Spring Marathon?

Date: November 9, 2011 at 9:18 am- by Ali- Comment(s): 109

Hi.

How are you?

I’m doing OK today. It seems as though my Crohn’s/colitis/emphysema/Anthrax is back to square one. Things are no good in stomach land. I’ve upped my Steroid dosage rather than continuing to taper down, so get excited for some seriously puffy cheeks in the coming weeks.

This is steroid face. It will only continue to grow.

This morning Brian and I ran four miles together in Central Park. It could have been perfect. The weather was shockingly warm for November and there’s finally foliage throughout the park. We stuck to the Bridle Path and kept our pace easy. Coach Cane would be pleased to know that after yesterday’s speed workout, my legs are sufficiently shot today. Success!

But naturally my stomach didn’t want to have a good time, so that kind of ruined the scenery for me. Bummer. My foot hasn’t hurt at all in two weeks though, so I’m pretty pumped about that. Yay!

As the entire world probably knows (or should know, in my opinion), this weekend was the New York City Marathon.

Kim Smith, you freak me out, but I respect you.

I had a divine time spectating with my runner friends, but I came down with a serious case of runner envy. I wanted to be on the road, not on the sidelines.

See? I'm pissed at the runners. Clearly.

In case I haven’t said it enough, I loved marathon training. I loved the long runs, loved the lifestyle and really enjoyed working toward a big end goal. I’m fully recovered from the Hamptons Marathon, and I’ve analyzed that race enough.

I’m ready for my next marathon.

But is doing a spring marathon too much too soon? Or should I keep the momentum going? Care to get inside my head a bit and help me sort out the internal debate I’m having? Excellent. Let’s go.

Reasons I Want To Do A Spring Marathon:

  • I know I can beat my time. I ran the Hamptons in 4:13, and I want to go sub-4:00.
  • I already have solid training to work from. I’m training for the Las Vegas Half Marathon now and I know that upping my mileage after that won’t be too shocking.
  • I like goals. I like plans. I could register for a spring half, or I could go for the full 26.2. Either way, I do best when I have something to work toward.
  • Winter running doesn’t scare me. I know a lot of people shy away from early spring marathons because they don’t want to do long runs in the snow, but I ran nearly every day last winter and it excited me. So I’ll be cold when I run some days. Big deal. That’s what hot showers and hot chocolate are for. And if I’m going to be out running anyway, shouldn’t it at least be with a goal in mind?
  • A spring marathon would fall right around my birthday. It could be a cool present to myself.
  • I may have dreamed this, but I’m pretty sure at one point this weekend, Lauren agreed to pace me for the race. That would be hugely helpful and amazing. (Lauren, please confirm whether or not this exchange was imagined.)

I like her style. She looks mean, right? Even in sparkles.

  • Doing long runs every Saturday morning means pasta dinners and giant bread baskets every Friday. That’s probably the best reason to marathon train.
  • The Hamptons Marathon was great, but it wasn’t a big marathon. There were times I was out on the road alone, and there was no expo. I’d like to do a bigger race with more fanfare. I’m cheesy like that.
  • Emily is being really persistent about it. I’m really bad at saying no. Damn her.

It's hard to say no to a girl on crutches.

OK. Some good reasons to do it, right? But there are a few more factors to consider…

Reasons Doing A Spring Marathon Is Maybe Not The Best Idea:

  • I love running, of course, but I worry about burning out. I say I loved marathon training, but maybe I only loved it because I was doing it for the first time. Am I going to get excited about a 20-mile run when it’s not the first 20-miler of my life? Or will it get tedious?
  • Sadly, my money tree doesn’t seem to be growing. This venture could get costly. Finances are something to consider.
  • I’m still Crohnsing pretty hard. It’s tough to imagine getting through super long runs with my body feeling the way it has been. I know it will pass, but it’s still something to consider.
  • I don’t have Coach Cane anymore. As helpful as he continues to be, he’s technically not my coach now that I’m done with Run For The Rabbit. When I say “he’s technically not my coach” I mean I cannot currently afford a running coach. So it would be up to me to create and stick with a training plan. And then it would be up to Coach Brian to make me run fast…which begs the question, can Coach Brian handle another round of Marathon Training Ali?

