A blog about my life, fitness and fun! (...and maybe a few cat pictures...)

A blog about my life, fitness and fun! (...and maybe a few cat pictures...)

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

I can't make up my mind!

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Ever since reading the Hansons Marathon Method, I have been ruminating over when and where to try to PR in the marathon. I have gone back and forth between doing it early this summer or waiting until fall. I have come to my senses and decided fall would be the best time to try to reach this goal of mine.

Once I finally decided on fall, I needed to figure out which month. October would be ideal since I could do a lot of the 18 week training during the summer- which I would prefer. I have a lot more energy and motivation in the summer. September could be too warm and November would have me doing most of the training during the school year.


The problem is, I am having a hard time finding an October marathon that meets my criteria for a PR-able race:


Megan's criteria to PR:

1. Flat/fast course

2. Local

I could do Steamtown on October 9th...

Pros: Semi local, (would require a 2 hour car ride and 1 night in a hotel), fast course, it's on my bucket list.

Cons: Point to point course which would require loading buses at the ass crack of dawn.

I could do Chicago on October 9th...

Pros: Fast course, it's on my bucket list, tons of crowds, would get to meet blogger friends.


Cons: It would cost a lot of money (plane ticket, hotel, registration fee...), I'd have to take time off work, traveling is stressful and stress is not good for PRs!



Chicago would be fun but it would be such a HUGE trip. Right now that sounds fun, but I know as it approaches, I will feel apprehensive and nervous. I could always just throw my name in the lottery and let fate take it's course...

As far as Steamtown, I know I am being a little high maintenance up riding buses to the start line. It would require a really early wake up call but of course MOST marathons require a really early wake up call... 

...except when the marathon is practically right outside your front door.

I keep coming back to the Harrisburg Marathon. Everything gets compared to that.

Harrisburg is on November 13th...

Pros: As local as I can get, inexpensive, my family could spectate, flat course, I'm familiar with the course and could practice it before race day.

Cons: November

People have said to me, "But you've run Harrisburg twice," or "The course isn't that great." But remember, this marathon would be BUSINESS. It would be to have a fun time it would be to PR.

My current PR is on the Harrisburg course. Harrisburg has been good to me. I just keep coming back to Harrisburg and I'm leaning toward that... But I welcome you all to convince me otherwise! You guys always have great insights and words of wisdom for me!
Share your insights with me!
Have you run any of these races?
Advice?

40 comments:

  1. Selfishly I think you should pick Chicago if you get selected in the lotto! I know you are an anxious traveller but the crowds will propel you to a PR! Even at the back of the pack last year they were still out and cheering big time!

    I get it though, traveling for a marathon is definitely stressful. I did it for Portland and Chicago and my advice is to arrive at least two days in advance if you can. The first day you should hit up the expo and then the second day you should not have any plans at all so that you can relax. Of course arriving an extra day early means another day to pay for your hotel room which sucks, but trust me that it's worth the money to not feel rushed/stressed.

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    1. I am sure the crowds are NUTS! It gets me really excited to think about. I feel a little selfish because for me and Paul to go to Chicago for 3 nights it would cost $1500 at LEAST. I mean, I know I work hard and should be able to spend my money on something that is mostly for me once in awhile, but... You know, they say you should never feel bad about spending your money on EXPERIENCES, and I am sure this experience would be worth it.

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  2. I agree with doing it in the early fall so you have all summer to train. Have you thought of the Lehigh Valley one. I have my eye on that one. It's a flat and very fast course and is in september!

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    1. I DID look at that one but I was worried that early September could be HOT. That was one of the downsides. A lot of "what ifs" of course. I think that is also a shuttle...

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  3. I have not raced any of these but I have run Detroit. It isn't crowded, pretty flat, mid october and not expensive. When I ran it I found a hotel (not expensive I stayed 2 nights for about 230) that had a shuttle to the race start and the weather was GREAT! The only caveat is having to have a passport or passport card. I am trudging toward a september marathon so I don't have too much interference with cross country...i hope!

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    1. Why do you need a passport for Detroit?

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    2. You run from Detroit over the Ambassador Bridge into Canada and through the tunnel back. I just got a passport card (cheaper and faster) but either works.

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    3. Wow, interesting! I don't have a passport.

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    4. Do they check your passport when you enter Canada!!??

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  4. Chicago is such a great race and you could totally PR BUT I think it would be easier to PR on a course you are familiar with. Just my two cents...

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  5. Since I am the last person to give advice about when/where to race, I will just say to "follow your heart". I think if you give it a bit of time you will clearly hear the message of which one you should run and I know that no matter which one you choose you are going to kill it!

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    1. I hope my heart decides soon. I think lottery for Chicago closes soon!

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  6. I haven't run either, but I have friends who have run both, and they both sound amazing but from what they've told me there are a couple points of caution for each one:

    Steamtown - make sure you train for downhills and have a smart pacing strategy. The first 3 miles of Steamtown are apparently a pretty sharp downhill and this can make for a really tough race later on if you're not prepared for it. Chicago - fast and flat and lots of energy, but the people I know who have run it say that because there are so many people jammed together it can be hard to get into your pace early on. This might not be as much of an issue for you since you'll be much closer to the front than a lot of the runners there, but always something to keep in mind at a race with 40,000 runners.

