NYC – 243 Days

Mar 5 · 2018 // Life / NYC 2018 / Running

On Wednesday I was accepted in the lottery for the 2018 New York City Marathon. One of 15,640 people selected from 105,184 entrants. It would seem I’ve found where my luck lies. In 2014 I was accepted in the Berlin Marathon lottery on my first try, and this was only my second attempt at the NYC lottery. Having established my luck, what now?

First, I want to renew my efforts at writing about my experience planning, and training for, the upcoming race, currently 243 days away. I rebuilt this site in 2011 with the express purpose of writing about my training for the Four Bridges Half Marathon. That process, and the race, were an act of catharsis for me, for more so than I had ever expected. I want to believe that I’ve resolved much of those issues in the years since, but some will be hard to avoid. After all, the NYC marathon will take place on what would have been my father’s 64th birthday. Circles and circles. Beyond catharsis, writing is a creative practice that I find challenging, and helps expand and refine what training for and running a marathon can mean.

Second, it will be time to get in shape. A 16 week training plan won’t begin until sometime in July. The last couple of months I’ve struggled to run consistently, a struggle that goes back six months or more. Neck injury. Winter. Holidays. I let my habits slip. I’ve suffered for it, in lost fitness, and more importantly through more erratic emotional states. But, I made it through the holidays, spring is near, and I have a race to think about. Now is the time to rebuild my running base. From six to 20 miles per week that I’ve been bouncing between, I have a little short of four months to get back in the habit of running 25 to 30 miles per week consistently.

Then it’s time to research and select a training plan. For the last few races I’ve followed a Garmin plan because it was the easiest to set up. Log in, send the schedule to my calendar, download the workouts to my watch. Follow through. The results have been mixed. I ran my PR in Chattanooga using the plan, but then tanked in Memphis using the same plan. Maybe it’s worth giving it another go, but I have the next few months to decide. And perhaps it might be time to give up the goal of training myself to a sub four finish time. Not that I can consider myself truly training myself considering that amount of advice and feedback from friends that I’ve received over the last few years. The training plans I’ve used were generic, off the shelf plans. I haven’t used a coach, or a tailored plan, and maybe it’s worth considering. I wonder if I’ve pushed myself as hard as I could, or performed a bit short of my capability.

My perspective, or mindset, has been a serious consideration lately. And with 243 days until this marathon, I have a lot of running to do, which will give me a lot of time to think. Though it’s hard to think of the date with complete objectivity, I want to believe that this race is my race. One for me to explore my limits, my goals. I’m curious to see what this one teaches me.