Hi Brian. Will you cook me lots of homemade pasta if I marathon train again? I'll do the dishes…

  • What if I can’t run a sub-4:00 marathon? Am I going to beat myself up afterward? Yes, I definitely am. And that won’t be fun for anyone in my life because I may turn into a crazy (OK, crazier) psycho. I obviously love a challenge, but I do worry about the potential risk of failure.

So that’s what’s on my mind. To marathon or not to marathon? That is the question. Honestly, I should have been a poet.

CARE TO WEIGH IN? Someone tell me what to do. I hate making decisions unless they are about food, in which case the decision is always, “Yes I will look at a dessert menu.” Any factors I haven’t considered in the marathon debate?

109 Responses to "Spring Marathon?"

I’m doing the NJ Marathon on May 6. It’s pretty flat and people seem to like it! I’m hoping for sub-4 also. Since NJ wouldn’t involve a ton of travel expenses for you, maybe that would be a good option?

Do it. You love training, you love running, you love having goals. You deserve the crowds and fun of a big marathon, it is SO you!

how about other “stressful” things that could get in the way of training (or vice versa)…..such as being a maid-of-honor in a wedding, playing with a bump, etc……

Don’t worry, bro. The marathon would be before Bump is due and before Becky’s wedding. I have my priorities mostly straight.

FINE…..then you should do Boston….that’s a spring marathon! 🙂

Not to be selfish but make the race early April so you won’t be out running 20 miles the Saturday of my bachelorette party 🙂

I think it’s a great idea though, as long as you think your body could also be ok starting to train for NYC right after the spring race. If you do a spring half I will join!

Yes. I think you should run a spring marathon, it’ll be great! Something to look forward to … to plan for… to train for through the dark days of winter. Go for it!!!

I think you should do it! You are a rockstar and stick to training better than anybody I know. I am running the Suntrust Marathon in Dc and it’s in March perhaps that a perfect Marathon for you 🙂

Do it! You’ll probably need to start around December and you’ve given yourself enough time to recover. By then your Crohn’s (hopefully) issues will be hibernating for the winter. 🙂 I love marathon training in the winter! Way easier than training in the the heat of the summer here in DC!

I think only you can know what’s best for you. I would suggest seeing how you feel after the LV Half. That would still give you lots of time to train. I definitely think that two marathons in a year is a completely reasonable goal for someone who is in great shape like you. My only real concern is that I really hope you run New York so that I can read all your posts about it while I’m training for it too. But that’s just me being selfish. 🙂

Oh I’ll still run NYC, don’t worry about that!

I say do it! My husband and I are most likely signing up for a spring half marathon (Cleveland), a summer half marathon (either Chicago Rock ‘n’ Roll or Providence Rock ‘n’ Roll) and a Fall Marathon (Wineglass). I really can’t wait!! I’m a little worried about running in the winter, but like you I think I can handle it. I’m more worried about the heat during marathon training actually.

I live near the Wineglass marathon! It’s a small but awesome marathon!!! you’ll love it!

Awesome! I live in Rochester, so it’s not too far from me either 🙂

Where is the Wineglass Marathon? I’m always looking foward to a new and different course!

go for it! you can do it

Go for it!! You can always sign up for one that has a half marathon at the same time — that way, if your Crohn’s flares up, or you burn out, or something else derails your training, you can always downgrade. Also, I’ll be training for the 13.1 Half in Queens all winter, and I need as many blogs as possible to read that are also going through a training cycle for a big race as inspiration!

First of all, there’s a big Pro in there: your birthday. And as a gal who has run a marathon on her birthday, it’s an AWESOME gift to give yourself!

And second of all, despite your Crohn’s flair-up, it sounds like you’re ready to take on the task of training again. I wouldn’t worry about the runs being tedious. We all go through those highs and lows, anyway. That goes the same for running a sub 4 marathon. You know you have it in you. Will it happen? Sure, sometime! It may not be marathon number 2, but you know you can do it and that’s what’s important.

I say do it! And if you’re looking for one to do, I hear there’s a marathon in Louisville, Kentucky on April 28. Hee hee.

