Tuesday, March 18, 2014

'Keep Trying New Things' and Have Fun

Wow, this was one of the hardest decisions as a runner, but I'm happy with my choice.

March 18 was the deadline to register for the TCS New York City Marathon if you have a guaranteed entry. I had one of those, as the result of a commitment in 2013 to run at least nine scored New York Road Runners races and volunteer for another (9+1 entry). Considering the incredible worldwide popularity of the NYC Marathon and its fantastic journey, I agonized over possibly yielding a hard-earned privilege.

In the end, I decided that I am going to run the Anthem Richmond Marathon on Nov. 15 instead.

Here is why I waived that entry, in case anyone is interested. I feel that many runners might relate.

1. I hear great things about "America's Friendliest Marathon"! As a family we are excited about this one. Lisa is going to run the 8K, Rachel is going to make her half-marathon debut, and I will run the full. We are looking forward to seeing historic Richmond along the James River. I like the course elevation. It looks like they had rain last year, but I've run a whole marathon in rain. VA is warmer than NY. Bring it on!

2. I am giving a spot to someone who has the NYC Marathon on her or his bucket list. I have run it three times, including last year. I don't see myself being a "streaker" at any marathon, especially that one. To me, NYC is magical, iconic scenes and 100 bands and millions of spectators, the whole deal. I want it to always be "special" when I run it. I love seeing the awe that is felt by those who run it for the first time, and maybe in a small way I am helping that one person somewhere in the world get a turn. The lottery is hard enough.

3. "If it's not fun, it's not worth it." Those words from Ryan Hall keep ringing in my ears. That is what his father used to always tell him, and that is what the great American runner told 11 of us during our post-shakeout-run brunch at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel in Santa Monica on the day before our March 9 ASICS LA Marathon (click that link for my recap). He said that is always how he operates. Find something fun. I am not saying NYC would not have been fun for me, but I want to experience new things and Richmond will be fun. Find your fun.

4. "There are reasons why you haven't accomplished certain things in your life. But sometimes the reason is that you simply haven't tried them yet." Derek Jeter said that in his biography, "The Life You Imagined." I believe you need to keep trying new things. It is that sense of discovery that gives purpose to your work.

5. I will get my 9+1 guaranteed entry during the course of this calendar year so that if I want to return to the NYC Marathon in November 2015, I can. My next NYRR race is the Scotland Run 10K on April 5 at Central Park, followed by the Brooklyn Half on May 17. That will get me up to four NYRR races so far this year, and I know I'll do a few leading up to October for training, going through my runs with a ton of NYC Marathon entrants including co-workers. No problem. I am a hardcore NYRR member and ambassador, because it was my outlet in December 2006 to quit smoking and start running. ASICS is a NYC Marathon sponsor and I am sure I will be reviewing ASICS gear for that race anyway!

6. Welcome to my year of economy running! My friends at ASICS were kind enough to sponsor my ASICS LA Marathon venture as part of the ASICS LA Marathon Blogger Challenge Team! Now I am going to tentatively run the New Jersey Marathon on April 27 (with my awesome friend Michele @nycrunningmama!), and that will be my 97th overall race, with Brooklyn making it 98. It's $120 for New Jersey (about average these days), and Richmond is just $80, compared to the $200s for NYC. Not the chief factor but I'll take it!

Keep on running!


Richard Mendez said...

Great insight, and you are 100% correct, all of us go through tough decision making when deciding our running schedule. Nice to see your evaluation with 2 amazing races coming up. Thanks.


Chad Aaron Sayban said...

Makes perfect sense to me. The most important part is that is makes sense to you and your family. Can't wait to hear about it.

Mark Newman said...

Thanks, Richard and Chad! That was a grueling one! The issue is that in my case I spent all year working on the all-important 9+1 qualifier for NYCM, and then finally the moment comes to exercise that option and this time it went right to the wire! I'll be back next year, probably :)