Moments after crossing the in finish line at April's Big Sur Marathon, under brilliant sunshine and a dazzling California blue sky, my mind immediately started spinning schemes about which 26.2-mile race I'd run next. I'd missed my goal of running another sub-4:00 marathon, yet I felt gleefully exuberant and enthused. Fast-forward about six months to a dark, dreary finish line in rain-lashed Oregon, where my first thought was, "I am so over running marathons." Despite just qualifying for the Boston Marathon, an accomplishment I'd been chasing for 18 months in three marathons, I had no desire to run another 'thon.
Without a doubt, the soggy weather had something to do with it: The rain had most definitely dampened (ba-boom-CHA!) my enthusiasm. Throughout my dozen weeks of training, I'd had the two-pronged goal of qualifying for Boston and bettered my personal best (3:52) in the distance. But, to be honest, in the two days leading up to the race, I just wasn't feeling the PR vibe. I felt good, not great. Weather predictions forecast rain but, ever the optimist, I doubted their accuracy. They were right, I was wrong: On marathon morning, heavy, un-Portland-like rain fell steadily, washing my personal-best drive down the storm drains. In the starting corral I finally decided it was the day to BQ, not PR. Even though I reached that goal 3 hours and 59 minutes later, I felt little joy at the finish line. I felt like I'd gotten a job done rather than fulfilling a long-held dream.
I wish I could admit I've changed my tune in the week since, but I haven't. All summer, I knew if I qualified at Portland, I'd wait until 2012 to run Boston. Jack and the family deserve a break: Two marathon training cycles and RLAM promotional events have kept me away from the normal family hum too much this year. While I never felt training for two marathons in one year was too physically demanding--in fact, I felt stronger and less sore throughout my second round of training--I think the mental task proved too great for me, combined with the rest of the balls I'm juggling. Yesterday, as the 2011 Boston Marathon field filled up in a record single day, it never even crossed my mind to sign up for it.
Yet Monday morning over a breakfast smoothie, I did read an article in the New York Times about an insane-sounding new marathon near Tucson that runs almost entirely uphill, up the side of a mountain. There's no way in hell I'd run it--unlike dear Dimity, I literally suck at running at altitude--but it captured my imagination. And I'm very much looking forward to running the Philadelphia Half Marathon next month with one of my dearest BFFs. For now, 13.1 miles is long enough for me.