DO IT 🙂

I say go for it! Other than your stomach issues, your cons don’t seem close to outweighing your pros…why not keep the training up after LV–you have nothing to lose (IMO…you know your body best, obviously)

Go for it! I think training for a spring marathon will be more enjoyable than a fall one since you don’t have to train during the hellish summer months. The winter training is actually what is pushing me to sign up for a marathon in May (NJ, same as Jory above) rather than wait til next fall to run marathon #2. Although, I’ll probably sign up for a fall one too. Damn running, so addicting…

I’d go for it! You know you’ve done it before, and like you said, because you’re running the half soon anyways, it won’t be too bad to go from training at 13 miles to 20 miles! You’re already over half way there:)

I think you should go for it…the second marathon is SO different than first because you somewhat have an idea of what you’re getting into. You’ve been through the training before, you’ve been through mile 22. Even if Coach Cane isn’t around, you have a wealth of knowledge around you in the runners of NYC and people in blogland. Spring marathons can be tough to train for, but you’d be surprised at how a 20 mile run in 20 degrees can feel…the cool, crisp air isn’t so bad! Twenty miles isn’t nearly as intimidating on the second round of training, and I don’t really get worked up for them anymore…just another run! Definitely a good feeling to have.

Soooo did you just agree to be my Coach/training buddy? Excellent. Thank you!

I’m in a similar position. I like marathon training. I like setting big goals. Its fun for me to work towards them. I say if you enjoy the process, then go for it – a big goal race that is. Half or full, I think you’d enjoy the process either way.

I’d say you should do it:) You outline a number of great reasons that a spring marathon would be a great idea! One other idea- marathon training is a great time to practice coping with stress, managing it, and trying to balance life…all great skills to have! Not only is it physical training, but it’s mental training as well:)

Well, let`s see: the finish line is your happy place, and it`s good to be at happy places, right? And starting to train wouldn`t cost you anything, right? And you get extra food on Friday nights, which is awesome! Plus you will run 20 miles fore the first time again. The first time of this round, at least.
I say go for it! And if you buy me a plane ticket to the US, I`ll even join you on the journey!
(by the way, I`m sure you will brake the 4:00 hours, if there are spectators and a crowd, it will be a lot more fun!!)

I see both sides of this argument…very tempting to keep the momentum going and pick up the mileage again after the half, rather than sort of starting anew later on for a different marathon. To me, that sounds logical, to go for a spring marathon because you are kinda already trained for it. But winter, ack, that would get me. But doesn’t sound like an issue for you. However, if you are worried about burnout, why not go for a marathon that is a smidge later, say May/June, so you give yourself a little more leeway in training and can focus on upping your pace and mileage, but over a longer span of time. I am clearly not helping, because I see both sides of the coin, don’t I? I do think one thing you should do is just see how you feel after the half in LV. And um, you and Brian are so frickin cute.

Maybe you could use the Coach Cane marathon training plan you used this year as your base plan? and make adjustments based on the things you’ve learned?

Part of me says go for it because you enjoy training, but a big part of me is saying it may not be very practical or wise — I’m a Capricorn, pragmatism is my thing. Here are some considerations:
1) It’s a lot of work especially if you want to PR, and if you’re going to be running New York next year, too, you’re going to be marathon training almost all year.
2) You should enjoy other aspects of life, too.
3) Won’t you have bridesmaids duties that would get in the way of your spring marathon training and take up some of your “fun money.” Not to mention that you may want to save up so that you can spoil your new neice/nephew and visit her/him regularly.
4) Maybe you should enjoy some free time with Brian before you get back into marathon training for NYC next fall — part of (2) above.
5) It’s a lot of stress on the body — would it contribute to more Crohn’s flare-ups? Is there a chance it could throw you off, so that you won’t be ready to train for NYC? That is, if NYC is your ultimate goal (it was my dream marathon, so I wouldn’t let anything risk ruining that experience).
***** Whatever you decide Ali, I look forward to reading about your training and what not. An alternative you can consider is to do an awesome half-marathon somewhere.

Ali, I enjoy your blog and believe you should go for a spring marathon. Come join me for the Paris Marathon – April 15th!

I’m having the same dilemma as you! I just ran the MCM in 4:08. I cruised at a 9:30 pace and now I’m irritated with myself for being too cowardly to attempt a sub 4. I’m a New Yorker too (but with Southern California roots) so I’m a little wary about training through the winter for a spring marathon. Also, people have advised me to spend some off-time training at shorter distances to build speed and not burn out so that I can crush a sub-4 next fall. I’m eager to see what you decide to do! Maybe I should join you for a training run if I decide to do a spring race also. We could have chapped lips and frozen noses together! Hah!