    I think there are pros and cons either way, but personally, I would go with Steamtown just because it's local. And cheaper. It sounds like travel really stresses you out, and maybe that's not worth dealing with for such a huge race. You could always apply for the Chicago lottery and then do Steamtown if you don't get in.

    Good luck! Don't stress too much and just go with your gut! I'm sure you will have an awesome experience either way!

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    1. Thanks for your words of wisdom! I have read a lot about the Steamtown course and everyone cautions about the downhills. Reminds me of Boston. Boston can really tear up your quads in the beginning.

      Travel really does stress me out. I wish it didn't. :( It is something I aspire to do more often!

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  7. I have not run a marathon *yet*. But if I was looking for PR, I would go with Harrisburg. I heard that they took out Wildwood Park from the Marathon. Good luck making a decision!

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    1. They did take out Wildwood! I ran Harrisburg twice but have never run the new course. It is even flatter now, obviously!

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    2. I love Wildwood for training, but if I had to race Wildwood, I would need a double espresso first! it would make me forget momentarily that I'm racing it!

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    3. I have not been over there in so long!

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  8. You should do Chicago!!! I'll be running it and I'd love to see you out there! I know, terribly selfish reason to suggest Chicago. I love to travel and like to incorporate it into my races... but if you don't find travel relaxing, doing a race where you can sleep in your own bed is probably the way to get your PR. But you should still do Chicago! :-)

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    1. I do want to do Chicago, believe me :) But travel is bad for my PRs! So much to consider.

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  9. Oh man, I haven't a clue. I like hometown stuff, unless I'm in the mood, and we all know my mood changes on the regular so I'd hate paying a bunch of money ahead of time and then not feeling it.

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  10. You can come to Florida and do the Southernmost in Key West in October!!

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    1. Are you doing it???? I do want to go to the Keys sometime.

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    2. I am on the fence about doing a full... not sure my feet/knee can handle it, but I would do the half.. Just sounds like such a beautiful run to me!

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  11. I have never run in PA. I say go with Harrisburg if it has been good to you and you are likely going to have good weather that time of year right?
    and if you can sleep in your own bed that is good! Do you do well when you sleep away from home? i know you always have sleep issues...

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    1. Yes November is not too cold. The only bad part is if it would be raining. The first marathon I ever ran was Harrisburg and it poured the whole time. What a race!

      No I don't really sleep well when I am away from home. But I don't think I sleep well the night before a marathon anyway hehe.

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  12. I always prefer November marathons because of the cooler weather. I think Steamtown sounds great too! It sounds like Chicago would be too stressful, and you never know about the wind there!

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    1. Oh yeah I guess it is called the Windy City :)

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  13. I think if you're shooting for a PR, then flying before maybe it's the best because you need to medicate yourself to get through the flights ;o)

    Harrisburg might be hold hat, but it's easier for me to PR a course I've done before because it feels faster mentally. You don't waste energy wondering when the next turn will come or whatever. But if you want something new to keep you distracted, Steamtown sounds like a fun alternative!

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    1. You know me and my medication. :) You know you really only met "Ativan Megan". :)

      I think my brain is telling my Harrisburg is the course I am most comfortable with!

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  14. It sounds like Harrisburg is the logical choice since it's local which means sleeping at home, fixing your own food. It takes alot of the stress away from travel races. I too need a fall marathon, but although I signed up for the Chicago lottery, I'm still on the fence about it.

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    1. It IS logical. Logical may not always be exciting and fun, but it may be the best way to a PR! I hope you get in the lottery so you can at least make the choice whether to do it or not. Good luck!

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  15. Once again, I've been out of the blog loop, so I'm catching up today since we have a snow day. I think you've gotta listen to your intuition. If you're leaning toward Harrisburg, there's probably a reason!

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    1. Welcome back to the blog loop! Thanks, I think Harrisburg IS the logical choice.

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  16. Not sure where in PA you are, but Erie is FLAT and fast! Its in September, and since its on Presque Isle, the weather is PERFECT for a race that time of year! Ooorrr...I'm in Columbus, OH and we have a good, fairly flat course in October!

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    1. I have heard that Columbus is really nice! I am near Harrisburg. Erie would be a bit of a trek but not out of the question. Thanks for letting me know about it!

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  17. This is how I felt when I was trying to choose an Ironman. I was weighing all kinds of pros and cons and just ended up going with my gut. I always like to categorize and make decisions based on what is realistic, ideal, and fantasy. The realistic would be what is most likely to happen. The ideal would be "best of both worlds" type mentality - completely doable but perhaps a little more investment than realistic. Fantasy is what you would want if you could have it all. Perhaps right now Chicago fits in the fantasy category whereas Steamtown is ideal, and Harrisburg is realistic. Can't wait to see which direction you go!

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    1. You are so eloquent and described each race perfectly! :) I think I have made up my mind and am going with Harrisburg. Realistic, not that exciting, but most likely to produce the result I want!

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