A new focus for Blue Ridge

Back in November when I was pacing my sister to her first sub 2-hour marathon, I realized how much focus I had lost with my own running. While doing things like the Disney Marathon and randomly changing races during the Runner's World festival weekend were fun, I hadn't set a hardcore goal for myself in more than a year. That was when I decided to set a goal for Shamrock after being mostly goal-less at year's race. It's also given me renewed focus on goals in general -- things like setting a goal of 1,000 miles for 2014 are enjoyable once again.

I don't know if I'll have the chance to PR at a half again this year, or what other PRs I'll go for, but it's so nice to be back in a state of mind in which future races have more meaning that just to run them.

The new Blue Ridge Half course, complete with a second major climb in the final few miles.

In a month, I'll be tackling another half marathon -- the Blue Ridge Half Marathon in Roanoke, Va. As similar to the past few years, I was actually signed up for the full, but lack of training for it, tired legs after Shamrock and taking most of last week off led me to what I think is a wise decision to do the half.

This will be my fourth time doing this half; in my previous three races I've come away feeling tremendously satisfied, but also disappointed. I've generally approached this race with no goal in mind ... just finish it ... have fun with it.

While having fun and completing this beast of a course have been nice, I'm ready to set a goal -- 1:50.

That almost seems crazy considering last year was just a little more than 2 hours, and the previous two were at 1:57 and 1:59. This year's race also incorporates the Peakwood neighborhood, so there's even more elevation change. I feel like with some focus over the next few weeks, though, that going for 1:50 is realistic.

I don't know how much I'll write about my goals and training -- life is quite busy with two kids -- but I'm putting it out there and ready to keep things rolling in 2014.

Now I'm off to find some hills to get ready ...