Go for it! You’ll be coming off the half marathon, so you’ll have a good start. DO IT!

Depending on the race you choose, you could also drop to the half if that felt like a better way to go.

Cough… Eugene… Cough

DOooooo it! Run the LA Marathon in March!! 😉

Considering I know you also want to run NYC ’12, I wanted to weigh in. I ran three marathons in less than a year. My first was NWM in San Francisco last October, 2nd was in Toronto this past May and 3rd in Chicago in October. After NWM I was on a race high and knew I wanted to run Chicago before I had even crossed the finish line in San Fran. I registered for Chicago in February and then decided that I wanted to start my training much earlier and decided to register for Toronto in May. Why not? I shaved 26 minutes of my finish time in Toronto with 4:08 and thought for sure I could go sub-4 in Chicago. Except that in August, I grew tired of marathon training and skipped a lot of workouts in September for no reason other than I just wasn’t feeling it. I could not WAIT to run Chicago, and one of the reasons was because I was ready for a break from training. Training for races for a year and a half (and hoping to PR each time) is a lot, mentally and physically. I didn’t PR in Chicago. 🙁 Just something to think about…
On the other hand, if you reallllllly want it, go for it! If I got to run in Central Park all the time, it might have been a different story! 🙂

A great list, Ali. But as a fellow, psycho Taurus – hey, I am not above self-awareness! – one question that works best for me is: How will you feel if you do not run the marathon? Hands down it will be difficult and utterly strenuous on your body to train for another marathon so soon after your first. However, can you handle it emotionally if you choose not to run it? Questions, questions…

You definitely won’t beat yourself up if you don’t go sub-4. I ran Marine Corps in 4:08 and wanted that sub-4 so badly and it just totally fell out of my hands at Mile 22. It was hard but the accomplishment of finishing my 2nd marathon and setting a huge PR even if I didn’t go sub-4 was enough to not merit disappointment. It sounds like you really aren’t sure, I would wait it out. There are a lot of great spring marathons and you don’t have to make a decision today. Sometimes it’s worth paying the extra money for a race registration to be absolutely sure you’re going to make it. Race weekends with friends are a lot of fun but at the end of the day, it’s your marathon and you have to do if for you.in order to have the best race possible. Good luck making a decision!

I had a dilemma similar to this one, last year after I did Chicago. But then I went ahead and signed up for the New Orleans Rock N Roll marathon in February and I did better than my first marathon. So I guess everyone is different and it depends on you and your body but if you feel you are ready then go for it. You will not burn out, as long as you listen to your body. I am like you and love running in the winter time when it’s nice & chilly! Can’t wait to see what you decide to do next!

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While I can understand your concerns about your Crohn’s, that should hopefully turn around soon. (Stay positive, fall is almost over! lol) I definitely think you should train for a spring marathon! 🙂

I (mostly) like what I’m seeing in the comments. I’ll leave you with this thought: you think we’ve had fun hanging out together up until now? Now picture what would happen after you sub 4 and I make my epic comeback.

I’ll wait while you click that register button.

I’ve always thought about a spring full, but I get so worried I’ll get physically and mentally burnt out after a summer of training with like zero off season. I say spring HALF, you know, you can keep up with legit miles without having to do 20 miles in sleet or snow. Then you’ll have an amazing training base to hit up a fall FULL! Big fall marathon…. like NYC 🙂

I’m running the Yuengling 1/2 marathon in Virginia Beach St. Patrick’s day weekend. Its my first ever 1/2 (they have a full too). Totally do it so that I know i”m not the only one training for somethign through the winter!

I hate to say it, but the snow debate for me is huge when thinking of spring races! I know NY is a little different than CO, but you still have snow/cold/ice/etc to consider – so one thing I’d add to the list if you don’t think you can run outside all winter is if you have access to a treadmill for training in the winter and if you’d like to run all those miles on a treadmill. Blech!

