Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Good News and Bad News

First the good news: I registered for a fall marathon!

After lots of dithering, I chose the Top of Utah Marathon on September 17. The photo, which I borrowed from the official race Web site, shows a section of the course.

I won't lose out on scenic: "Run past river banks, marshes, limestone outcroppings and through the cool canyon vistas. Moose, elk, deer, and many other species of wildlife make the Canyon their home..."

But that's not my main reason for choosing this race. My new friend Erin had been planning to run it anyway and offered to share a hotel room with me (she's already booked the room, in fact!). She and I are at about the same ability level (though she may well be faster by the time this race rolls around, as she has a couple of other marathons planned before this one), so I will have company. It will be good company, too, as she is both driven and optimistic.

It will also be an adventure for me, as Logan, Utah, is about an eight-and-a-half hour drive from Boulder. I figure a road trip of the kind I haven't had since my kids were born will be OK. I'm supposed to stay off my feet a lot the day before the race anyway. It will mean a weekend of solo kid duty for Dan, but he is game. I am very lucky to have a husband like him!

My goal for this race is to run it as much under four hours as I can. It also happens right smack in the middle of that new Boston registration window. In the unlikely event that I run 3:45 or faster in this race, I may be able to turn around and sign up for Boston 2012 after I cross the finish line, or soon thereafter. They say in running that you should have three levels of goals for each race: a moonshot (qualifying for Boston), a hard but realistic goal (under four hours) and a bad-weather-bad-luck goal (beating my NYC PR of 4:14). I feel fairly organized because I have all three already.

The only drawback to this relatively early race is that I will have to do a lot of hard training in hot temperatures. Colorado summers can be searing. But I've done it before and I can do it again. It may mean getting up early on a lot of Saturdays. Happily, I'm already used that, and at least it won't be dark!

OK, now the bad news, which has nothing direct to do with running. Our landlord, who is a super nice guy, called last night and said he needs to sell our condo. We have to be out by the end of July at the latest. Wow! We sat shell-shocked for quite a while after that conversation, finally going to sleep at around midnight after tossing the possibilities around. You see, our rent in this place is super-cheap, under $1000/month, which is unheard of for a 3-bedroom place in Boulder, home of venture capitalists, patent-holders, trust-funders and the attendant sky-high real estate they bring with them. There is virtually no chance we will get lucky again here with our rent.

So we're looking at a move out of Boulder to one of the less-expensive adjoining towns, which means commuting (ugh!), and probably higher rent even with the move. We can't buy right now, as Dan won't finish his PhD until December and we won't know where we will end up until he finds a more permanent job. Our little life plan, in other words, just underwent an unexpected major revision.

While none of this will have any direct effect on my running plans, it will probably throw a crimp or two in my well-honed routine. My treadmill runs are all done at the East Boulder Rec Center, which is about five minutes from our house. My bootcamp class is at the North Boulder Rec Center, about fifteen minutes from our house. I'll still have the free membership at these centers thanks to my job, but getting to them will take longer and burn more gas than it does now.

And while all of the towns around here have good trail systems and are runner-friendly, none of them can compare with Boulder's network of foothills trails and other beautiful places to run. I've been spoiled!

I do believe these things happen for a reason. I never wanted to live in this condo forever. It's getting tight with two increasingly active four-year-olds (kids really do need yards!). We'll make the best of it no matter what. But it does give me a new stress that I'll need lots of hard runs to manage.

Thanks to Top of Utah, hard runs will not be in short supply around here!