Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Variations on a theme

I remember way back in high school English class learning about the difference between "excited" and "anxious".  Even though the words are often used interchangeably, they have different meanings.  You are excited if you are anticipating something good and anxious if you are anticipating something bad.  Children are excited about Christmas; adults are anxious.  However, even though they seem almost opposite, it's possible (common, even?) to feel both emotions about the same future event.  

Last week I wrote about how I was worried about getting back into shape after I have the baby and wondering if I'd ever run competitively (with myself and the under 8 and over 80 set) again.  This week I'm going to embrace all the fall running/racing excitement and write about my dream running/racing plans for next year.  Even if it's (too) ambitious, there's nothing quite like mapping out a training plan or racing season.  It's like a blank canvas or empty notebook - so much possibility unmarred by reality.

Anyway... we'll assume for the sake of argument that the baby is born at the very end of December and that I get cleared to start exercising again a month later at the end of January and that I'm probably not going to do any more running (and I use the term loosely at this point) before the baby is born.  

Even though it would mean I'd only have 6 weeks to "train", I'm inclined to sign up for the Shamrock Shuffle 5k next March.  

Of course I have plenty of time to change my mind if it became obvious that was a terrible plan, but I'm slightly paranoid that I'm going to stop running now and just never start again after the baby is born unless I have some external motivation.  I certainly plan to keep walking at least a 5k several times a week up until the baby is born, so if nothing else I could walk the thing and have a very easy "baseline" to use to mark improvement.

The other option would be to wait and do Crazy Legs at the end of April.  That would give me about 3 months to train, which is certainly more realistic as far as actually getting back into some semblance of shape, but there are two reasons I'm not crazy about this race.  1. I've missed two Crazy Legs runs in the past because of travel for work, and I might go to that same conference again this year and 2. The weather is notoriously horrible on the day of Crazy Legs.  Like cold and/or monsoon-level rains.  Other than last year, when it was super hot, the weather for the Shamrock Shuffle is usually very nice.  

That takes care of the spring.  While there are races here throughout the summer, fall is where it's really at.  It's a little (maybe more than a little) ambitious, but I'd like to plan to do the Madison Mini Marathon again next August (which is still technically summer) as my first "real" race post baby.  It's a great race and course, but it is a half marathon at 8 months post-partum...  And I haven't run more than 5 miles since I became pregnant.  But on the other hand, I think holding out a tough but attainable goal is more motivating than frustrating.  I'm sure I won't PR, but at least it'll give me a reason to get my mileage back up.

The other two races I'd like to do are the Haunted Hustle half marathon in October and the Berbee Derby 10k in November.  So that's 4 races in a year - one to get me motivated to run again and three spread through the fall to work on my actual fitness.  Seems reasonable (says the woman who doesn't actually have a baby yet).  And I think they are genuinely the highlights of racing in the area.  I've run 3 Shamrock Shuffles and 4 Berbee Derbys and am truly sad that I had to miss both this year.  I've only done the Mini once and the Haunted Hustle once, but I thought they were both great events.  

Sooooo... there you go.  That's the excitement side of my feelings about running again next year.  

Congrats to everyone who ran Chicago/Twin Cities last week and good luck to those who are gearing up for the Haunted Hustle, New York, etc. later this fall!          

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