Happy Monday everyone! I’m feeling a bit groggy today, but at least my extended hangover from this past week has finally worn off. It’s time to get back to business, with final exams around the corner!

Somehow everything converged on last week after my exam on Monday – every day had at least one or two things planned, whether it was just brunch/dinner, a high school get together, a department reception, a bachelorette party…yes, I am aware that this is called having a normal, healthy SOCIAL LIFE but after so many weeks of hibernation with my books it was very refreshing. And a bit intense…I really don’t drink much anymore, so one drink pretty much does the job for me these days!

As a result, I didn’t have a very productive weekend in terms of school work, but I did manage to finally add a few races to the calendar. (Cut to me, tipsy, entering random races in the middle of the night – “Oh yes this will be FUN!”). Now that my coaching dates have been determined and my class schedule is set, I have a better sense of what races I am able to do. Before this weekend, I was only entered into the Brooklyn Half (in which I’m pacing E), the NYRR women’s mini 10k and the Chicago Marathon. So, my first goal was to plan two training half marathons to prep for Chicago – ideally I would race in mid/late July to see where I stand, but I couldn’t find anything I liked around then. So I plan to enter the Bronx Half Marathon on August 12th. I know it will be hot and I think the course is hilly, so I am not expecting a fast time, but I am expecting a hard effort.

I usually like to race a second half marathon about 4-5 weeks before race day to finalize my marathon race pace. However, I’m struggling to find a local race on the weekend of September 8th – the only one I can find that looks good is the Chicago Half Marathon on September 9th, which obviously is not local at all. I’m dying to enter but it seems so indulgent (and not at all within my budget) to fly to Chicago twice. But how perfect a training tool would it be to race a half right near where I’ll be running the marathon?! So tempted…but still on the hunt for something a bit more reasonable. Any ideas, please send them my way!

I also like to mix up my training by running one or two of my long runs in races – kind of like the Jog Shop Jog 20 miler I ran in the South Downs before the 2010 NYC marathon. It was a killer trail race and a great way to squeeze in my last long run and practice my race-day nutrition. I plan to do the NYRR long training run #1 (20M) on July 28th – I need a road race atmosphere to supplement my other long runs, most of which I’ll be doing by myself on Friday mornings.

I also finally entered another trail race! E and I were trying to figure out where to go on vacation in August, and we were contemplating Colorado (I’ve always wanted to go there). When a friend recommended a perfectly timed 15M trail race in Steamboat Springs, that sealed the deal! We have both entered Steamboat and are in the process of getting some running friends together to join us. It will be like a TNF Endurance Challenge San Francisco reunion! The course looks TOUGH – the first 3M are straight uphill, not to mention the fact that we’re not used to running at altitude (hopefully arriving three days before will help…). I’m supposed to run 20M that day and am using the race as a more exciting way to get the miles in (i.e. no time pressure), but I’m guessing I might be walking quite a bit on that course. Thankfully, as one of my Colorado friends said after a recent trail race, walking on a trail is known as hiking – so it will be a fun trail run/hike!

Last but certainly not least, this morning in my post-weekend haze, I “accidentally” entered the ING NYC Marathon lottery. I had promised myself I wouldn’t and held out all this time the lottery was open – it’s a month after Chicago, it’s money I shouldn’t be spending if I’m lucky enough to get in and I’m more focused on coaching for that race this year, but with all those “last day to enter” tweets and facebook messages I couldn’t help myself. Suddenly my hands were typing and entering info and I was entered – oops! Of course, I also roped E in too.

If I do get in, it will be a fun run. After the 2010 race, I really wanted to enter one year and run without any pressure, with a camera, interacting with everyone and just enjoying myself – so maybe 2012 will be that year!

Good luck to all 2012 ING NYC Marathon hopefuls – I believe we find out later this week. And congrats to the London Marathon finishers – yet another race on my list. Maybe I’ll enter that lottery too…it does open on April 30th…