Did I seriously just register myself for the Portland marathon on October 9th? And put my predicted time down as 3:35 (otherwise known as the new BQ time)?!

Yup – apparently I did. So much for my marathon hiatus…Then again, it will have been nearly a year since NYC, so that’s a pretty solid break!

It was very early this morning and I couldn’t sleep, so I turned on my computer and received the following information: there will be no more RRCA certification courses in 2011 (I had emailed the head of coaching at RRCA) and thus Portland is my best shot unless I want to wait until 2012; my cousins are coincidentally moving to Portland next week, so I now have family in Portland; and, someone I went to high school with will be running so I also know another marathon participant!

After coming up against so many obstacles in my various coaching and nutrition course searches, I finally felt like things were lining up. I’ve never been to Portland (but have always wanted to go), didn’t know anyone there (and now I do), wanted to do a coaching course around that time and also wanted to do a marathon in 2011. I couldn’t help but think that it would be foolish not to sign up for the course, and if I did the course it would be foolish NOT to do the marathon too. (Okay, that last part – a bit crazy – but kind of makes sense, no?)

Within the hour, I was suddenly registered for both a coaching course and a fall marathon! BOOM!

As for the 3:35 predicted time – that’s my next lofty marathon goal, as I have a feeling 3:39 will be too slow to get me into Boston 2012 this September. (I will know for sure on September 19th – fingers crossed!) I am certain that I have a 3:35 in my running future (perhaps even 3:30 in good conditions) if I put in the work, but I’m pretty sure I won’t have enough time to make it happen in Portland. Things like being a new Aunt, turning 30, sorting out my future etc are much higher on my list of priorities. But I figured, what the hell, may as well put it down anyway!

I’m self aware enough to know I’m far too competitive to let myself perform below my best, unless I specifically announce that I’m doing it on purpose (and even then it’s still hard to accept my sub-par time)! So it’s only natural that with this new opportunity coming up, I would want to improve my time. My recent laid-back races have been refreshing and fun, but I am starting to miss being in prime racing shape and going after a big goal. And reaching it. Best feeling ever. Highly addictive.

However, I’m trying my best to be realistic and accept that I can’t do everything I want to do at 100% effort all the time, as much as I often try. For instance, it dawned on me that my heaviest training week would line up exactly with the week leading up to my 30th birthday. I am swearing to myself that I will not let training interfere with my (most likely two-week long) festivities – my time may suffer as a result, but I only turn 30 once! Also, a couple weeks before that, I will be spending time with my sister and newborn niece – I’ll fit in as much training as I can, as I would normally do even without Portland in the calendar, but again, not the most important thing going on, obviously! At least I’ll have three weeks of tapering right after my birthday, so that should be doable.

I’m not sure how this training cycle will go, but I’m excited. This will be a valuable exercise in trying to attain some much-needed balance in my life as well as a great excuse to bump up my running fitness a few notches. I’m just going to keep reminding myself that if I don’t push myself as hard as possible for once, it won’t be the end of the world. Maybe if I say that enough times I will actually begin to believe it. 🙂

I’m a bit sad that E won’t be able to join me, and that Team Claire (my parents) won’t be able to come either, but that’s fine. I’ve had enough race experience to know the drill! Hopefully I’ll meet some interesting people in the course, in addition to connecting with my cousins and my high school friend, so that I can have some familiar faces around me after the race, at the very least. I would hate to run a marathon entirely on my own, without anyone to celebrate with/collapse on afterwards!

It’s now 9:30am on a Sunday – if you’re a fellow distance runner, then you know what that means – time for a long run! This will be my first official training run for Portland, so I guess it’s only fitting that it’s raining outside…