If you haven’t come to realize, I’m not much of a planner. Even when I do plan, I’m kind of like a drunk person getting sobriety field tested—instead of walking along a straight line, I waver and zigzag over that line hoping the cop won’t notice. I find that I tend to do what I feel like doing in that moment, rather than adhere to something I had previously decided would be a good idea.
Unfortunately for me I enjoy running larger road races. I like the energy effusing from the participants, cheerers and town as a whole. It’s about the only time I actually enjoy crowds. These larger races though tend to sell out rather far in advance, as well as get more expensive closer to the event, and I am getting to a point where I’d like to decide on a fall/winter marathon within the next month or two. At this point, I’ve narrowed it down to two races: California International Marathon (CIM) and the Honolulu Marathon.
CIM left a bad taste in my mouth the last time I was in Sacramento. A few years ago I signed up for the race because it happened to fall on my birthday and I thought that was just dandy. It was too be my second full marathon and my parents were coming up to cheer me on. The Saturday before the race I ended up getting food poisoning or some sort of stomach sickness, and was throwing up all day Saturday and through the night into Sunday morning. Needless to say, I didn’t run the race. To make matters worse, my hotel was almost directly in front of the finish line and when I finally made it out of my room I was engulfed by happy finishers with thermal jackets wrapped around their shoulders. I drove the 2 hours back to my apartment in Santa Cruz (where I lived at the time), cried a little and then spent the rest of my birthday alone.
Part of me doesn’t want to go back for fear of a similar experience and because I don’t want to drudge up those memories. At the same time, I want to show Sacramento who is boss—this bitch.
The Honolulu Marathon is on the list for the obvious reason—it’s in Honolulu. I like the idea of running a race, then collapsing on the beach in a bikini and a margarita beside me. On the con side, this race has varied elevation and wouldn’t be great for a PR (unlike CIM which is notoriously downhill, fast and ideal for PRs). It’s difficult for me to fathom starting a race knowing it’s impossible to get faster.
So what to do? Confront my past and aim for a PR? Or take a vacation and run for an experience, rather than time?