Saturday, July 5, 2014

My 2014 9+1 Blueprint

A couple weeks ago, I got into a lengthy email discussion about many, many things. One subject that came up was upcoming race schedules so I decided to check out the NYRR calendar and figure out the rest of my 9 + 1 plan. It's really going to be 12 + 1 because there are some races I like doing even after I've already hit the 9 race threshold. Without further ado, here are the races I have done and will be doing in the rest of 2014 to qualify for the 2015 NYC Marathon:

1. Manhattan Half - This perennial winter hellhole of a race is one I for which I always sign up and run, even though the temperature is reliably below 20 degrees and it consists of two laps of Central Park. I'm honestly not sure why I keep coming back. Habit, maybe? Anyway, I had the flu this year on the day of this race but decided to give it a try anyway. It was a terrible decision. After laboring through one lap of the park and averaging 11-12 minute miles, I decided to call it a day and DNF.

2. New York City Half Marathon - Love the race, love the course, hate the fact that it costs around $120. I could run 2.5 or so of the other borough races for the price of this one and, though I may be a little less cheap than I was when I started this blog, I'm still disgruntled by the price of this half marathon and have only done it this year and in 2012. 

3. Healthy Kidney 10k - I posted about this race a couple of weeks ago. The last time I ran it prior to this year was 2009. Last year, Amortya and I realized the prize purses were significantly different for men and women and so decided not to do it on principle. HOWEVER, this changed beginning in 2014, which is fortunate, because we had a more personal reason to run it this year. Make no mistake, I would have done it one way or the other, but it was comforting that the issue was resolved.

4. Brooklyn Half - I've sung this race's praises for years. This year did not disappoint and you can read all about it in my race report. 

5. Oakley Mini 10k - Last year was the first time I ran this race. I did so because the pace leader on a series of JackRabbit runs Amortya and I did in spring 2013 said it was one of her favorite races of the year. Indeed, it has a spectacular little vibe and is a unique experience because the field is all women. 

6. Queens 10k - As of this writing, I have not yet done the Queens 10k this year but will have by its publishing. This is one of those races I continue to do out of habit, since I've run it nearly every year since I began with NYRR in 2009. I liked it better when it was a half marathon, but considering the temperatures are usually in the 80's I guess it might not be such a bad thing that the distance was shortened. 

VOLUNTEERING - Percy Sutton 5k (8/23) - This will be my +1. I decided to volunteer for this race in particular because it was the earliest I could find that offered the option to volunteer as a bike marshal, which I quite enjoyed last year. I've never run this race, but did sign up for it in 2011 when it was cancelled because of Hurricane Irene.

7. Team Championships (8/2) - Another race that only popped onto my list of regulars in the last year. The reason for this is that I only just started running with the Hudson Dusters in the last year and so had no reason or even qualification to run it prior to that. A distinguishing feature of this race is that women and men compete separately and the fields for both are very fast. I also have a soft spot for this race because I had a breakout performance there last year, averaging 7:34 minutes per mile for the five mile course. 

8. Fifth Avenue Mile (9/13) - Habit race! I've done this every year since 2009. This is an aberration to my normal preference for longer, cheaper runs, especially for the price. It's ONE MILE and I think costs $50 to run? I guess you could call it a guilty pleasure race. In my defense, it's a cool experience to run the mile down Fifth Avenue. It's also really awesome to watch elites (even non-elites but people who are much, much faster than I am) run it. In probably half the years I've run it, it's occurred the same weekend as the Marathon Tuneup (see below). 

9. Marathon Tuneup (9/14) - Yay, 18 miles! Yay, 3 full laps of Central Park! In all seriousness, this is literally the only occasion when I will run 3 full laps of Central Park. "But Katie, what about the 9 laps of Central Park that you run as part of the 60k?" Shh! Tss…shhhh. I will address that shortly. And by the way, the keyword here is "full."

(No Greta's this year because I'm going to a wedding in Dallas) - I thought it worth noting because Greta's is another half marathon I try to run every year even though it is also two laps of Central Park. In its defense, at least the laps are clockwise for a change. NYRR has also typically had smoked salmon as part of the post-race food offerings although I think they stopped that last year. Alas.

10. Bronx 10 Mile (9/28) - The second to last race in the 5 Borough Series. I know, I keep saying it but it's really true. I liked it better when this race was a half marathon. These days, it starts and ends not far from Yankee Stadium. It's mostly an out and back to Lehman College but there's a tiny loop in between. This is also part of the series of races that I always consider to be part of my NYC Marathon training, starting with the Marathon Tuneup and ending with the Staten Island Half (up next). 

11. Staten Island Half (10/12) - The Staten Island Half Marathon typically takes place three weeks prior to the marathon and has a nice vibe for that reason. Many of its participants are running the marathon and in either the last week of their very long runs or the first of their taper period. Either way, everyone is in good spirits and excited that the goal race for which they've been working for months is almost at hand.

12. NYC 60k (11/15) - Formerly the Knickerbocker 60k (until 2012, as far as I know), this is the only ultra marathon I have run. And I've run it 4 times. I like to think of it as my pre-Thanksgiving Day tradition because it is typically the weekend before Thanksgiving. When Thanksgiving actually rolls around and I can quickly dispense with any feelings of guilt by remembering that I ran 37.2 miles the previous weekend. It's a nice feeling. I ran my PR for this race in 2012 probably because I had some pent up energy left after not running the NYC marathon. Last year, I finished about an hour slower but figured it was probably because I'd done an iron distance triathlon, NYC Marathon and a loop around Manhattan in the three previous weekends. 

13. Midnight Run (12/31) - As long as I've lived in New York City, I've never been anywhere except for Central Park when midnight strikes. When I got here five and a half years ago, the cool thing to do on New Year's Eve seemed to be to find a nice open bar, pay $100+ and spend the few hours before and after midnight fighting similar-minded crowds for the bartenders' attention. At least, that's how I understood it to be. I've only ever spent New Year's Eve on the 72nd Street Transverse, freezing my ass off with 5,000 other people who are eager and hopeful for the new year and ready to kick it off properly by running four miles. The electricity in the air is barely describable and made only more spectacular by the fireworks show that happens for a half hour at the start of the run. I get a little emotional thinking about it. Protip: This race is even better with someone to kiss as the gun goes off!

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