I haven't really ran a proper race since high school track and cross country. I've run, quite a lot, but no race. That changes now.
This weekend, there are 3 races I'll be paying attention to. Two of them are 4 milers I'm doing back to back in central park. I'm doing them for the 9+1 to get into the NY Marathon for next year. Basically you can run 9 races in 2023 (and volunteer once) to get guaranteed entry into the NY marathon for 2024. The other way to get in is to be fast, win the lottery, or run for charity. I also found out this week they were holding a 'virtual' NY marathon this fall, that would also give entry to people who registered and ran 26.2 miles in a day. Much easier than 9 separate races, but I'm in too deep now.
Of course, those are really small potatoes compared to the real race I will be paying attention to this week: the Western States 100. Stretching 100 miles from Lake Tahoe to Auburn, this race is my white whale. I am determined to run it before I die. I'm actually more determined to run it before I turn 30. Maybe I'll even do a 100 mile race within the next 2-3 years, if everything goes according to plan.
I'm in the middle of figuring out a plan on how to achieve this right now. How does one run 100 miles over mountiaintops? I don't think anyone can achieve that feat by chance. More careful planning over months and years.
This is really just my guess, but I do suspect that someone who can run 26.2 miles is much closer to someone who can run 100 miles, than someone who doesn't run at all. This goes for both the physical and the psychological sense. So, for this purpose, the marathon next year is but a stepping stone on my path to longer and crazier goals.
November of 2024 seems very far away. I most certainly don't need that much time to prepare for a marathon. I could probably finish one today (though it wouldn't be pretty). I partially blame the 9+1, and I might do another marathon before that, if I can. But I really don't want to rush my mileage increase as I get closer to the prep needed for an ultra. If I have learned anything in the past year, it's that slow progress is actually much faster. Slow progress is also much more permanent. So I'm going to increase by 5% per week at the most, with a few anomalies here and there, and see how it goes.
Regardless to say, I am wishing everyone running the western states 100 a good race, and will be watching with bated breath. Whoever wins, it will be no accident.