kind of terrain, any time of day (or night) and at any distance.Delete
I'm doing the Des Moines Half this year.ReplyDelete
I plan on being there, too! It's the weekend before my marathon, so I won't be running it hard, but I do plan to enjoy myself. It's such a great course!Delete
All of these races sound fun! I used to say (when I was much younger and running a lot more marathons) that the 5k was harder than the marathon. Obviously I put a lot more effort into it then than I do now! :-)ReplyDelete
My favorites oddball distance race is the Tram Road Challenge. It's a 6k, basically 3.7 miles straight up a mountain road. It's where I met (and married, a few years later) my husband, so it has a special place in my heart.
I remember reading about that Tram Road Challenge on your blog...sounds like something I'd enjoy ;-)Delete
I have a love hate relationship with the 5K. Definitely not my favorite distance. That Ultra sounds cool! 37 miles is awesome. Way to go!ReplyDelete
The 5K is such a beast that a lot of people take from granted LOLDelete
You sure find a variety of races to run. Keeps it fun and challenging at the same time. Strong work!ReplyDelete
I like doing a variety because it keeps me in peak condition (I think LOL)...I'm ready and able for (almost) any distance. The downside is that I'm not specifically trained for any one particular distance, so I can't really say any one distance is my "specialty." oh well...Delete
I agree about half marathons. I'm really looking forward to the training for my upcoming halfs. Won't go back into marathon training until next year. Same thing with 5ks...definitely a new respect for them now that I'm attempting to "race" them more. I'm also a work in progress...I typically go out way too fast for the first mile.ReplyDelete
The 5K is a tough distance to run "fast," at least it is for me. My long legs don't like moving especially fast, for any distance LOLDelete
Love the medal from your 5K nemesis...so many types of races you have done...hats off!ReplyDelete
Our area used to do a Thanksgiving 6K, which was always awesome (they have bumped it down to a 5K, so I now run the 5K closer to home).
There's also an 8K around here.
We do have lots of run events: the glow run, the cupcake run, awareness runs, etc. I'm in for all of it.
This was a really cool post. It's great to reflect back on all the races you've done and why they were so special.ReplyDelete