2015- Marathon Calendar

As 2014 comes to a close in just a little over a month, the focus for many runners out there is picking which races will fill the calendar in the year to come.  How does one choose?  There are so many factors that go into the decision making process.

Do you choose races based on price?  How about location?  Do you look for races within driving distance, or is a destination race including airfare not out of the question?  Do you choose races based on the course?  Big races, small races, races for charity?  PR chances?  With so many options out there for racing at any distance, the possibilities are endless.

What have you chosen?

Here’s look at some of my choices….

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I chose this one based on proximity to family.

Asheville in March…. and All American a week later.  Yes please….  North Carolina races.  One about four hours away in the mountains, the other a military event about an hour from home.

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Looking forward to returning to both of these events.  Both tried and true.  Awesome races!

Up until this point in my “marathon career”, I’ve raced 16 marathons.  Each one of them has been different.  Looking at these three races, I have run each of them one time before.  It’s time for me to return and try to better my times.  Can you believe I haven’t repeated any marathons up until now?  Wow, it’s true.

I do however need a new race for 2015, and for that I am looking at the New River Marathon, in Todd, NC.  Another event in the mountains, the beautiful area near Boone.  A small race by comparison to many others, this race has a real small town feel.  At least that’s what I’ve heard.

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I am not 100% decided yet! but really want to run this one!

I need to jump on an airplane this Summer, and head to a Revel event.  This year was Big Cottonwood in Utah, next July I am planning on Revel Rockies in Denver.  Destination, and PR chance, to boot.

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This will be my attempt at Boston 2016.  Let’s see if I can make it happen.

Next Fall?  Gosh, I haven’t given it a ton of thought just yet.  Solidifying the next six months has been more critical right now.  Oh, how I would love to return to Chicago again.  Big Cottonwood?  Would absolutely love to run that one again, but does money grow on trees?  I have to remember that I can’t do it all.  I did enter a contest to get into the New York City Marathon next year, but that will probably never happen.  Can’t hurt thinking about it though, right?

Well, that’s where I’m at with my planning right now.  Have you decided on any big races for next year yet?  It’s such a great time for planning, and remember….  many races are offering Black Friday discounts not only tomorrow, but throughout the rest of the weekend.

Happy planning!  Let me know if you’ve found a can’t miss race that I need to try to squeeze into my schedule.  Happy Thanksgiving!  Have you said your thanks for the ability to run today?  I know I have.

Unhappy Thanksgiving?

It’s always tough for me to get in the spirit of the holiday season.  Thanksgiving Day is supposed to usher in a season of goodwill, celebrations and thankfulness.  I’m sorry to admit it, but I’m just not feeling it.

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Does it make me a bad person?  I’ve just been feeling a bit jilted lately.  Feeling sort of like this turkey looks.  The doldrums.  Maybe I have some sort of disorder.  Seasonal Affective Disorder.  Lack of sunshine, colder weather.  Shorter days.  I’m sorry, I just hate it.  I think I need to move to, and live on the Equator.

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Can I please just live here?  Yep, I’m feeling distant, disgusted and moody today.  I think walking across this bridge right now would help uplift my spirit.  I’m feeling a very ungrateful Thanksgiving in my future.

Sell Out Alert!! Asheville Marathon at Biltmore Estate

Quietly whispered….

…..and then it soaked in…..

Wow!  The Asheville Marathon & Half at Biltmore Estate set to run on March 15, 2015 is heading toward a record early sell-out!  It was announced yesterday that with an overall cap of 1,300 runners, there were less than 200 spots remaining.  I guess word is spreading far and wide about this truly unique boutique-style race.

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I ran the inaugural event back in 2013.  It is truly a majestic and beautiful bucket list event.  Well organized, with a great expo and plenty of runner perks, this is a race you don’t want to miss!  I mean, who wouldn’t want to run here?

