Hours after finishing the Smuttynose Rockfest Marathon, a good friend told me in a Facebook message, "It's so amazing that you continue to set new goals."
She's exactly right. After a week and a half of relaxing, catching up on the DVR and yard work, and not doing load after load of laundry, I'm ready to get back at it.
So what is next? In a week and a half I run the Ashland Half Marathon. It's nearby, it's inexpensive and it starts at the original Boston Marathon start (before it moved west a bit to Hopkinton). I wanted to run the inaugural race last year, but it fell one week before my marathon, so I passed. The timing's better this year, and I managed to recruit a couple friends to boot.
Beyond that, I'm not sure. I like running Turkey Trots, but this year, I'm traveling. (This also rules out participating in the Runner's World Run Streak, though I plan to tackle the Runner's World Pun Streak.) I may tackle a couple wintry 5Ks with some friends or maybe do my first New Year's Day race, if I can find one. I'd love to set an "adult" PR in a 5K -- that is, a post college PR, since a sub-18 minute 5K is just about out of the question -- but I don't think I'm going to set a real goal.
Looking further, I think I found my 10th marathon: Maine Coast, on Mother's Day weekend. I needed something early in the season, since I have at least four weddings this spring, and also one nearby, since I have at least four weddings this spring. I'd love to PR in this marathon -- I came within 18-odd seconds of one at Smuttynose, and I know what I need to do differently -- and that sounds like a pretty good goal to me.
I'm also pumped for the Runner's World Heartbreak Hill Half in June. I've trained on Heartbreak Hill many times -- starting with a hill workout as a high school freshman -- and love running in the surrounding area. (Plus, now the Runner's World editors can meet the guy who bugs them on Twitter.) The half is also accompanied by a 5K and 10K. I've never done more than one race in one weekend, so doing three (in this case, the Hat Trick) will be a reward worth the effort. Plus, I like hats.
I've talked about setting running goals before. It's important to have a goal in mind for each run, even if it's simply "Get out the door." Running is awesome, but as its detractors are quick to point out, it's also boring and repetitive. They're not wrong -- and that's why continuing to set goals, especially several months in advance, will keep you running through it all.