The thing about marathons (and here I am speaking in all my age and wisdom, never having actually run one myself) is that they take a LONG time to train for and they don’t always work out the way you planned. Don’t do it unless you love the process. But judging by this blog, it looks like you DO love it! So I would say go for it! Not to mention the fact that I’m running the National Marathon this march and it would be awesome if you signed up for it also so I could read your posts about training and be inspired to work harder at my own training. Plus the National Half is where you PRed, correct? So clearly it’s a lucky race.

I think you should do it. And if that marathon happens to be the national marathon, we should party it up in DC.

I agree that it might be hard with your stomach not cooperating, but hopefully this rounds of steroids will calm it down. And you will have an excuse to eat bucketfuls of carbs.

I think you can definitely run sub-4. Could something go wrong in a marathon? Of course. Being scared of failure in my opinion is not a good reason to not do a spring marathon. However, if you are not sure I would wait to make a decision. There are a ton of spring races in the area. Most of them are going to be on the smaller side and not have the fanfare of NYC though. That is just the nature of things…If fanfare and hoopla is what you really want maybe it is best to work on speed and focus on halves for the spring season and be super ready to crush NYC. I agree with Christy that at the end of the day it is your marathon. You need to decide if it is the best decision for you not be pressured to do it because “everyone else” is. I know that pressure in running clubs can be enormous and it seems likes the pressure is highly prevalent in blogland too. I will definitely come do some snowy runs with you though! 🙂 Winter is my favorite time to run!

DO IT!!!! You so can sub 4!!!!

I ran my first marathon last spring and am SO tempted to sign up for Rock n Roll Dallas this spring. I’ve always wanted to do an RnR and I want to break 4:00 also (4:03 last time)
BUUUT it’s a huge time commitment and i’m in a new city with a new job and don’t want to have to say no to social things when I need to be meeting people! But i love racing. So i’ll probably do it if I can convince my BFF to do it with me.

Also, still want an I <3 Sweat shirt! Can i buy one?

I don’t have any more shirts to sell right now, but stay tuned — I’m working on it!

Do it!!!! And come run Paris with me (it’s in the spring)! haha

I’m tellin ya… Flying Pig.. Birthday Marathon!! 😉 Cmon, all the cool kids are running in Cincinnati (well, maybe me at least and well I’m not that cool really, but still.)

I’m sure you’re not surprised by my answer, but I ABSOLUTELY think you should do a spring marathon – or several. It is so much easier to stay in marathon condition when you do them more frequently. My goal for 2012 is to do at least one marathon a month, and I’d love to run long in between – so count me in for some of those Friday night pigouts and Saturday morning training sessions?

Also, let me know if you need any help choosing a good race – there are a lot of really fun ones out there 🙂

Hi Ali,
I think if you feel great after LV, you should do a spring marathon. Life is short and if you love running, you should give yourself the opportunity to run as much as you can and achieve your running goals! And stop worrying about the sub-4:00. Just run happy and healthy! PS – I love running in the winter too. PPS – to all the other “Paris marathoners”, I may be signing up for this race too despite swearing to never do another marathon again…

DO IT!!! you will always regret the things you do not do more than the things that you do do! Why not try a less commercial course- in the UK these are cheaper to sign up for. My 2012 resolution is to do one race each month from 5k-marathon, no matter the distance I will feel like I have achieved something each month! Or sign up to do one for charity (again)- London is free if you join with an official charity!

Marathon!

I’ve run two marathons and my 2nd marathon was MY favorite!! SO fun. SO I say, go for it 🙂

I decided a few weeks ago to do in next month and since I already have a high mileage base training actually hasn’t been hard. Basically, you are just extending the length of your long run. I definitely think you can do it! Would Brian do one, too?

I am normally all for registering for marathons, but in this case I think NYC should be your #2 and sub-4. I also ran a very small marathon for my 1st (Bay State in MA), and like you, ran alone at times. From there I wanted to do the biggest, and ran NYC the following year. Best. Decision. Ever.

I think NYC will be 100x more special to you if it is the 1st major marathon you run. In YOUR city! My vote is for a spring 1/2 and stave off your marathon desires until NYC 2012. Burnout is a very real concern and you don’t want to be irritated with training for NYC.

My vote is YES! You should come do the City of Pittsburgh Marathon! Awesome course and HUGE expo! GOOD TIMES! Please and thank you.

PS – I am also interested in the I ♥ Sweat! shirts!

