Race Preview- New River Marathon

Two weeks from right now I will be closing in on the finish line of my 19th marathon.  May 2nd is only two weeks away, and I will finally be running a marathon that has been on my radar for a few years now.

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Currently tapering for what will be a battle in the woods, along the river and over hills in quiet, serene surroundings.  I am SO looking forward to a small and beautiful race, a race where the only competition I will be competing with is myself.

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The past few years I have ended up choosing races that interfered with this one, so it’s finally my year to join the runners in Todd, NC.  I am missing the Blue Ridge Marathon, and/or Tarheel Ten Miler which are both running today.  I chose to run the half instead of the full for last weekends Rock ‘n’ Roll Raleigh.  All in preparation for the New River race.

There’s something to be said for big city races, large crowds and thousands of runners, but this race will be far from that.  Located in a small rural town in the mountains of North Carolina, the New River Marathon, Half and 5k is a small, cozy affair.  I’m already looking forward to the drive up there, and the small country feel of the race.  The atmosphere will be great, I’m sure.

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As I’ve said before, so often we run with not only our feet, but our eyes.  This marathon will be beautiful!

I have no specific finish time goals for this race, as it is not an easy race course.  My one and only goal is to enjoy the run.  The 26.2 mile run.

A Mountain of a Surprise

Many of you know that I live in the gently rolling region of central North Carolina.  We are not flat, but we certainly are not hilly either.  This is a generally rolling place on the map, between the Atlantic Ocean to the east and the mountains to the west.  I live about an equal distance inbetween the two.

I guess because I grew up in the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains in NY, my affinity for the mountains has continued well after leaving that area almost 20 years ago.  Although I don’t get out to western NC a whole lot, I do love it.  It’s peaceful, and laid back.  Much slower of a living out there than it is here.  I love relaxing in a mountain rental, taking in the sights and sounds, going for hikes and of course running.

If you are an avid reader of my blog, you know I have chosen several marathons to run in the challenging environment of the mountains.  I’ve run the Asheville Marathon at Biltmore Estate, the Asheville City Marathon, the Blue Ridge Marathon in Virginia, and most recently Big Cottonwood Marathon in Utah, and the Great Smoky Mountain Half in Tennessee.  Even though mountain races are a lot tougher than flat races, I really prefer them for the beauty and challenge of the varying terrain and elevation.

Where am I going with this?  Well, two big surprises came my way recently and I wanted to share them now.  As my goals and plans for 2015 take shape, deciding between a plethora of races is always a challenge.  I love adding new races into the mix, and, well, running favorites again.  I will be heading back to Asheville in March to run the Biltmore race.  Not the marathon this time around, but the Half.  I have been chosen to be the Pace Leader for the 1:45:00 group in the Half.  I have paced several Half Marathons and love it.  This opportunity is a welcome one, and I will be more than happy to have anyone join my group, as you run for a new PR.

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My second mountainous surprise is that I am now registered and ready to take on a new challenge and new marathon in May.  The name of the race is actually the New River Marathon.  It takes place on May 2, 2015 in the area around the New River in Todd, NC.  It’s a small, homegrown event gaining popularity.  I’ve had it on my radar for two years now, and the timing finally works out.  I will head to the mountains for a two to three day retreat and run a marathon, too.  Do you know how thrilled this makes me?

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How do you feel about running hills?  Mountains?  Do you prefer flat race courses?  Do you shy away from races that may be tougher because of the elevation changes?

I love a mountainous challenge, and cannot wait for these two big events on my 2015 race calendar.

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.