Throughout the month of December, I’ll be participating in #reverb13: Reverb is a way to reflect on the past year and project into the next year with a prompt a day for 31 days.
Day 11 – Fail:
What just didn’t work out this year? Is that okay with you? Or are you going to try, try again?
This one is easy! I failed to meet my goal marathon time in Berlin. I set an ambitious goal of an 11-minute PR. I had a solid history of 11 minute PRs, but obviously, at a certain point, your PR gets more and more indicative of your true capabilities, and improvements are rarer, smaller, and hard-fought. I had this time in my head that I thought would be insanely cool to run. And 11 minutes seemed do-able. But in the end, it wasn't, at least not in Berlin in 2013 for me. I did PR, but only by a couple minutes. I had a very solid race for 16 miles, and then I felt like I was falling out of it. My pace stayed strong for about 2 more miles, but then I slowed down. I still need to do a recap about the major problem (think kilometers) in the final miles that I think cost me a bit more time in going for my B goal.
I am mostly okay with the fact that I failed, but I may try again. That's still undetermined. As of right now, I don't think I'll be able to do it in Houston (I'm so not in shape -- I gained weight on vacation in Europe for a couple weeks and then nearly a week in California, and I just haven't been motivated to get out and train in the cold, particularly since I'm largely training alone right now), and I don't think I'm going to make it one of my central goals of 2014 (I will definitely set some 2014 running goal, but not sure yet what it will be). But marathon training has a way of taking over your life, particularly if you want to do well, so if I go for it again, by default, it will become a central goal of the year.
Whether or not I attempt it largely depends on where and when we go on vacation in 2014. We like to travel in the fall, and we know we need to be in the US the weekend of Sept. 19-21. Fall marathon season generally starts that weekend (it's part of an intricately calculated BQ calendar) and it wraps up in early to mid-December (of course there are marathons year-round, but that is the traditional season). I tend to like to do earlier marathons in the late-Sept to mid-October time frame, particularly since we would rather go on vacation in October or so to give us a bit of time to come home and recover before Christmas. Last year when we came back from China at the end of October or beginning of November, it felt like we got hit by a bus because we went straight into the holidays without any chance to get back to normal.
But whether we travel in October 2014 involves checking the weather (including rain charts) for the various places we want to go to decide if that's a good month. We've ruled out December since it's so close to Christmas (though many people have said December and the spring are the best time to be in India), and I'm inclined to rule out November for the same reason (at least the second half of it).
If we went in August (unlikely) or September (highly possible), it would pretty much completely derail my training and strongly undermine any attempt to hit my goal in October or November. While I do love running on vacation, what I love is a leisurely 5-10 miles through a new city. Not trying to include tempo miles without getting lost. Or figuring out logistics for multiple runs over 16 miles each (assuming we go away for about 3 weeks as usual). Or including 40-60 miles of running in my weekly vacation schedule.
Of course it comes down to priorities. No one is making me go on vacation, but for 2014, seeing India and whereever else we go at the ideal time of year after Aug. 1 (paranoid about squandering all my annual vacation too early) is more important to me than getting this dream marathon time.
So it's not quite clear yet if I'll try again this year. If I don't go for my 2013 dream time in 2014, maybe I will the following year, though as I start knocking on 40's door (if I'm not already), it seems less and less likely that I'll meet that goal. If I do manage to plan a vacation that would be after whatever marathon I choose, I'd definitely be open to taking another shot at it.
I'm open to suggestions for late September and early October marathons if anyone has any ideas! I don't want to run anything I've done before, and I'm looking for a fast course if I'm going for a lifetime PR...