Why Run Vermont
|February 5, 2013||Posted by Emily under Uncategorized|
Per usual, the selection process for my spring goal marathon was an involved one. Marathon guides were consulted, calendars were studied, and family and friends were subjected to in-depth conversations about elevation profiles and average annual temperatures (“conversation” being a generous description given the one-sided nature of these talks).
In the end, Vermont City Marathon was the indisputable favorite. For many, many reasons:
1) Timing is everything.
A few things on the whole timing front. First and foremost, I’m recovered from my rib injury in time to give myself16 weeks to train (a critical component of my “Stop Training Like an Idiot” marathon plan). I seem to have contracted a mild case of the plague over the weekend, but as long as that goes away quickly, we should be right on track for a full training cycle of running hard to set me up to go after a marathon PR on Memorial Day weekend.
Second, and of near equal importance, the marathon is 6 days before what will undoubtedly be one of the biggest and best days of 2013.
Arshad, one of my best friends, will be walking down the aisle (or, knowing him, skipping, prancing, or bounding down the aisle) to marry an extraordinarily fabulous guy.
I am honored to be in the bridal party (groomal squared party?) and have no desire to spend the wedding weekend worrying about how to fit in my long run or if my heels will make my calves too tight for my next workout. Arshad is known, not just in Vermont, but around the country, for his unparalleled ability to throw a good party. Proof: his residences usually come equipped with a fully functioning bar, appropriately called Barshad, and routinely hydrate the masses of the greater Northeast region.
When he was in town last month, he convinced me to abandon all workout plans for two days straight to go bridesmaid dress shopping and bottomless brunching, I can only imagine the unhealthy temptations that will surround his wedding.
Not shit I want to deal with during marathon training, but the perfect situation for zero week following a goal race.
Bonus: I will be making him cheer me on as a break from wedding planning. I have high hopes for his cheerleading potential given his performance last year and his realization that the “hottest marathoners finish around 3 hours.”
2) Home Field Advantage.
I know every inch of this course. Every turn. Every incline, big and small. Every slight descent. Every pothole. Every change in surface. Nearly every mile of training for my first four marathons was run on this course and I’ve “raced” VCM every year since 2009. I know where to expect crowds of runners and where to look forward to kids doling out freezer pops. Forget PEDs, my performance enhancer comes straight from the freezer in 8 delicious flavors.
I’ll have friends running, friends cheering, family racing, family cheering. It’ll be like when the Giants head to the Super Bowl in 2014 and it’s held at MetLife Stadium. Unstoppable home field advantage.
3) Sentimental Value.
If you’ve been reading this blog for a while you know the story: girl has mom, well, I guess actually it’s the other way around, mom has girl, mom raises girl (and boy) on field trips to McDonalds and the local bakery, mom has health problems directly related to her weight, mom changes life around to lose weight and get fit, starts walking, then walking 5ks, then running, then runs a marathon (VERMONT CITY MARATHON) to celebrate turning 50 with girl cheering her on and crying her eyes out at the finish line, girl obviously gets hugely inspired and launches unbreakable addiction to marathoning.
So yeah, there’s that.
It’s also the finish line where I started to harbor my ironman dreams.
And we all know where that led.
Straight to triathlon retirement. Talk about sentimental and inspirational.
4) Sub-X Success.
VCM made sub-4 happen in 2009.
And obviously that had everything to do with the magic of the race and nothing to do with my physical preparedness. So sign me up for more.
5) Course Perfection.
This is the definition of a Sweaty-Approved course profile.
Slight elevation changes, a couple of hills, and a fast finish.
Add spectacular views, hoards of very enthusiastic (and very loud) spectators, and amazing local bands to power you through 26.2 miles with some extra pep in your step and you’ve got serious PR material here.
6) Undeniable Chemistry.
To me, goal race selection is a lot like dating. You have very specific qualities you’re looking for in a match. Sometimes these qualities are not so different between races and potential dates. For instance, I like both my men and my goal races to be fast. And sometimes, candidates for either can be good on paper but something just doesn’t click. Other times, you just know. Butterflies, zsa zsa zsu, fireworks, all that good stuff.
That’s how it is for me and VCM. Other events may fit all of the criteria that I want in a goal race, but they just can’t hold a candle to the level of excitement that I feel when I picture myself on the start line in Burlington. Butterflies, serious, serious, butterflies.
7) We’ve got History.
I grew up cheering random strangers on from the sidelines well before I was familiar with the sport, let alone hopelessly addicted.
And every year since 2009, I’ve joined the crowds of runners to actually race the course myself.
Only I haven’t actually race-raced it since that sub-4 finish in 2009. I run it. For fun and with friends or family. And every year, I pledge to make it my goal race in the very, very near future.
And this year, it’s finally time to Run Vermont
and make that happen.
Let’s chat: what is it YOU look for in a goal race? Chemistry? Proximity? Good SWAG? Plentiful finish line beer that is not Michelob Ultra?