Which brings me to spring......after speaking with Coach Jeff, I've decided that my spring goal race will be a half marathon. I do enjoy the journey of training for a full marathon but I feel like I need a break. Life got in the way A LOT while training for Marine Corps this year and it showed in my result. Work and my outside life are very hectic and training for a full marathon in 2013 is not going to work for me. Sam recently wrote about feeling like a failure for wanting to take a break from marathoning. Running marathons should not be the be all and end all definition of "being a runner." There are many successful runners that have never run a 26.2 mile road race in their careers. After Marine Corps 2012, I also feel like I have unfinished business with the distance. I was somewhat embarrassed with my 4:18:XX and was ready to sign up for a spring full (Poconos or NJ). Being the analytical person that I am, I quickly realized that, with everything going on in my life in 2013, putting in the work for a half marathon goal race is a more realistic goal.
Now for the important question: Which race should I run? A few come to mind:
- E. Murray Todd Half Marathon, March 3, 2013 - the one time I tried to run this race, it cancelled due to snow. I know nothing about the race experience or the course. It looks like a small race in Monmouth County, NJ. It's affordable at $30 and a little over an hour's drive from Teaneck.
- Unite Half Marathon at Rutgers University, April 21, 2013 - another race I've never run. I've mixed reviews about the race. Some really liked the the experience but others found the course crowded and difficult to race.At $80 (through 12/31 then it goes up to $90) it's on the pricier side. There's also no race day bib pickup
- Long Branch Half Marathon, May 5, 2013 - A big part of me likes the idea of running on the NJ Shore a few months after Superstorm Sandy decimated the shore. In fact, the race's theme for 2013 is "Restore the Shore." The race organizers will be giving a portion of the proceeds to restore the Jersey shore. There are 3 things holding me back: the start time and the price tag. The race starts at 7:00am which means I would have to leave my house in Teaneck at WickedEarly O'Clock or take a hotel room for the weekend. I really have to watch the budget this year because of the Bat Mitzvah so I'm not crazy about taking a hotel room. At $80 (until 12/31 at which point it goes up to $90), the price is a lot more than I want to spend to race a half marathon. I know that some of my fee will go to good causes, never the less it's still a lot of money. There is no race day pickup.
- Long Island Half Marathon, May 5, 2013 - I ran this race in 2011 and PRed with a 1:39:29. The course was flat but was not very interesting. The race starts at 8:00am which means I could leave at Early O'Clock and not WickedEarly O'Clock. At $45 it's definitely more affordable than #1. Like, #s 1 - 3 there's no race day bib pickup.
- Escape to the Palisades Half Marathon, May 5, 2013 - I ran the inaugural race last year and had a great experience. I know the course well as I run there quite frequently. It's also the closest to home, and at $25 (through 1/31/13) also the most affordable. The course is very scenic but very hilly. I ran a good race there last year but the hills beat me. I'm sure the 2nd edition will be just as good but I don't think it's a PRable course, even if I train there every Sunday til race day.
- no Saturday races - I don't roll on Shabbos.
- No NYRR races - their races are too big and don't really feel like supporting them after their mishandling of the 2012 New York City Marathon.
- less than a 90 minute drive from Teaneck.
- affordable race fee
- swag is nice but I don't need a medal or a cotton shirt. Tech shirts are always useful and will be worn during training or other races.
- race day bib pickup is preferable