A hodgepodge of post-race thoughts

I could write a lot about a variety of things right now, but instead here's a shorter list of things on my mind right now. Also, I've inserted some of my photos from the weekend to show some of the amazing sights.

Taking a break
I have not had a full, complete two-day break from running in almost three months. Even through my tailbone injury I managed to get in a few tenths at a time. The last time I went more than two days without running at all was June 10-12 when I was in the Outer Banks. You'll have to excuse me this week as I don't even think about having a running motion for a few days. Today I had a great walk with my dog and I MIGHT go for a run after work tomorrow. Otherwise, it's been nice having a break since Sunday morning.

Going Garmin free
On my walk with my dog this evening, I didn't take my Garmin. I've been so obsessed with my miles -- even walking miles -- that I feel like my Garmin is just a growth on my arm. I don't even know what bag it's packed it right now, and I may not bust it out at all this week. I'll estimate my miles based on what I know about my neighborhood or use mapmyrun.com. I need a break from looking down at my watch so much.

Post-race soreness

Despite shutting it down the last half of the Rock 'n' Roll Half on Sunday, I still have sore legs and am tired. It's not nearly as bad as usual, but it's oddly comforting to know that I put enough effort in early on to be sore. Just because things went bad doesn't take away from three months of training, and I'm exhausted both mentally and physically. I think I'm entitled to do whatever the hell I feel like doing this week.

A tale of two races
Despite the fact that I was 17 minutes slower this weekend than the Shamrock Half in March, there is something special about what happened a couple of days ago. A friend of mine called it a character-building race. He's so right too, and right now I probably don't even know how right he is. It was a learning experience in so many ways, and I'm strangely glad that it played out like it did. In March, I was hurt. I was mad as hell and I was determined to get back on my feet this summer. When I did, I turned around and fell on my butt, but I stayed determined to keep training and fight through it. When the humidity hit me like a brick wall on Sunday, it was just part of my story of things trying to prevent me from finishing this race. But I finished dammit. Unhurt and not limping across the finish line.

Rock 'n' Roll 2009
A few hours after finishing on Sunday, I said I highly doubt that I would return for this race. But by that night, when talking with my friend Vicki who ran it last year, I realized that I have to go back to Virginia Beach on Labor Day weekend next year. It's more than a year away and right now that seems like forever and a day away, but that 2:06 is already burning a hole in my feet. It's a course record for me that just can't hang around.

So ... what's next?
Ah, the question runners everywhere are always asking themselves. Well, I'm not 100 percent sure. The Virginia 10 Miler is coming at the end of the month in Lynchburg, and I've been thinking about doing it again for two years now. It's a unique race on an extremely hilly course ... it's the race that got me so hooked on longer distances. I have to get through the next couple of days and recovery runs to see how I feel before I make a decision, but right now it's the only race close by that makes sense. Despite wanting to redeem myself in a half marathon, I don't want to venture too far from home with a baby on the way in November. Plus after two half marathons that didn't go as expected, I want to get that distance out of my head for a while.

I'd like to do some shorter races this fall. I haven't done a 5k since August 2007 and I haven't had a good 10k in a long time, so I'm kind of itching to get back to what got me hooked on running in the first place.

So ... what's next after what's next?

It's kind of weird to think about 2009 already, but looking ahead, the Rock 'n' Roll Half is the only "big" thing on my radar screen (see above for all that). After that, I'm totally open to thinking about doing another marathon next fall. I've already looked at how the calendar plays out and it's ideal to just keep training after Labor Day weekend to perhaps do the Richmond Marathon again. It's just not happening this year with a baby on the way. Plus I haven't forgotten about the nagging injuries despite feeling great right now. There's something itching inside me to have a half marathon that I'm 100 percent happy with before doing another marathon, so mapping out my plans for next year will have to wait ... probably until a year from now.

Lastly, a HUGE thank you
I just wanted to extend my sincerest thanks to my wife, my mom and stepdad, my friends and my fellow bloggers out there for your support in the past few months. I've had so much going on personally and professionally, and I could not have made it without all the support. I could have easily just given up hope on a lot of things, but everybody has played a role in keeping this train from running out of steam. Thank you!! It'll be time to keep it going in a few days.

By the way, I'm in the blue waving my hands in the photo below. It's one of the very few times I've actually done something for a photo during a race. I'm looking forward to seeing the official photos because I actually put my hands up in the air for one.