So I may have just read through all of these comments. People are very practical. And I have to admit they bring up some great points (dang it!) Which brings me to this – it’s easy to get caught up in all the race registration excitement. I do too (please see this past weekend for reference). But the most important thing about signing up for a marathon is that your heart is completely into it. I know that you are totally on board with the training and I think you’d have zero problems getting in your runs this winter (I like winter training better than summer training!). But if you need to put off signing up for a spring marathon for practical reasons, I think that’s okay! Sign up for a spring half and then we will all focus on dominating NYCM in fall 2012.

But – to answer your question – yes, in my slightly intoxicated state I may have agreed to sign up and pace you through this marathon. And if you’re in, I’m in! (for real) But you should know that I CAN be really mean. Just wait and see… Coach Brian has NOTHING on me!

My selfish vote – go for a fall marathon because I am going to do one and I want to stalk…I mean meet, MEET you if we do the same one.

Real vote – same as above but for different reasons. It might be nice to have some downtime and not have the pressure/increased chance of burnout? Also would give you more time on your feet which always helps with speed increases.

Dooooo it!!! Besides, New Orleans is simply LOVELY in early March. 🙂

http://runrocknroll.competitor.com/new-orleans

For purely selfish reasons, I say YES to the spring marathon! I am doing one in early March (also trying for sub-4) & could use your training pep to keep me motivated. & if you do it early enough in the year, you’ll have time off so maybe you’ll be less likely to burn out before NYCM.

Honestly, Birthday Marathons are great, You get a built in event to look forward to, the weather will be beautiful AND it will make eating cake THAT much more guilt free.

Alexandra Bryar says: November 9, 2011 at 1:12 pm

Hi Ali! My name is Alex, I’ve been following your blog for a while. I know it sounds creepy, but I saw it on runningwithwaffles ( my friend Amanda from college) and I thought it was FANTASTIC! Between the two of you I’ve gathered the courage to start my own blog! Crazy. Anyhow, I am running my first Marathon the end of May. The Key City Bank in Burlington, VT! I’m from VT so I figured it would be fitting for my first marathon to be in my home state. I’ve heard wonderful things about it. Just a suggestion. Keep up the great blogging!

That’s awesome, Alex! I look forward to checking out your blog — send the link along! And that’s awesome that you’re going to run your first marathon! How exciting! Keep us all posted on your training progress. Yay!

Do it do it do it do it. Think of all the people who want to run and can’t! You can totally do it- and have fun with it too!

Ali – Love your blog! You make me smile everyday:)

The best piece of advice I can give you is that we only live once. If you feel in your hearts of hearts that running a spring marathon is something that you’re truly passionate about doing, than DO IT. Yes there’s always variables to overcome, tasks to complete, but you’ll never regret the things you’ve done, only things you didn’t.

Happy Running!

I think of this as a wonderful challenge for you Ali. Though you may have to take into consideration one tiny thing for Las Vegas; the difference in the weather. The first time I trained myself for running for a marathon alone, I was scared but when I finished the marathon, it felt much more exhilarating than I ever thought it would.

Random person says: November 9, 2011 at 2:32 pm

Uh… if it were me, I’d focus on PR’ing in a few half marathons. They don’t beat up your body NEARLY as much, so you can do more of them; they’re cheaper; and if you don’t PR on one, you can try another without months of recovery and rebuilding.

ALSO, are you familiar with Urban Athletics? They sometimes let people jump in on workouts. 93rd and Madison. There are also the NY Harriers (http://www.newyorkharriers.com/) and the Central Park Track Club–tons of options if you want some free coach-like stuff.

This post comes freakishly close to summing up every thought in my head right now! Except that after I ran my first marathon (August) I said not again for a couple of years… But now I have the fever again! Your pros and cons are really helping me weigh up the options. Thanks!

And, I think you can do it 😉 crohns-schmones. Pick a flat course marathon and there’s no way you won’t sub-4! You’re one of the most dedicated and determined runners I know (of)!

DO IT. I’ll do it with you 🙂 I put together my training plan for the NYCM from past coached plans and research online … and it worked out really well. I’d be happy to share it with you 🙂

I have been thinking of changing up my spring plans. I was originally going to do Big Sur – but now I have the NEED FOR SPEED and I’m thinking of finding a different (less mountainous) marathon.

