Wednesday, January 13, 2010

It Must Be the Endorphins

What else could it be? Or maybe I'm just teetering on the edge of insanity.

The Houston marathon/half-marathon is just 4 days away and all of my energy and positive thoughts should be channeling toward that event. I've been the healthiest I've been this close to this event in several years. A nagging and chronic foot injury had been plagueing me for 3 years, causing me to drop down to the half-marathon in 2006 and to miss it all together in 2007. It hobbled me in 2008 but was noticeably on the mend in 2009, although a really bad chest cold slowed me down anyway that year. A long rest after the 2009 event - no running, only cycling - seemed to do the trick and by Memorial Day weekend I was ready to start the long process of regaining stamina and endurance after such a long lay-off.

So the other day I was "surfing" the Runners World website after entering my day's run stats into their handy-dandy online training log when I noticed they were promoting their 2010 Marathon Challenge. I missed out on it last year due to the self-imposed long recovery layoff I wanted to give myself. But this year, maybe...

So I clicked on the link to see what marathons will be included in this year's challenge. The first one of the year will be the Flying Pig ( in Cincinnati in May. I've always wanted to do this marathon! Not only the name but the route has always intrigued me! Hmmm....that's 4 months after the Houston event, enough time to recover, then start ramping up the distances again before it gets too hot. Cincinnati is just a day and a half's drive away and I can make a long weekend out of it. Runner's World is offering lots of additional "swag" to those who enter the challenge, including a special event t-shirt, VIP areas before the start, training plans, advice from Bart Yasso, and the opportunity to meet the RW staff at the event.

Before I registered for this, though, I did a little background research to see if it would be feasible. I looked at hotel options within walking distance of the race start/finish. I looked at what restaurants were nearby within walking distance. I checked out parts of the route using Google maps street level and satellite views. The coolest part of this race is that within the first 3 miles it crosses two bridges over the Ohio River and near the end runs along the river for some of the route. I am so on this!

I booked a hotel room in downtown Cincinnati and went back to the Runners' World webpage and registered for the challenge. Excellent! It will give me a reason to keep my long-distance running schedule going (with all the perq's that come with it, like being back to weighing 108 lb and being able to eat cupcakes, ice cream, chocolate without guilt).

So then I turned my attention to the dilemma of when to fly back to Hawaii to visit my son and daughter-in-law. They're expecting their second child, a girl - and my second grandchild - in early April. I was just over there in late November-early December, and wasn't sure I wanted to return to Hawaii so soon. Part of my decision was made for me when they called to tell me that her parents would be visiting shortly after the baby came. Her aunt will be visiting later that month, as well, and my son's dad will be spending nearly the entire month of June with them. That's a lot of company in a short period of time, with a new baby in the house and all.

I decided that September would be a good time to visit. The month is wide open for me, as far as scheduling goes, and the rates might be lower, since kids will be back in school and all. I got on-line and looked at the possibility of getting a first-class ticket using my frequent flier miles. I was unsuccessful achieving this for my flight last November, succeeding only in getting a first-class upgrade to a paid-for ticket on the return flight. Keying in some dates, I couldn't believe my luck! I was able to book a full roundtrip first-class ticket using some of my accumulated miles and had 24 hours to change my mind and reschedule or cancel without penalty should I need to.

As I did when I visited in November/December, I checked the running race calendar to see if there would be any races on the island that I could enter while there. Maybe a 10k or longer race, since I'd be in training at that point for the Houston. Nothing of interest came up on the search results for Oahu, but what's this? The Maui Marathon and Half Marathon would be held in Kaanapali on the weekend that I'll be in Hawaii. Maui is a 30 minute flight from Oahu. It would be 4 months after the Flying Pig and 4 months before the Houston race, nearly perfect! Hmm...

So, call me crazy...I went ahead and registered for the Maui half-marathon and made a hotel reservation in Kaanapali just to be sure. The room can always be cancelled. But I'm hoping this works out that everyone can come with me, or at least daughter-in-law and the kids. We'll see...

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