Tuesday, August 24, 2010

My Quest for 50 in 50

That's 50 marathons in 50 states. There's something very appealing about making lists and checking things off of them and this is no exception. Plus once you've run a marathon, what's next? Well for some, it's ultramarathons (any race greater than 26.2 miles, usually 50 or 100 miles) which I will probably eventually do, or triathlons (races w/ swimming, biking, and running components) which Adam and I hope to participate in next year, but in the meantime, I want to start on my 50-in-50 goal. So far, I have 3 states knocked off the list: Illinois (Chicago Marathon), Pennsylvania (Philadephia Marathon) and Washington (Whidbey Island Marathon). So, only 47 to go! And DC. Here are some of the marathons I'm looking forward to doing over the next decade or so;)

This looks like a fun one. The course starts in Bar Harbor, Maine, a quaint tourist town that serves as the gateway to Acadia National Park. The route then travels back and forth from coast to coast on Mount Desert Island "along ocean vistas, pristine lakes, and the mountains of Acadia National Park", according to the website. The course was voted 'Most Scenic' and runner up for 'Best Overall Marathon' in the Runner's World magazine in 2010, out of 435 races! I tried to sign up for the race this year, but it was already full, so I guess I'll use it as an excuse to visit Acadia in the future!

California: Big Sur International Marathon: Running on the Edge of the Western World

This is one of the 'big 10' marathons on most marathoners' life lists. This amazingly beautiful, amazingly hilly thus amazingly TOUGH course follows Highway One along the California coast from Big Sur to Carmel. Highway One is the nation's first nationally designated Scenic Highway. And for good reason. Adam and I traveled in this area on our honeymoon and the view from our convertible of the rocky cliffs w/ ocean waves crashing below was beautiful. I'll bet running it will be just as beautiful, plus I'll be "earning" every view by getting there w/ my own feet! My running buddy, Sara, will be moving to San Francisco next year so this will be a great excuse to make this race happen!

Michigan: Beaver Island Marathon

Beaver Island is a wonderful island in Lake Michigan, usually accessed by ferry from Charlevoix, MI. Many of the islands' residents are relatives of our friend Jay, so his family has vacationed there yearly for most of his life. Adam has tagged along a few times, and actually had his Bachelor's party there. I've been there 2 times now, which is enough to appreciate the charms of a remote island that just got its first paved road in the 1990s. They had their inaugural marathon in 2009. Hopefully, it will be a yearly tradition at least until I can get there to run it!

Ah, yes, the holy grail of marathons. One day, I hope to qualify for this elite race. In my current age group, to qualify for Boston, I would need to run a marathon in 3 hours and 45 minutes, which is 8:26/mile pace. My current best for a marathon is nowhere near that. My goal for Chicago on 10/10/10 is 4:15 which is a 9:44/mile pace. So I have a llloooonnnnggg way to go to to improve enough to qualify for Boston. I've been very encouraged by the improvements I've made over the past year. I haven't been trying to get faster per se, just more fit, but I've definitely improved in speed and endurance, surprising myself with a 2:00:19 (9:07/mile) half marathon in May. I think I'm going to try to get Boston ready while my friend Tsoni (from the Purple Pig blog) still lives in Boston, which is just 3 more years. It's always good to have local supporters who can spectate. We'll see!

So I guess technically, when all is said and done, I will have to run 51 in 51 but that doesn't have the same ring to it, does it? So DC will be 51, but it can't be skipped! Good thing there is such a popular, much-loved marathon in the District of Columbia! I've heard wonderful things about this race- the Marine volunteers are great, the scenery is incredible (worth bringing a camera on the run), and the spectators rival Chicago (not sure I believe that one). Since my brother is a Marine, this seems like the perfect DC marathon for me!

Rhode Island is one of those states (like North Dakota and Nebraska) that is often overlooked. But I hear it's beautiful. It ranked #4 on Runner's Worlds Best Marathons of 2010 list. I did the whole google earth thing on the course map and it does look pretty incredible. Almost all of the course is along the coast line. Count me in! I may even be able to swing it this year if we head out that way for vacation in October......

Gotta do New York. It's a must. Probably won't do it for a few years because I imagine it's going to be one heck of an expensive trip, but I'll get to it sooner or later! It's one of the 5 "World Marathon Majors". The World Marathon Majors was started in 2006. Basically, it is a series of marathons (Chicago, New York, Boston, London and Berlin) that offers $1 million prize money to be split equally b/t the top male and female marathoners in the world. What that means for the layrunner like myself is that they are super big, super well run, and super well funded races that attract a very elite filed of runners and thus masses of spectators. Sounds good to me!

Obviousely, there are many more races to be run in addition to the above. And there will be some very boring states (Kansas comes to mind) that have to be dealt with. So keep in mind which states you'd like to visit and maybe you can use spectating for me as an excuse to travel;)

And when this is done, I can start working on the 7 continents.....(yes, there is a marathon in Antarctica).

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