Looking ahead to 2014 race seasons feels like a daunting task. I’m starting early with some winter races in the southern part of the country, but come March and April, then September, October, and November, it is so frustrating that there are only so many weekends in a year!

Already in Spring I’m signed up for one half marathon per month.

January – Charleston Half Marathon (January 18)
One of my favorite cities in the country, and while I’m down there I’ll get to visit with a great old friend of mine from high school. I could not be more excited. I set up a 6-week half-marathon training plan and already had to adjust it because my cross-training day got thrown for a loop when the instructor of my Body Pump class bailed, but I ran the prescribed 2 miles for the other regularly paced day of the week instead last night.

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The bling for the GSC

February – Glass Slipper Challenge as part of Disney’s Princess Half Marathon Weekend (February 22-23)
I’m probably overconfident with the idea that I can run a 10K on Saturday and a half marathon on Sunday. I feel great after a good 6 miles, so as long as I choose to spend the rest of Saturday relaxing instead of wearing my legs out at the park (I’m hoping to do that Friday ;)), I think I’ll be fine for the half on Sunday. (My friend Jescie and I already booked a hotel room for the Virginia is for Lover’s 14K the weekend before, too, and I’ll do my best to take it easy for the 9ish mile last long run before GSC.)

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March – Rock ‘n’ Roll USA Half Marathon (March 15)
This is actually the first half marathon I actually registered for. I registered maybe two and a half months after Boston happened, on National Running Day, when I decided I was brave enough to make the leap from 5K’s to a long-distance runner. I’m glad I’m doing a hometown race, though it being the same weekend as the oh-so popular Shamrock half and full in Virginia Beach is tempting me to commit leg suicide and run back to back half marathons that weekend.

April – Nike Women’s Half Marathon DCย (April 27)
I got in through the college program as an active grad student, and boy was it a hefty registration fee. I couldn’t resist though, with several friends planning to run it as ambassadors, students, and with hopes for the lottery. (I’m also waiting to hear if I got into Cherry Blossom.)

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Ah, Tiffany’s. Thanks for the registration fee, you beautiful, shiny jerks.

The hardest part is coming to terms with wanting to do my first full marathon in the fall of 2014. I have my sights set on fall 2014 because I will be finishing up graduate school at the end of August 2014, and didn’t want to start having 10+ mile long runs until after finishing that. If I decide to do a full marathon next fall, it means a long chunk of fall racing season not doing all the half marathons I’ve been dreaming of. That, or incorporate them into my Saturday long runs and then have to run a few extra miles after some of them, which Lord knows I’ll won’t want to do. Nor does anyone really recommend racing too much as part of training for a marathon, right? I know I’ll end up wanting to run those races hard and PR instead of taking it easy and just doing them for the medal and the mileage.

The pros and cons add up to, if I decide to do a marathon, not doing a half marathon a month like I have lined up in Spring. First of all, I’m not rich, and I hope to be paying rent on an apartment by then. It means sitting out the Disneyland Half Marathon weekend this year, which is probably the best idea anyway because of money and airfare. I’ll have to sit on my hands when registration opens up in January, but now that the Tinkerbell Half is being moved to May, I hope to add both or either to my spring 2015 race calendar, depending on money. (Good Lord I think ahead.)

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A while ago I’d found some small marathon called the Monster Mash Marathon held in Delaware every October, and had wanted it to be my first marathon in honor of my dog (who was born in October and whose name was Monster aka Monster Mash), but I feel the Monster Mask 5K I PR’d at this fall dressed as Peter Pan was kind of my way of running for him. (Read about all the factors that went into making that a great tribute here – I don’t mention in that post that I crossed the finish line listening to a song called “Monster.”)

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Instead I want my first full marathon now to honor either of my grandfathers. The Marine Corps Marathon is so close to home and such a prestigious race – it’s an obvious choice for a local to make it her first marathon. My Pop Pop Mike is a retired Marine, and I would love to run it in honor of him. He lives in Fredericksburg, and I could hope he could make it up to Quantico (actually where my dad was born), to watch the race. The problem is that now MCM is becoming a lottery entry. Between Nike Women’s and waiting to hear if I’m getting into Cherry Blossom, I’m tired of the lottery thing. I prefer to guarantee my entry like I did for Nike, or like I plan to with the 9+1 deal when I am ready to run the New York City Marathon one year. So I’d have to decide whether I want to add the MCM 17.75K to my April race calendar, or if I don’t get into the lottery, choose another full marathon for the fall.

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Which would be the Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas marathon. While I’m hedgy about whether I want my first full marathon to be in a desert at night, the reason for it is that my Pop Pop Basil lives in Vegas and because of the distance, I rarely get to see him. He doesn’t travel anymore, so though he was in the Air Force and graduated from the Naval Academy, neither the Air Force or Navy races would work if I could hope for him to be there.

If I do end up doing MCM, I’d have 3 weeks to recover and then I could go out and still do the half for Pop Pop Basil.

Or I could make it even for both – do the MCM Historic Half in May for Pop Pop Mike the Marine and the Vegas Half in November for Pop Pop Basil and choose another full marathon altogether. MCM would only give me 12 weeks from the end of my final semester to train and Vegas, 15. But if I were to choose another full marathon what would it be? Philly? Steamtown? Wineglass? Chicago? Outer Banks?

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Probably Outer Banks. Being East Coast, on a Sunday and therefore easier job-wise, and being my favorite place on the planet and all.

And THEN there’s all the 5K’s and 10K’s and other random distances I want to do with friends!

AND THEN there’s deciding whether I can start a training plan while trying to finish all my graduation requirements, and if so, how far advance from the end of my semester?! I’ve already devised 12 week programs for worst-case quickest wait-til-finals-are-over MCM training, and 18-week programs for most optimistic I-can-totally-train-while-in-school Vegas training.

Why are there only 52 weekends a year?!

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