When I signed up for the Triple Crown series last spring, I decided that the Newport half-marathon was going to be my big race for the year. I was going to spend my summer and early fall working toward what I thought, at the time, was a blazing fast sub-1:40.
And then several weeks ahead of schedule, I went and ran a 1:38; which of course I was thrilled with, but which definitely left me wondering what I should now be aiming for in Newport.
In the end, I decided not to really aim for anything. That was my 'plan' going into Jamestown, and going into Zooma, and it panned out very, very well, so I see no reason to change it.
That's not to say that I'm not racing, though. I still see this as my biggest effort of the year, and I want to make sure that when I cross that finish line, I have emptied the tank completely. As always, it will be interesting to see what that equates to on the race clock.
I'm excited to get out and race again, too. I have had so much fun racing all these half-marathons this year, and each one has been a slightly different experience, and each one has taught me something new.
In New Bedford, I learned how much it sucks when you pick up the pace too much too soon; in Providence, I learned how awesome it is to pace someone. In Jamestown, I learned that I am much better at pacing myself than I thought I was. In Cape Cod, I learned that I can run 13.1 miles at a 7:29 pace! Can't wait to see what I learn this weekend in Newport : )
Hopefully I won't be learning anything new about my mysterious anaphylaxis episodes. I returned to the allergist and described the Labor Day reaction to him, and in addition to making it clear to me that the 'sense of impending doom' that I felt that night is not just a feeling - it really is impending doom, and that's my signal to use the epi-pen.
He also diagnosed me with Idiopathic Anaphylaxis, which is just a fancy way of saying that my body is freaking out on totally random occasions for no apparent reason.
It's a very unsatisfying diagnosis, but I basically agree with it - I don't really feel that there is a trigger, aside from (sometimes) running. I've been keeping a very detailed food journal, and after I had another post-run outbreak of hives yesterday (no impending doom this time - just itchiness), I looked back at my journal and saw nothing at all out of the ordinary.
I'm frustrated, and mystified, and annoyed, but also not really sure what else I can do at this point, besides bring my epi-pen everywhere I go and hope for the best.
And I'm doing my best to try not to dwell on it too much. The days that I have a reaction are kind of crappy. It puts me in a funk, which is then exacerbated by the fact that I also get completely loopy from the Benadryl that I have to take to get the hives under control.
But after a good night's sleep, I attempt to just put the whole thing behind me as best I can. People live with far worse issues than this, and I have to remember that and keep it all in perspective, and keep moving forward.
And on the theme of moving forward - every day that goes by, I get more excited to start training for Boston. Seeing all the Facebook posts from friends who just ran or are about to run their fall marathons, and seeing all the updates about the Hartford marathon, and remembering all the excitement and anticipation I was feeling at this time last year...... I'm experiencing a little bit of marathon envy, which I think is a good thing - it means I've had enough of a break. I definitely feel ready to tackle a tough training plan again, and to get a little more serious and purposeful with my runs.
That enthusiasm will undoubtedly fade after about 10 weeks or so, but then it will return tenfold as April 15 draws closer. I fully intend to race Boston, but I also fully intend to enjoy and savor every second of it. I feel pretty confident that I could requalify to run it again in 2014, but if I have the choice, I'd much rather come back and run Gansett again.
Maybe I'll run Boston another time, too, but in case I don't, I plan to soak up the experience completely - starting with the 16 weeks of training. Eight weeks and counting..... !!!!!