Friday, May 31, 2013

The Gauntlet

This weekend marks the first of four marathons in a row.  Yikes!  In a strange way, I'm looking forward to it.  I think that's because they all have something different to offer.  Here's the rundown:

Canyon Meadow:  I did this one only a couple months ago, and ran a great race.  The course is challenging, but by Coastal Trail Runs standards, maybe a little easy; only one of the climbs is brutal, and it comes at the beginning of each loop.  My goal is simply to beat my own time, which is the course record.

Big Basin:  If I'm not mistaken, this is the only point-to-point marathon in the entire Coastal Trail Runs series.  That alone makes it interesting.  Add in what I understand is gorgeous scenery (read: TONS of redwoods) on the Skyline-to-Sea trail, and it becomes that much more appealing.  And as the cherry on top, it's overwhelmingly downhill.  Having a Boston-qualifying time on a trail marathon could be possible, and would freaking rock (even if it's not an official qualifying course).

San Francisco:  The only urban marathon I plan on doing for the rest of the year, it's my chance to showcase my speed.  Even though San Francisco has a reputation as a hilly, challenging course, it has less than a third of the hills that Canyon Meadow and Big Basin do, and those are among the easiest of the Coastal Trail Runs.  Light, fast shoes, firm pavement, full support, I'm looking for a fast time. If I'm not under 3:00, I'll be disappointed, and below that, the faster, the better.
I normally wouldn't care about my time so much, but there's unusually high interest in running Boston in 2014 after the attack this year (take it from a Googler - "Qualify for Boston" and similar phrases are at an all-time high).  I am no exception.  Not only has the Boston Marathon tightened its standards in recent years (which I approve of - you should earn Boston, not pay for it), but they now do staggered registration.  The more you beat your BQ time, the earlier you get to register, until it's finally sold out.  Since I only beat my BQ time by about one minute in LA, I'm hoping to do a lot better in San Francisco and earn a spot in the world's most prestigious footrace.

San Lorenzo River:  Another very scenic marathon, near where my uncle lives.  And for whatever reason, I'm excited about wading through waist-deep water four times during the course.

I normally don't eat meat, sweets, or drink alcohol for a week before a race.  Since all these races are one week apart, that would mean I couldn't do any of those things for a solid month.  I think I'll make an exception and give myself a chance to indulge immediately after every race, in celebration, then abstain for the following six days.

The weekend following all this mess is a four-day weekend, the 4th of July.  I have a feeling that weekend will be epic.