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Check out the race website for current pricing, but act quickly.  http://ashevillemarathon.com

Follow the race on Twitter:  @AvlMarathon

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2014 – Race Statistics

Looking back on my running year today because I don’t have any more races upcoming, and needed a bit of perspective.  I always get a bit depressed during time off, or during recovery.  During this time of year, when all it seems like I am doing is working, shorter daylight hours, holidays looming, I need a pick me up.  I decided to review my year to give myself a bit of an umph.

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My goals for the 2014 were pretty broad.  I wanted to run five marathons (one a month for the first five months of the year).  I wanted to qualify for Boston.  First goal met, second goal unachieved.  Charleston, Hilton Head, Wrightsville Beach, Rock n Roll Raleigh and All American Marathons running January through May hurled me to goal #1. Each of those marathons were new to me, all unique.  All were sub 4 hour marathons, as well.  I pushed my limits, I met that goal. In the back of my mind I was gunning for Boston at a few of those races, but knew that running five in five months was a goal enough unto itself.  I turned my Boston goal into a Fall goal.

Before the mid point in the year, in addition to the five marathons, I also ran one 5k, one 10k and one 10 mile race.  My only PR this year was set at the 10 mile race.  Why?  Because that was my one and only 10 mile race ever.  I didn’t PR or even come close at any other distance race this year.  A little bummed about that, but hey, you can’t win them all.

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Over the Summer I turned my attention to Boston, and hill training.  All in preparation for my BQ goal race in September at Big Cottonwood.  I had a great Summer of training, and felt prepared for a good go at it.  In the end it didn’t work out.  I missed my BQ time by 16 minutes.  Big Cottonwood ended up being my second fastest marathon of the year.  Second to Chicago.

My Fall season consisted of 7 races.  Four were Halves, three were Full’s.  That’s a lot of running, and they were all within a 50 day span.  That’s a pretty awesome achievement in itself.  I really didn’t plan it that way, it just happened.  The last of the races I ran my best Half of the year, so I ended on a high note.

So looking at 2014, I have to say that even though I didn’t get that BQ, I wouldn’t trade my running year for anything.  I ran 8 marathons (all new races), out of the 15 races I did in total for the year.  I participated in my first Ironman relay, (I did the running portion), so that Half actually puts my yearly total at 16 races.  So half were marathons.  Nice!

As my racing season is over, my career racing totals really ratcheted up in numbers.

My marathon total is: 16

My half marathon total is : 24

Sometimes you just need to review to feel better about yourself.  True I don’t haven’t any races in the near future, but I can revel in the fact that I really had an amazing running year.  Running has taken me places I have never been before, both physically and on the map.  Trips to Salt Lake City, and Chicago for the first times ever, all due to running.  Lots of fun events this year.

I pushed my limits this year, and will continue to hone my running skills on into next year.  What awaits?  I don’t have a lot of clarity yet in my race schedule for next year, but as it comes together I know I will continue to push toward a BQ, and have a lot of fun racing along the way.

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Here’s to another awesome racing year, 2015!

Big Race Weekend

As I sit here on my couch this morning enjoying some hot coffee on a very cold day, my thoughts are with thousands of runners preparing for some pretty fantastic races this weekend.  Yep, I’m jealous!  Last year at this time I was waking up in Vegas taking in some down time getting ready for my marathon there.  This year, I’m working all weekend.  Not quite the same.

So to all of my running friends lining up at the following races this weekend, I wish you all the best!

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Todd, Angie, Brenda, Eddy, Scott, Emily, Annie and Fred (among others) – Stay strong, and envision that finish line.  You are all Rock stars!

Revel Rockies Marathon & Half

Revel Race series is currently a group of three incredibly beautiful, downhill races in western U.S..  Big Cottonwood, in Utah (which I ran this year), Revel Rockies in Colorado, and Canyon City just outside of Los Angeles, California.  The inaugural event at Canyon City is this weekend, so good luck to those of you lucky enough to be running there!