PS I am in New Zealand and would LOVE LOVE LOVE an I heart sweat shirt if you ever felt inclined to ship one ALL that way!

If you let fear of failing keep you from trying, when will you ever reach your goal? I believe you can do it, but even if it doesn’t happen THIS time, it won’t happen any time if you don’t go for it! I say do it do it do it!!

I LOVE your blog and look forward to all of your post. I think a sub 4 hour marathon would be very easily reached by you if you train the right way. There is a book called 4 months to a 4 hour marathon by David Kuehls… And it is an amazing, short read, 106 pgs. It has become a bible to me in my training. I got it off amazon for a couple dollars. SO worth it. Good luck and I look forward to future post. Larisa

I think you’ve already made your decision. You are going to run a spring marathon. And you’re going to refer to this post anytime you start to overthink, have doubts, go too “hardcore Ali” and need to reality check. Your points around reasons not to run it are fair – but I think you WANT to run it and if you want to run it, just go at it smartly and safely which you’ve learned to do. Plus, I think Coach Brian could be great for you 🙂

Go big or go home. Right?

Ugh… such a hard decision! I totally wish I could train for a spring one, so I say go for it!

I’m always so amused (for lack of a better word) when you refer to your “steroid face” in photos. Maybe it’s because I don’t know what you looked like “before”, but you look completely normal to me! Seriously, I don’t see anything off about your appearance, if it makes you feel better. Keep on smiling 🙂

I say do it! You’re itching to go sub-4 and the race you guys are thinking of doing (Eugene, right?) is supposed to be awesome and pretty flat. I actually don’t mind training in the winter – sometimes I think it beats really obnoxious heat. Plus, i’m thinking of an end of may marathon, so we could run together! A lot!! hehe.

Dooooo itttt. You totally can, and you will survive, and you will love it. Take a look at the Shamrock Marathon: http://www.shamrockmarathon.com/
It is in VA Beach so a) pretty and b) COMPLETELY FLAT. aka fast. perfect for sub-4:00.

just a thought.

That last pic of you & Brian is adorable! And I’m running the Austin 26.2 in February with my BFFL. Should be a FUN race!! 🙂

doooo it! I vote for the SF marathon in July — it is GORGEOUS, perfect cold “summer” weather, and that gives you a chance to take some kind of a break.

I say do it. Your “pro” column is way longer and more passionate than your “con” column, which speaks volumes. Get it girl.

I do agree about doing a big marathon, but maybe save it for fall? If you’re Crohnsing like you say, it miiiiight be better to wait. But what do I know- I’m not a doctor. If I was I’d just prescribe cookies and pizza and you’d probs be all healed already.

Hi Ali – I think that you should look at your schedule leading up to the race, and decide on whether you will be able to commit the time to it in order to PR. If so, then I think you should definitely sign up for it! The rest of the cons are secondary no? If you love running, and will run daily anyway, then why not give yourself a wee goal to push you that extra bit harder? If Crohns happens, then it happens, but I guess it’s quite hard to predict and there’s no point sitting in the sidelines whilst trying to guess whether it will or won’t! 🙂

Just to let you know, I’m currently training for my first marathon (the Paris marathon, also in Spring)…and one of the reasons I decided to go for it was because of the post you wrote about your experience of the Hamptons mara! 😀 Just thought I’d say a big thanks. I’m on week 5 of my training programme and loving it so far. Agree it’s hard when you don’t have a coach to shout at you and push you on, but you’ll have plenty of online support for that I’m sure (and I’ll be happy to send a virtual shout or two along if you ever need it ;))

I can see both sides of the argument but I think if don’t do a full marathon then you should at least be looking for some half’s (halves?) to do.

DO it!!! You have nothing to lose only experience to gain! 🙂

I think you have your answer already! If you want to do one…do it…You will not regret doing it, but you will regret not doing it.

I just found your site the other day through Emilys blog. I love it. My best friend has crohns and has been taking remicade for a couple years. It’s so great finding another runner who deals with the same issues as her. She deals with stomach issues a lot but boy has the remicade changed her life. Thank you for sharing. I have often though of running for the Crohns foundation since its so close to my heart.

Love your blog and look forward to reading more of it.

