Today is the first day to apply to run in the TCS NYC Marathon in 2019, and I’ve apparently got a month to mull over whether or not I will. It may take every minute of that time to decide but I feel like I probably won’t.
If you’re one of the few people who have followed my boring blog you may recall that I began it to chronicle my training for the TCS NYC Marathon in 2016. I think I did it mostly to forestall the possibility of dropping out by publicly declaring my intentions. After all, I had only been running for 3 years at that point with a total of 4 half marathons under my belt. Even I recognized the hubris of this attempt, entering only with the thought that I would leave the decision to fate and the assumption that the odds were long. I had already been selected to run the United Airlines NYC Half Marathon that year, so my New York running yen was covered either way.
Of course I was selected. I trained all summer. I ran the marathon. It was miserable. I said “never again” – or at least not until the next year when I entered again. I was selected. I trained all summer. I ran the marathon. It was the most fun I ever had. I said “I can’t wait until next year”.
I wasn’t selected in 2018 and I have to say I felt left out. Now I get that there’s only so many spots and other people need to have a chance to run too, but I felt that I was becoming a regular. I was picked to run the United Airlines NYC Half Marathon 3 years in a row and the TCS NYC Marathon twice within that time. I had visions of becoming a staple of the New York racing scene, one of those guys running in shirts that say “10 NYC Marathons in a row” How could they not invite me? Surely it was an oversight. Then I entered to run my fourth consecutive United NYC Half Marathon, but I wasn’t invited to that either. So here’s the first part of my hesitation: can I bear being jilted again? Or should I just not enter and say there’s other fish in the sea? Berlin anyone?
The more serious reason for not entering is the wear and tear of marathon training. Before 2 consecutive years of training for NY my pace was typically in the 7:50-8:20 range. Since then it’s been more like 8:30-9:00 and I’m just now getting some runs in the 8:00-8:15 range again. Yes I’m 2 years older and I should probably expect my times to decline somewhat, but I am leery of exasperating the situation with another round of training. It’s a LOT of extra mileage on the old chassis. Do I have the head to take it on recognizing that potential downside?
So today was the first day and many of you have probably signed up already. If you’ve never run the TCS NYC Marathon but are thinking about it I would strongly recommend trying for it. It will challenge you. It will amaze you. It will thrill you. In fact I would sign up today. I’m thinking I probably will.