Thursday, January 3, 2008

My 2008 Distance Running Calendar

Friday is exactly two months since I danced across the finish line of the ING New York City Marathon, my first 26.2 miler. This is a good time for me to put together a 2008 calendar of my expected long runs, starting at the scene of the crime: Central Park on Jan. 27 for the first of five Half-Marathons in the New York Road Runners' Grand Prix series in each NYC borough.

One of the things I like best about being part of the Big Cats running group is seeing how so many veteran runners (I'm just a sophomore trying to have a healthy year!) schedule an event calendar way out. So here we go. This is a work in progress, and obviously I will be updating it like many of you do.

The St. Louis Marathon is on April 6 and will mark my second 26.2 voyage. There were others I wanted to run, including Napa Valley a month earlier, but this will be a way to see my boys and run a marathon at the same time. It will allow me to get my MLB work done for Opening Day and get the season going.

I don't have the NYRR calendar for March and beyond yet, but I can already see that I probably will have to scratch an event from this list. The Brooklyn Half was early last April, and if it's early in the month again, it will conflict with STL and I won't be able to run that. So probably scratch that Half from my list. I ran the Oklahoma City Half at the end of last April, and probably will find another late-April half if I don't run that one again.

I know of one other marathon for sure, and that is Nov. 2 in New York City. I will be totally driven in 2008 to obliterate the 6:08 time that I graciously accepted in my maiden and injury-plagued marathon in that event two months ago.

Last July, I started my own tradition by running 15 miles on a course that crossed the Golden Gate Bridge, the day after we worked the MLB All-Star Game at nearby AT&T Park in San Francisco. I made that run with our Detroit Tigers correspondent. I'll find out who's going to be part of our working crew for the 76th All-Star Game on July 15 at Yankee Stadium, and then the following day I'll host a Half-Marathon at Central Park for those who like to run.

August is another likely conflict. I will be in Beijing from opening to closing ceremonies for the 2008 Summer Olympics, as part of the USA baseball contingent. (Go us.) So that Nike Half through Times Square most likely is out, assuming they hold it again. I will be very happy to be an observer at the ultimate marathon: The Olympic Men's and Women's Marathons. I will do some kind of long run there, perhaps on the Great Wall since I miss the Great Wall Marathon by only a few months.

In addition to all of these long-distance events, I will again mix in lots and lots of other New York Road Runners events, 5Ks, 10Ks, 4-milers, 10-milers, etc. I will run a total of at least 25 overall events in 2008.

One event I definitely am looking forward to is the Big Cats Year-End Challenge, on Dec. 27 in the Huntington Beach, Calif., area -- staged by the leaders of the Big Cats running group to which I belong on myspace. I won't know for sure until the second half of the year, but that's a date I have circled, and if I go, I'll at least do the marathon...and maybe even try an ultra (31 miles+). I just need to learn how to really be a marathoner at this point. And most of all: Keep My Body Strong All Year Long!!! If any medical expert tells me to take off two weeks again, I will give him or her the...

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