When I impulsively signed up for the Madison half Marathon, I was thinking of it as an experiment. I ran a full marathon May 5th, and wanted to see how my legs would handle a half marathon 22 days later. The results would give me a better idea of what I can or can’t do this fall. This experiment ended up being a ton of fun, filled me with happy, and it caused a change of heart for potential fall race ideas.
First, let’s have a round of applause for the organizers of the Madison Marathon for being proactive about the heat that was expected on Sunday’s race. They sent out a mass e-mail early on in the week letting racers know that there was a possibility of canceling the full marathon due to heat. At first I was skeptical, one of those assholes who said, “I survived the heat in Chicago Marathon, blah, blah blah” But as the race got closer I realized that the heat was going to be serious, and saw some of my friends have their spring marathon canceled on them. Huge bummer, to go through the training, and have Mother Nature light a fire under the marathon’s ass. After the race, I heard marathoners say that they thought the cancelation was the right decision.
My experiment wasn’t about the heat though, it was about marathon recovery and strength to do another distance race so soon. Since the marathon, I had only run three times. It was refreshing to feel nervous about a half marathon.
My legs felt surprisingly great through the entire thing. I took it slow and comfortable, and started to walk through water stations starting at mile 6 to combat the increasing temperature. This was the first half marathon that I’ve ever done without my iPod too. I had a surprising amount of fun on the course, seeing friends running and spectating. Every time Mr. HappyPace saw me I was grinning from ear to ear, happy to be running!
The amount of fun I had seeing my out-of-town Twitter friends before, during and after the race made me really rethink my fall marathon considerations. I was toying with the idea of going back to Rails to Trails Marathon in November, which would be 8 weeks after my first 70.3. That was the experiment part of this half marathon; could my legs handle a relatively close back to back long distance race? I think yes.
Would it be fun?
Would I just be stressed out about the condition of my legs?
This steamy half marathon really has me thinking of skipping a fall marathon this year. What I learned is that I’m in half marathon shape, I can run one on a whim, have a lot of fun, and not be out of commission like a marathon leaves me. When I think about all the stress I go through to train for a full marathon, and then the disappointment I feel after, it just doesn’t make sense to go through that torture. This doesn’t mean that I’m never going to do a marathon again, it just means that I’m taking a break from the 26.2 demon.
Instead I’ll have some FUN with half marathons and triathlons. Do what’s fun, it is the point, right?
(Oh, and my mind is subject to change on this!)