Small steps, big picture
About a year ago, I went to the doctor after dealing with various foot issues on and off since late 2007. It's odd to read the post about the visit and see what didn't happen. I didn't do physical therapy; I didn't run on the weightless treadmill; and I didn't get any shots in my foot. I simply wore some insoles for a little while (that temporarily hurt the other foot) and the infamous plantar faciitis "slipper" on and off for a few months and that was it. That was all I needed to get through the summer. Fast forward a year later and I'm in a completely different state of mind. At the time of the doctor's visit, I privately considered giving up on long distances. I wouldn't have had a problem doing that -- I never ran any longer than 4 miles for the first two and a half years of running anyway. Now, I'm planning a schedule of races to do this year. I haven't done this in three years. I've focused on the big picture races and rest -- Shamrock, rest, Rock 'n' Roll Half, rest, repeat. Big picture is important -- I'm completely focused on the Richmond Marathon in November -- but it's the smaller picture races that will make the big picture even more rewarding.
I'm almost scared to put this out there, but it's part of my shell-breaking that I'm doing. Sure, some of these races might not happen for various reasons, but this is the plan through November in addition to what I've already done.
* May 8: Bella 5K Stroller Race in Roanoke This will be a first for me -- racing with my son. I've never done more than 2.6 miles with a stroller, so it'll be the longest distance with him. My main goal will be to finish without tripping over a baby or two ... I guess as far as time is concerned, I'm really just shooting for under 9-minute miles. While I can run any time with my son, I'm looking forward to the racing experience. That makes the entry fee worth it.
* June 5: Trail Nut Half Marathon in Bedford Another first -- an all-out trail race. I'm hoping to do more trail running this month beyond a mile or two to prepare for this. It will mark the third half marathon this year, all with increasing difficulty. From what I've heard about this race and what I know about these mostly single-track trails, I think two hours or so will be likely. I'm looking forward to doing something radically different so my focus isn't on a PR, but rather just having a good time.
* July 3: Academy Mile in Lynchburg There needs to be more mile races. It's been three years since I did a 6:26 in this race. I'll set my mind on this much later, but it would be awesome to be even faster. Maybe that weird goal of mine of running so hard I throw up will come true.
* July 17: Percival's Island 5-Miler in Lynchburg This is one of my most favorite races around this area. It's flat; it's fast. One of my best races ever came here in 2007, so I hope that I continue what's happened so far in 2010 and nail it again this year. This race will be a good test of where I am with my speed and endurance and can help set the tone for the three months of marathon training that will follow.
* Aug. 14: Lynchburg Half Marathon in Lynchburg Want to run a half marathon for $20? That's all this race is. It's also a very flat race, a rarity for this area. It's hard to believe that when this race gets here that this might be the fourth half marathon of the year. There's also a 5K that same day -- I might change my mind and do that as a speed workout instead. We'll see. No reason to rush on that decision.
* Sept. 25: Virginia 10 Miler in Lynchburg This is a wish-list race that is dependent on marathon training. This very tough race is only $30 through the end of August, so I'll decide by then whether or not this will happen. If you're looking for a challenge and can't afford some bigger-named fall half marathons, this is one to consider doing.
* Nov. 13: Richmond Marathon in Richmond Marathon No. 2 -- the big prize -- is 192 days away. The countdown is officially under way.