Wednesday, June 22, 2005


The time for looking back has passed, and the time to look ahead is at hand. Forwards, I say, and onward.

First things first, the blog isn't going anywhere, so get back off of that ledge. Writing here is too much fun, and anyway, there will be a 26.2 miles vs. Naomi 2: The Rematch (working title; may change. Actually, I've been trying to come up with a play on my favorite series progression of all time: Die Hard; Die Harder; Die Hardest; Please Stop Breathing Already; You Win, I'll Die, to no avail. The best I can come up with is: 26.2 Miles vs. Naomi: With a Vengeance...) Anyway, I'm sure you'll all want to reserve front row seats for that match-up.

However. There will be a brief hiatus for the month of July, because I’m going on vacation (yay!). I’m heading to Botswana for three weeks of volunteering in a national park, where I will be living in a tent and performing some vague, as-yet-unspecified park maintenance-type (“environmental”) work with a group of like-minded (read: crazy) people. Botswana, for those who are curious, is a tiny land-locked country just north of South Africa. It’s the one of the richest countries in Sub-Saharan Africa (per capita), a combination of a small population, lots of shiny, shiny diamonds, and a democratically-elected government that sees it’s role as serving its people. It is still a third-world country, and faces many of the same problems other southern African countries do, including the world’s highest per capita AIDS infection rate (very depressing), but on the whole, from what I hear, it’s a terribly charming place to visit. Plus, it has extensive national parks, with some of the coolest wildlife in the world, including elephants and giraffes and lions and zebras and did I mention elephants? Because I lurrrrrve elephants.

So, in case you can’t tell, I’m totally excited about that (though very naively so, in as much as people tell me that the real thing is somewhat different from recent DreamWorks feature Madagascar, which I understand involves far more choreographed dance numbers than one finds in the wild.)

But, my tent is unlikely to include wireless internet, so I will be Cut. Off. Terrifying.

I will be bringing my running shoes, though, and I hope to have some interesting stories to share when I get back. So, umm, please come back and read this when I get back. I’ll bake cookies!

Now, I have a very important question.

There’s a chance that I can wrangle myself a number for the New York Marathon (I have mad connections, yo).

I know that the smart thing to do would be to take some time, run some shorter races, and get myself into really, really, really good shape before starting training for this rematch. I do NOT want to set myself up for a painful repeat of Anchorage. And really, aside from the fact that I have the patience of a goldfish, there’s no hurry.

Except, there’s a chance that when I get back from Africa, I’m going to decide to do something ridiculous like join the Peace Corps or join the staff of some English language newspaper in Djibouti. And that would totally put the brakes on my budding career as a world class gymnast an amateur runner. I mean, I hear they have some decent runners in Africa (wasn’t there a famous Kenyan once?**), but I think my focus will be slightly shifted if/when I move abroad.

So my question is this: is the NYC marathon in November too soon? Especially considering that I won’t be able to really start training until I get back in August. And who knows how much I’ll have been able to run in Botswana.

I think I know the answer to my question, but if you want to give me the answer I want, please feel free to leave it in the comments. Because I really, really wanna run the NY marathon. My family lives there!

In summary: I’ll be around for the next two weeks, and will hopefully get in a run or two before I head Africa-ward, and then when I get back it will be hardcore training for the VA Beach Half Marathon.

So stay tuned for more pain and misery. Or wait, I mean inspirational messages of love and joy. I can fly higher than an eagle. Something like that.

** Just to clarify, since often I really am this clueless: this is me making a joke. It’s funny. Laugh. Thank you.


Anonymous ksledge said...

november seems like far away until you realize that you won't be able to train until August...I guess that is pretty soon. This time around you were training for a lot longer, right?

On the other hand, aren't you already trained up, basically? Won't training the 2nd time be a ton easier?

