Jazzed up about racing

For the first time in four years, I've done four races in the first half of the year. There's something about the variety of races I've done this year that have me really wanting to do more as I train for the Baltimore Marathon. And more is what I'll do.

  • The check is in the mail for a 5k near my in-law's house in Ohio on July 4 -- the Stars and Stripes 5k in Howland, Ohio. This will be the flattest 5k I've ever done. Considering that I'm coming off a 23:03 5k on a very hilly course this past weekend, there's no doubt that I'm going to aim for a PR. I pretty much have no time to prepare for that increased speed, so here's to hoping the hills I run on make all the difference. If I don't get it, I'll be OK. I just want to put it out there that I want to break my 5k PR -- this is my last shot until December.
  • On July 16 I'll run the Percival's Island 5-Miler in Lynchburg for the fourth time. Last year I did what I called the smartest racing I've ever done. In hindsight, I don't really remember much about that race, but I'll be shooting for a faster time than last year (39:52). In 2007 I ran this race in 36:59, which is still my fastest-pace race ever. I don't know if I have that in me right now, and I'm sure that weather will be a factor once again, so I won't set any goals just yet.
  • Nearly a month later, on Aug. 13, I'll run the Lynchburg Half Marathon for the fourth time, but only the second time on the "new" course with a nasty hill in the middle. Last year, this was a bad race, but a good training run. Looking back, that hill defeated me. I'm not going to let that happen again. Whether or not I beat last year's time of 1:55 is something I'm not thinking about right now. Ideally, yes, I want to be faster. How much faster is a goal that will wait after several long runs.
  • After that there are some other things I'm considering before the marathon, but I'm not signing up for anything else right now. The 5 miler and the half marathon were very cheap right now and come with moisture-wicking shirts; with a price increase coming July 1, I went ahead and signed up for those this week. Signing up also gives me even more intense focus on training and putting thoughts in my head now of what I want to do in Baltimore in October.