Thursday, April 24, 2014

Random Running Related Rambles

It's more like a list of random things rather than endless rambles, but I like the alliteration.  I want to make a list post so I have all the information in one place. Will update often, hopefully.

Useful Websites:

I've been browsing the net on an off for the past week and came across a number of websites that offer really cool things.

  • Hungry Runner Girl blog.  It's one of the first blogs I came across after I realized that if I'm writing a blog on random semi-running related things, there must be other people out there, real runners, who also keep blogs.  And this was one of the first ones that came up.  HRG is a very hard core runner, and I found it very cool that she's able to manage running and all the other crazy things that happen in the life of a single mother.
  • Runblogger.  Another one of those blogs I came across during my initial search.  It has a lot of product reviews which I personally don't find very useful, but it also provides a lot of tips and such for beginners and more experienced runners alike.  I was also surprised to find out yesterday that the blogger is from Concord, NH, which is not too far from where I am, and that just make Runblogger blog so much more special (for no real reason, but still).
  • Upper Valley Running Club.  Okay, this one really gives away my location.  I came across it after browsing through a running club website that listed a lot of running clubs in the country, and I came across this one.  I think somewhere in the back of my brain I realize the existence of this club, but I never paid attention to this fact until now.  The club seems to consist many local runners not affiliated with the college, and as a result the more active admin members are not really in my age group (but the full roster is password protected for members only).  They all look like such experienced runners that I don't think I will approach or join them until I can run better.  But they have very nice monthly newsletters with tips and member interviews.  Also through browsing their website I found a lot more local races that I would be very interested to do later this year (see below).
  • Running Tangents.  I came across this blog after searching for reviews on SPIbelt.  The blogger, Jen, also wrote a lot of other product reviews that are very interesting, personable, and useful.  And I started to read a lot of her other stuff.  
There are other blogs that I've come across from time to time that I haven't really subscribed.  Apparently runners also keep very active blogs (to document their progress and event, I guess, since they log everything they do anyway), and I love reading about whenever they attend a race.

Practical Races for the Near Future

These are the races I really want to do that are also in the vicinity of where I am, and of distances that I believe I can complete by the time they come.

  • AFAA 5/10K walk/run.  So far the only race I registered for because the first 300 entrants get a free T-shirt~.  I assume I will be getting one since I signed up really early and they asked me for my shirt size.  Will be the first race ever for me, and is in less than a week and half (yikes!).  I have to say I have no particular feelings toward this race or the cause it supports other than as an opportunity that further motivates me to run, but I'm grateful that it makes me feel good about giving something to the veterans.  And I'm hoping that there will be many locals running this race so I get to meet other runners in the area.  Apparently many of the UVRC members are also going to run, so we will see what happens.
  • Cystic Fibriosis Foundation 5K.  First race that caught my eye shortly after I started running (literally the day after I first went to the gym with the curiosity and determination to see if I could run).  I still have not registered for it yet, since it doesn't really have any entry prizes and you can register at the day of the event.  Many people in our department is going to run, so I'm particularly nervous about running in front of people I know.  I know a lot of them are good runners, and I would just hate to embarrass myself in front of them.  It's ~3 weeks away, so I still have plenty of time, and it's a walk/run, so I will definitely not be the last one to finish, and it should be a very casual event.  So I'm really looking forward to it.  I've also successfully convinced two people to join me, and hopefully they will keep their word as I will mine.
  • Turkey Trot 10K.  To be honest, the only thing that excites me about this race is that it's conveniently located for me, and it's something I could do in Nov.  November in New Hampshire is tough, sometimes really tough, for running.  I guess I wouldn't mind running in the cold terribly, provided I'm confident in what I would wear, but if it starts to snow and there's ice on the ground then I would be more reluctant to run.  So we'll see, if the weather is good I will go, but definitely not committed to it.
  • Foliage 5 Miler.  A fall running event in Thetford, VT.  I kind of want to do it because of the scenery I would see, but I've never been to Thetford so I don't know what I would expect. It's on a Sunday in the fall, so maybe my parents could join me (as spectators).  
  • CHaD Half.  Annual half marathon to raise money for the Children's hospital.  The event also has 5K run/walk and 10K hike options, so if I'm not ready to do a half marathon by October, there are other options.  This will be the most expensive event of all: every participant is required to raise at least $75 of donation.  And I fear that the real motivation for me to do the half as opposed to the other options is to get the most out of the money.  Plus I've seen it in the past and most runners dress up as superheros, often completing their costumes with a red cape, so it looks super cheerful and fun.  But it would be a nice, local challenge for me to improve my running.  It's not till October, so we'll see.
Dream Marathons

I've yet to be able to run a 5K, so a marathon is still a distant, distant goal.  But eventually I want to complete one.  I'm already looking forward to the rewarding feeling of completing a marathon.  It will be such an accomplishment.  Here are a few marathons that I really want to attend in the future:

  • The Honolulu Marathon.  I first learned about it from Naoko Takagi's autobiographical comic on her running a marathon.  In addition to being her first ever marathon and trip to Hawaii, this just seems to be the most perfect place to run, and the most fun event created.  It's in December, so you can get away from the cold wherever-you-are-from and fly out to Hawaii.  At the start of the race they not only fire a starter's pistol, but also display lots of fire works.  You run through the best neighborhoods in Honolulu and past the beach, and apparently there are bands and very enthusiastic crowds along the way.  Oh and, did I mention it's in Hawaii?  You know what that means, it means that when you finish the race you are in HAWAII!  I don't think I will be able to do it this year, both because of my ability and because I want to go back to China this winter so time-wise it's not going to work out.  But I really hope I can do it next year.
  • The Disney Marathon.  I love Disney and I love Disney World.  So what could be better than doing a marathon at Disney world?  The race is in January, and although it's not Hawaii, it's still Florida, and it's in Disney world!  They have other racing events throughout the year, but I really want to do the real one.  And my ultimate goal is to do the Dopey Challenge, which is to complete every event they have on the marathon weekend.  This includes a 5K on Thursday, 10K on Friday, half on Saturday, and a full marathon on Sunday.  I don't know when I will be able to do something like that, but I'm sure that if I keep running someday I will.  There is a pace requirement, at least for the full marathon (as opposed to the Honolulu marathon, which is a walk/run, so there is no cut off time or pacing requirement), but it seemed really slow, so if I run well I would still have plenty of time to stop and take pictures with all the characters and other attractions.  
  • New York Marathon.  In terms of big city marathons, New York definitely has a special place in my heart.  The race is typically in November (I guess there are worse times you can have a marathon in New York), and as far as I can tell it's lottery based (the lottery takes place in March).  There are some ways you can get guaranteed entry, but the way that would most applicable to me is by joining a charity team, which means paying thousands of dollars to a charity of your choice to secure an entry.  But the appeal of the race is definitely the location.  You run through all 5 boroughs of New York City and see, really, the best that New York has to offer.  And you finish in Central Park, hopefully with a big party.  So I really hope I can do it someday, and it will be cheaper than going to Hawaii or Florida~~
  • Boston Marathon.  I'm not sure if I really want to do the Boston marathon, or am able to in any time soon (or ever), since it has an almost cruel entry time.  2:35 for my age group I think.  I'm not sure if I can ever run this fast.  But I guess the Boston Marathon is the holy grail of marathons, and you not only get the prestige, the history, the city, you also get to meet the best runners in the world.  And for that I want to be part of it, someday, maybe.  It's like being part of an exclusive club or something.  But of the 4 races I hold this with the least hope or interest.  

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