Back to the first hand, I'd think you'd be really busy with work if you took a big trip, so would you really have time to be training so hard in August and September? Oh wait, I just forgot about the month of October. Y'know, I bet you do have time afterall. Plus, if you don't keep racing/running you run the risk of randomly quitting altogether, and potentially losing ground on all of the health improvements you've made this year. Brad told me that sometimes happens to people who run marathons, so I'm really glad you're even considering doing another one so soon.

So, yeah, there are pros and cons, but I know you and you're a go-getter and that you can do this race. Just be careful, like you said, not to injure yourself. It could actually go a lot worse than a repeat of Anchorage, frankly, so you don't want to push it. Be ready to back out if it seems like the wrong thing.

5:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, including this week (which is half gone) NYCM is 20 weeks away (yes, I'm entered and yes, I checked my spreadsheet). That's a lot of time, but not so much if you're planning on losing 3 out of the next 5 weeks.

Check out for some insights on multiple marathons in a year. Despite the troubles you had in Alaska you have a good base. If you maintain fitness while in Africa and take a methodical approach once you return I'll bet you can do it.

Travel safely.

Shaker Heights, OH

6:23 PM  
Blogger Scooter said...

New York is close, but I think you can finish OK and out up a new PR, even with the vacation. I get the feeling you'll be getting called on to do physical work. Be sure everyone knows you're a runner (and if conditions permit - like you won't wind up as lion food - let them use that talent - "put me off here, I'll run out and get it and meet you a km up the road"). The physical work will keep you from losing a lot of fitness, but getting some running in will help. This marathon was a learning experience. These lessons will let you be much smarter next time. My first was a 4:01, after crossing mile 23 in about 3:00 (can you say "the wheels fell off"?), then 3 years later, on virtually no training, I put up a very comfortable 4:33. No PR, but w/o training, what do you want? If you train reasonably, that PR is yours! Go for it, and if NY falls through, go to Philly 3 weeks later.

10:47 AM  
Blogger jeanne said...

It IS close, but not that close. Five months. I have my own reasons for wanting you to go for it. Mainly, so you will keep blogging about running. And, please, consider the source here, when weighing this opinion.

But really, what's the worst--absolutely worst--thing that could happen if you went for it?

I don't see the downside. This from someone terrified of a 12-miler on Saturday.

11:17 AM  
Blogger Irene said...

Girl, You have energy! Africa? NY marathon? Why not? I'm still trying to muster up the speed to do a 5k in a couple of weeks... It's been hard to switch from LSD runs, to speedy 3 or 4 milers... If anyone could do the NY marathon, it would be you!

4:29 PM  
Blogger Denise said...

I've got a four month training program I can send you, if you'd like. It was published in a real, serious running book, so you know it's do-able. I'll be here to read no matter what you decide! :)

7:17 PM  
Blogger Sarah said...

Sounds like you have tons of exciting things planned in the coming months! We'll miss you while you're away, but we won't forget you :-)

Sorry, but I don't have any experience/advice regarding the NYCM...just make sure you listen to your body and don't push it too much :-)

8:53 PM  
Anonymous BD said...

I'm no expert so take these thoughts with a grain of salt.

Having some time off in July can do you some good as long as you can maintain some base level of running fitness. You are supposed to "reverse taper" when coming off a marathon anyway so you won't lose a lot of training time.

I think you can do the NYC marathon without much trouble if you can keep running the occasional longer run (6+ miles) after you have given your body full time to recover. This assumes, of course, that you don't have any injuries that crop up.

To avoid a repeat experience I would like to suggest several things:
(1) focus on running a negative split (start slower and end faster)
(2) run the race at or below your lactate threshold
(3) work on your form (it seems like something may be amiss given your description of your shoe wear and the various bits of pain from the back and knees and whatnot)

1:24 AM  
Blogger Silvia said...

It's all doable girl! Considering I accidentally ran two marathons in like under a month - just keep up the long runs and you should be good.

And heck Botswana!! that's so totally cool. You really will avoid post-marathon depression for sure... you know getting on band wagon for another adventure like that! Way to go.

11:09 PM  

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