from mile to marathon

The journey of a thousand leagues begins from beneath your feet.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

training run

I knew, as soon as I made up my mind to do this 50, that I would run a couple of marathons as training runs. Given that I loath the training and only like the races, it was an unavoidable solution to the need to accrue more mileage. I also knew one of those training runs would be Duke City. I searched for a second one by date - I needed a race two weeks before Duke City, that is October 6th.

I aimed at Arizona, within driving distance, but the one I had in mind was sold out. October is a marathon-prone month with plenty of options, so I just kept looking. What caught my eye was Portland.

I heard a lot about the Portland marathon before I even ran my first, years ago - how it is both prestigious and walker-friendly, how the course is so very cool, how they give you two technical shirts and a rose at the finish and even a little tree seedling to grow and remember. I had put the race somewhere on my wish-list, not very high up, mainly because it's during the first weekend in October, when the balloon fiesta is going on, and I always volunteer at the fiesta.

This time I had already scheduled the balloon fiesta work for the second October weekend, so Portland looked suddenly attractive. Except that flying somewhere just to run in a circle is way too expensive. Then I figured out that I could get the plane tickets with mileage points, and Portland looked feasible too. I signed up among the last 100 people to do so before the race sold out, a bit of an impulse decision. Later it occurred to me it would have served me better to look for a trail marathon.

I kept my expectations low. Whenever I have made an extra effort to get to a marathon (Victoria and Berlin come to mind), the race was either brutal or anticlimactic.


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