As I continued to walk through the finisher area, I was thinking about how far I have come in running. When I completed my first half marathon (Mad City Madison (in Wisconsin) Marathon in late May of 2006), I was so thrilled just to finish. At that time I had started to run farther distances and wanted to see if I could run for 13.1 miles in a row without stopping. Looking back, my time was horrific, but I was so proud of it.
The following year (after my college graduation) I decided to sign up for the Madison half again, knowing I could do better. I had logged more miles in preparation for the race and knew I could PR. In that race, I broke the 2:00 mark, and was again happy with my performance. I was proud that I had made it down into the 1-hr. mark, which just sounds a lot better than 2-hours.
My first two half marathons are special. I signed up for them with my brother, who had excellent races at both, placing in the top 5 the first year and 8th (I think) the second year. I knew the course the second year and felt prepared. The entertainment was good, and the runners were friendly. The course was flat (in my opinion), something I love.
I then took a year off before signing up for the Wright-Patterson Air Force 1/2 Marathon in September of this year. I once again made improvements, running 1:50. I was proud, but knew I could do better. I started to train even harder although I did not have another race in mind. Then, I decided to complete the ORRRC 1/2 a couple days before it was scheduled and then the Flying Pig.
After finishing the Flying Pig, I felt good, but it was much different than before. It wasn't that I was not satisfied with my time, because I was. I PR'd, which is always good. I just feel like after completing 5 1/2 marathons, I am ready for a new challenge.
The past couple days I have been thinking about a marathon. I am done with grad. school now which will give me more time to do the things that I want to do. The Flying Pig marathon bag had many brochures for various marathons across the country. As I was flipping though these on the back to my house, I felt like I wanted to run one.
Although I think it funny to type this, a goal of mine is to run at least 10 half marathons and at least 1 full marathon by the time I am 30. I think the half marathons will not be too difficult to conquer, as I am already halfway there. Given the fact that I am in good shape right now, I think it only makes sense to start to accomplish the other part of that goal, completing the full marathon.
Any suggestions on a good marathon to sign up for? Or, which one are you competing in this fall? Let me know your advice!