Now that I'm in the midst of an 18 week training program (PDF) to prepare for a marathon, I basically consider my running year over. I mean, I have a half marathon (please donate to my cause -- soon!) and a 10 miler upcoming in terms of races, but everything I'm doing now -- including those other two races -- is preparation for the "big race" day in early December.
In my mind it's ok to start thinking about what I want to do in terms of running in 2010.
Next year is a big one for me. I turn 40, and therefore trip over into a new age group, even if it is just as competitive as the one I'm in now. So I'm wondering where I want to focus my running.
Two things are certain. I'm running the Cherry Blossom 10 Mile Run in Washington, D.C. in April (provided I can register fast enough), the Frederick half marathon in early May and the Survivor Harbor 7 (miler) in June. Everything else is up in the air, but I think I'm going to skip multiple half marathons and probably skip running a marathon too.
I really enjoy getting up and going out and just running however far feels good that day. Usually that's between 4-7 miles. I also like the idea of running more 5Ks next year. 5Ks are great, and no matter how tough they may be you generally only have to suffer through them for about 25 minutes and then you can go about your day with a well deserved sense of accomplishment. I also would like to run some 5 mile and 10K races. For distances like that I am perpetually in shape. Marathons and such are life altering during training.
There's a real challenge in pushing your body to run 13.1 or 26.2 miles, especially when you were 37 before you even thought to try. But to me there's also a challenge in seeing how fast you can push your body. So the question is do I want to make next year the year I push myself far or the year I push myself fast. At this point all signs say I want to go fast.
But that's today. Tomorrow I'll probably want to run a marathon a month. Such is the indecisive middle age crisis-er.