A huge fan of this race series, I have to check them off my race to-do list.  Why?  I can think of many reasons.  Traveling to race?  Yes!  Up until my race in Utah in September, I hadn’t been to any of the three locations they offer races.  A great reason to run.  Visiting Salt Lake City was a load of fun.  Getting to see a beautiful area on foot while running a marathon was just amazing!  Downhill races equal faster races.  Better chance for a PR or BQ, or both?  Another huge factor for wanting to run these races.  They have a naturally higher percentage of Boston Qualifiers than most races in the States.  Beautiful vistas, mountains, canyons, nature.  Courses designed for beauty and speed, amazing!  They also have great bling, swag and offer a very generous cancellation policy.  You don’t see that in many races at all.  So many reasons to run a Revel event.

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I have decided to run the Rockies event in 2015.  Race day is July 19th.  I haven’t booked any travel yet, as one of my favorite airlines, Southwest, hasn’t opened up their flight schedule that far out yet.  Travel details will work themselves out in the months to come.  For now though, I have created a team, and would welcome anyone who wants to join in.  You only run together if you want to, but joining a team allows you to get a discount on registration in addition to liking them on Facebook (which gets you another $5 off).  My team name is “Running Down A Dream”.  You can click on the following link and be taken to the registration page.  https://www.brooksee.com/rdv/register?team=146952.   Let’s Revel Rockies.

Take a look at the great finisher medal from the inaugural event this year.  It’s huge!

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The Rockies event promises a beautiful downhill course.  Just look at the elevation chart.  I can tell you from experience, you must train differently for a downhill race.  Do some research, and find yourself a good training plan so that your legs aren’t wrecked post race.

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If you are anything like me, you base many decisions on what events you sign up for on the overall runner experience. You look at race recaps, online forums, and race websites.  Based on my experience at Big Cottonwood this year, I know the folks at Revel Races do races right.

Check out this great race series online.  You can read all about their mission, read runner reviews, check out the race course maps, and much more.  www.runrevel.com.

Elvis is in the Building (and running)

If you are one of the lucky one’s, you are gearing up for an amazing running weekend in Las Vegas.  Just a few short days away, all of the glitz, glamour and compression socks await you!  Maybe even a medal, or two, or three.

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So, get ready!  Get your bags packed, and don’t forget your gambling money!  Las Vegas is one of my favorite places.  I’ve been countless times over the years, twice this year.  This weekend though, I will not be there.  I really have had an issue with jealousy these past few weeks leading up to this years event.  It is so much fun, I really hate the fact that I cannot participate this year.  Well, for one reason or another (namely trips to Salt Lake City and Chicago) the wallet couldn’t afford another trip.  Believe me, I thought about how I could make it work.  Best be frugal enough to race a few cool locations next year and save up.

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With Elvis in the building, or at least the spirit of Elvis, and about 200-300 look a likes running the Strip this weekend, you better just absorb all of it.  Do it for me!  I first ran this Rock ‘n’ Roll event back in 2011.  It was just my third Half Marathon, and being sick with bronchitis, my overall finish in 1,306th place was a triumph.  My finish time of 1:43:23 put me well ahead of the pack of 33,253 finishers.  That is a top 4% finish.  Interesting to note, the winner on the women’s side of that event was Amy Hastings.  My finish time allowed me to just eek out the post race carnage and bottle necking that made that race so noteworthy.  It’s the reason why the course was changed, the finisher village changed, and a lower cap instituted for runner safety.

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I skipped the event in 2012, but made an amazing return to Las Vegas in 2013 to run the Full Marathon.  I used that year (2012) to fine tune my distance running, and became a marathoner.  With six marathons under my belt, Las Vegas became my lucky #7 last year.  Everything about the race was epic.  From start to finish I loved it!  I finished in 315th place out of 2,927.  Top 10% this time and still awesome.  My time of 3:41:41, puts that finish as my fourth best marathon out of 16.  I guess the flat course, and excitement of Vegas helped.

So, as I sit here a bit dejected that I am missing the race this year, I have to make a plan to be there again.  Maybe in 2015.  I think that is the only thing that will help my jealousy issues right now.

To all of you heading to Las Vegas to run, let me live vicariously through you this weekend.  Have an incredible time, and just enjoy every neon-filled moment!