Have Dental Floss, Will Travel

Mapping the world, one waxy strand at a time…

To Infinity and Beyond…

I just received an email saying that I was registered for the 2009 Philadelphia Distance Run, the city’s premiere half-marathon, to take place on September 20.  Problem is, I have zero recollection of ever signing up.  How does that happen?

With the jet-setting summer (sort of) winding down and the itch to begin planning more adventures beginning to surface, I’ve found myself thinking about racing over the past few days.  Between the stress of going on the academic job market and the pressures of the final year of graduate school, I was conscious not to make too many plans for the upcoming season.  I registered for the Steamtown Marathon on October 11, for another go at a BQ, and I’m gearing up to rock out with the GOALS Girls Gone Wild at The Edge adventure race a couple weeks later.
Problem is, I’m not really feeling the BQ vibe these days.  Maybe it’s the summer humidity.  Maybe it’s the lack of consistency that’s come with a summer of traveling.  Maybe it’s the bad taste still in my mouth from Jersey.  But for whatever the reason, I just haven’t been able to get into the speed zone.  I’ve been coasting along comfortably without paying a whole lot of attention to pace, probably cruising along between 8:45 and 9:15 per mile.  And I’m okay with that.
Pair that with having been bitten by the AR bug earlier this year at The Longest Day, and I’m finding my focus increasingly shifting toward longer distances, slower paces, and increased thinking and strategy.  There’s the ultra in March and the orienteering marathon in December and the 24-hour ROGAINE in November.  There’s mountain biking and whitewater kayaking and learning the fine art of navigation.
But much as I want to fully embrace that world, I’m still torn.  I set a goal – to qualify for the Boston Marathon.  I was thisclose in May.  I know that I could have done it.  I know that I still could do it.  Once I set a plan, I’m not so good at letting it go.  It feels like I’m failing.  Or worse – quitting.
So, I guess I have two options: struggle through tempo runs, gut out some intervals, and show up for Steamtown as speed-ready as I can be.  Or continue as I’ve been doing – logging the miles, exploring new areas, running with friends or zoning out on the treadmill – and look to marathon as the beginning of base-building for a season of ultras and adventure races.

6 responses to “To Infinity and Beyond…

  1. RunToFinish July 31, 2009 at 2:33 am

    hmmm you do have a dilemma there…so many goals and only so much time. I say figure out what is the most fun for you right now… maybe a BQ is a great goal but not that fun right now, so give it a go later. Or maybe aiming for that is a great time…good luck. I'm still dreaming about being able to go to Europe in your suitcase

  2. RunningLaur July 31, 2009 at 3:41 am

    That's a tough one. Since I don't have any delusions of ever being near BQ speed, I can't fully know that painful desire. With that disclaimer had, I don't think that altering your goals in a different direction is quitting. It means you have the strength and reason to not just follow a path laid out for you, but to challenge yourself in the manner which has the potential to give yourself the most joy and success. A season of ultras and adventures is not taking the easy way out!

  3. Angela and David Kidd July 31, 2009 at 3:09 pm

    You've got the rest of your life to qualify for Boston. I find if I'm not fully committed to the goal, then the chances of my achieving it diminish. Give yourself some slack over the next couple of weeks, and who knows, you may find that fire again for BQ'ing and want to do some speedier work. I am in awe of the ultra stuff you do. Now that's hard core. What is the "AR bug"?And I'm with you on trying to figure out some way we can push one another in the "year of the bike". It's going to be epic!

  4. Denise July 31, 2009 at 6:56 pm

    After REALLY enjoying the ultra training and run, I'm struggling myself to switch gears to speedy marathon training. I'm trying to tell myself that at least the marathon training is challenging at this point. I also got that email re: PDR and I haven't registered yet either. Maybe they let us in for free!

  5. N.D. July 31, 2009 at 10:29 pm

    sounds like we are right in the same place!

  6. Kim July 31, 2009 at 11:55 pm

    Sounds like you are in the same place I was in not so long ago with my tri training. You're not quitting (I totally get when you say that though) but instead, you're shifting gears. There is nothing wrong with that. Do what you WANT, it's supposed to be fun. And honestly, if you're hearts not in BQing, will you give it your all in training? Just something to ponder. But whatever you decide, enjoy it!

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