Enjoy your Half in Vegas and your marathong in the SPRING!!!

DO IT DO IT DO IT DO IT!! YOU’VE GOT THAT SUB 4 and pasta dinners=yes, do the marathon;)

Do it!!!! Ps saw you in Vital Juice! I am going to that spa asap.

Really honest reaction: It’s easy for everyday blog readers to encourage just about anyone to run a marathon. The marathon distance is WAY overhyped and people wind up pressured into it just because everyone is doing it. It’s easy to tell someone to run a marathon, and usually those who do the encouraging don’t quite get how it works, they’re just swept up in the YOU GO GIRL atmosphere of the blogosphere.

It’s hard to simultaneously train for a marathon and increase your speed. Indeed, it’s almost impossible to do so in the same training cycle. If you do choose to run a marathon in the spring, I woud not bet on you going sub-4:00. If you, instead, trained for 5ks and 10ks in the spring, targeted a late-summer half, and then did a full in the fall, you could very well get your time down substantially below 4:00, even to 3:45 or less.

WiltshireGirl says: November 9, 2011 at 10:42 pm

I think you should sign up for one, plan to do one and work your bum off for it, but if the crohn’s is still bad, accept you may need to drop out. I have a cardiovascular condition and am doing the same thing for a spring half marathon. I’m going to sign up, train and listen to my body if it says it’s too much.

You may not have Coach Cane but you know enough to do your own training plan.

Do it!!!! And do San Fran in July and I’ll do it too 😉

I am toying with the same idea! I may just do a half, because I am afraid of running in the snow.

As long as you think it would be not too much on your body, I say do it! I believe that all goals are positive as long as they are healthy!

I think you should do it. Somehow I imagine ‘not running a marathon Ali’ is scarier than ‘running a marathon Ali’! Plus I like reading about it..!

Your pro-list is longer 😉 Definitely YES!

I kind of agree with Sam S – it is difficult to increase speed during marathon training. That’s why I am on the one-marathon-a-year plan. I spent the first half of the year working on my speed, second half on marathon training. This year it seemed to have worked – I dropped 5 mins off my half marathon time, and a huge 30 mins off my marathon time. Plus, I think training for the same distance over and over might get a monotonous. I’m also a bit biased too, because I hate snow/ice etc. But that being said…I think if you did do a spring marathon, I think you would see a PR just from a) already doing the distance and b) hopefully much better weather conditions. Whatever you decide…good luck!

I say feel it out a bit more. See how you’re feeling around January and if you really have the urge, then go for it!

So, if you do do a spring marathon, you will basically be training for big races for a year and a half straight. I know you’re really hard on yourself, so do you think you could handle putting that much pressure on yourself for that long without burnout? If yes, then go for it!

I have to completely disagree with everyone who says you can’t get faster while doing multiple marathons. On the contrary – if you pin all your hopes and dreams on getting a great time at ONE marathon, what happens if that day the weather sucks? Or you have a stomachache? Or for a million other reasons, you just aren’t feeling it? I agree that it would be hard to try to PR at every race because you’d be pushing so hard, but if you assess the morning of the race and decide whether to RACE the marathon or run it as a 26.2 mile training run, you’ll end up with a much better time. (And you’ll have a lot more fun running and afterward – I never get post-marathon soreness like people talk about after their one marathon a year).

For what it’s worth, my current PR (3:49) was set at my third marathon in eight days. Because I just happened to be feeling that great that day, so I decided during the race to push it and go for it.

Youcan come run the Barcelona Marathon March 25th. I’llbe yr guide.

After reading Emily’s post and then reading yours I have decided to weigh in! So, I am running the 1/2 in Richmond this weekend and am super excited. I originally signed up for the full but circumstances prevented me from completing the training needed. My point, even if you don’t end up able to do the full or PR the training and effort is something to be proud about, so anyways, I say go for it!!!!! And have as much fun as you can doing it! 🙂

Stacey, I’m running the half in Richmond tomorrow too – hope to see you out there, and good luck!

Yes, you must sign up for a spring marathon. You must train regardless of the outcome. You have to be on the path. Don’t get off the path. It will make everything else take second place (you know, the bad stuff, the bad thoughts, the what if’s — not the Brian and the good stuff). As Nike says, Just do it. Good advice.

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