Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Run Now, Race Later

It's nearly summer in North Carolina, which means things are about to get h.o.t. I'm no stranger to this kind of weather - seven years in East Texas taught me to appreciate 100+ temperatures and swampy humidity. I hate being cold more than anything (I don't even put ice in my drinks!), and I actually enjoy feeling like the air is giving me a big, sweaty hug every time I step outside.

That said, the one thing I don't like doing when it's really hot? Running. I'm sure I don't have to explain why, but suffice to say that as the temperatures rise, my pace goes down... and down... and down. I still run in the summer, but I do it as early as possible, and it takes me nearly twice as long. Speed work? Tempo runs? Ha! I'm lucky if I make it home in time for lunch.

Thus, I usually back off from running during the summer and focus instead on cross training - yoga and kettlebell, maybe dust off my bicycle, and as many afternoons swimming in the ocean as possible (it's still a workout, even if you're drinking beers in between dips). It's a pretty good system, especially since a break from intense running makes me all the more eager to start logging lots of miles come fall. 

So that's what I'm doing this summer. My loose goal is to run three times a week, 3-7 miles at a time. Yoga three times a week. Kettlebell twice a week. Sometimes I'll do less yoga and more strength training. Sometimes all my runs will be three miles long and it will take me six hours to stop sweating from them. Mostly my goal is to keep moving, stay in shape, and have fun, which is the best and most balanced fitness plan, especially for a summer at the beach.

One of the reasons I want to stay in shape this summer (besides the fact that I will be in a bathing suit 50% of the time) is because I have my eyes on a few races for late 2013 and 2014. I'd like to take another stab at the Battleship Half Marathon this November. I won't be gunning for a PR - I had a hard time on the course last year and the pressure of a PR + bad memories seems like a terrible combination. Instead, I'll try to set a new PR at the Wrightsville Beach Half Marathon in March 2014 - I also ran that race this past year, and had a great time and a great race. I'm sure that with the right training, I can set a new record. 

And then I'm thinking, maybe that fall, I'll finally be ready to tackle a full 26.2 again. I decided against marathon training while I was in grad school, because I didn't have the mental fortitude or the focus or the energy to do both those things at once. But I graduate next May, most of my friends will leave Wilmington, I probably won't find a job right away, and marathon training is really good at filling a variety of voids. (I initially started running because my roller derby league broke up, and I needed a new distraction, so this is a proven theory.) There are a few fall cool marathons near North Carolina - I'm thinking about Savannah (neat city that I've been wanting to visit), Richmond (billed as America's friendliest marathon), and New York City (we'd have to enter the lottery, of course, but that race is on my bucket list so I should probably start trying to get in now).

Potential marathon training is still 18 months away at this point, so this is all speculation, and it will remain speculation for another year. For now, I'm looking forward to sweating my way through the summer, and rewarding myself with many trips to the beach.

How do you train in the summer? Do you have any races on your bucket list? Most importantly, what is your favorite beer to drink at the beach? Shiner's Ruby Redbird is the best summer beer - Texas represent!