If you’ve ever been to dinner party at the Lams, you’d know that we like to separate our guests into two tables – a big table where the adults sit with their beer and wine, and a smaller table for the youngsters with their cokes and iPods. As one of the ‘tweeners in our extended family, I often have to make a tough decision as to which table I should grace with my presence. Although I ultimately almost always side with the younger crowd (because honestly, there’s only so much news, politics, and economics I can stand in one sitting), I often wonder whether I would ever feel welcomed at the big table and if I’d ever fit in.
In much the same way, I’m feeling a bit lame right now, getting my clothes, my shoes and my gear ready for the trip to Philly. This weekend, so many of my friends are either running the 60K race in Central Park or the marathon in Philly that traveling so far and getting so excited to run a measely half marathon feels a lot like sitting in the kiddie table for dinner to me. Never mind that I have no desire whatsoever to be an ultra distance runner or to kill myself in another marathon so soon after NYCM, I still feel somewhat inadequate racing that distance while so many I know are running for so much longer. Am I being crazy or is everyone else somewhat nuts (especially the ones who are doing NYC and Philly back-to-back)? I just can’t decide.
On the one hand, I salute everything they are doing and admire them for their persistence and passion for running, but on the other hand, I feel as if I’m doing just as good and will be running just as hard in my half marathon too. So why do I feel as if I don’t deserve the same level of respect for my PR attempt at the half as others do in their full marathons? Is this an example of the runner brain going haywire on me or is there some truth to this accusation?
To be completely honest, I actually think the half marathon may be the ideal race distance for me. On the one hand, it is still an endurance test, which I love, but on the other hand, you still get to run tempo pace or faster for much of the race without having to worry about bonking or hitting the wall at some point later on. Half marathons are also so much simpler to run and train for than their older brother counterparts that may require 4 or 5 months of rigorous preparation. I often feel fine enough to run the day after racing a half-marathon, while just walking to the subway the day after running a full qualifies as a Herculean feat. There is also no tapering required leading up to a half marathon while the tapering crazies in the last week before marathon day can sometimes be the toughest part of the race to deal with.
Looking back at all my races in 2009, I can’t believe this will be my 8th 13.1 mile adventure of the year. In all the previous years combined, I’ve ran a total of 9 (and never more than 3 in one year), so I'm thinking this running year will be remembered more for the half marathons that I crushed (PR’d in 2) then for the marathons I didn’t (O PR’s this year).
What a perfect way to celebrate my best half-marathon year of all time than by running the last one for a PR! Yes, Philly I am ready for you! You and your marathon cronies who will inevitably look down on me with disdain better watch out, ‘cause me and my little table of half-marathoners are coming down to represent. Game on folks! Let’s get ready to rock this town!
(As an aside, please don’t get offended if you’re a marathoner or a 60Ker this weekend. You guys all still rock in my book…Congrats to everyone out there who are racing! Let the games begin!)