the race bug


I am only in Week 5 of training.


I have not actually run a complete 5K at this time.


I want to sign up for All The Races.

I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I thought I would select a 5K (done) and a longer race, say a 10 miler or a half marathon (also done), and I would be good for the year. That I would walk (or limp) away from that 10 miler and create a reasonable plan for 2014.

Because that would make sense. And I’m generally a logical person.

The problem is that I’m enthusiastic. And goal-oriented. Ok, and just a little bit motivated by instant gratification. I want to do this for the excitement and the rush and the medals. Oh, the pretty medals.

But how to decide? Sign up for everything that looks mildly interesting? Limit myself by a certain number of races? Or by a certain amount of registration fees? Stay local or travel? Plan years in advance or take it one month at a time?

So many decisions.

I like the idea of having a long term plan: selecting races I really want to run and selectively staggering them over the next couple of years. For example, ¬†I would love to do the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon, but it won’t work out in 2013, so I’d like to plan on it for 2014 or 2015. I’d also like to try for the Princess Half Marathon, which would have to be in the year opposite the Wine & Dine. I figure we could easily make little family weekends out of those, enjoying the theme parks before and after. RunDisney even offers fun runs for the kids, and Mr PugRunner could choose to do the long races, the corresponding shorter ones, or just be a spectator.

There are also a few half marathons in our local area, but none of them sound quite so exciting as the two Disney ones, or as the Space Coast Half Marathon, which is the one I have my eye on, especially with the introduction of the Big Bang Series of medals. Mr PugRunner is a huge fan of Kennedy Space Center, and I think running that event would be a wonderful merge of interests, especially with the space-themed aid stations and photo ops (even is he chooses not to run, I think it would be a neat experience for him).

And let’s not forget about some of the seasonal 5 and 10Ks – color runs, glow runs, turkey trots, pumpkin dashes and the like. I want a hand (or a foot) in all of those.

While this is a great and healthy activity and having goal races is the perfect way to keep me motivated to train, there is no denying the expense, both financially and in terms of being away from family. It puts the onus on me to make careful selections so I’m not taking anything away from the unit of us. After all, I can technically run anytime, anywhere for free, just by making loops around my neighborhood. But I want a little more than that.

I’m thinking the fair thing is to pick one or two big races each year. By big races, I mean half marathons or ten milers. I think I can do one local and one long distance, within a few hours. Then I can ¬†supplement with seasonal or fun local races. Maybe four per year, depending.

At this time, running a full marathon is not on my goal list. I’m not saying never. I’m just saying not right now. And probably not next year either. We’ll see how it goes from there and how much more of a challenge I decide I want. I know I’m pushing myself right now, and I don’t want to push too hard.

In the meantime, I’m enjoying the heck out of this journey and I can’t wait to see where it takes me.

If you’re as new to this running this as I am, how did you decide on your first races? What does your schedule look like now? I’d love to hear all about it!


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4 Responses to the race bug

  1. David H. says:

    My advice is always to run your first race before you sign up for your second. Don’t think too far ahead; enjoy the moment and soak in that experience of your first race.

    • runswithpugs says:

      Oooh, that’s hard! I don’t know if I have the self-restraint to wait until after one race is done before I sign up for another, especially when I see registrations filling up for races I really want to run. I will definitely not think about future races until the current one is done. Thanks for the great advice!

  2. Kristina says:

    I am in exactly the same mindframe as you. I want to sign up for pretty much every race I hear about (minus full marathons).

    I know I’m definitely going to do Princess at Disney next year. I’m contemplating Wine & Dine this year but haven’t made a final decision yet. I did sign up for Mickey’s Jingle Jungle just so I would get one runDisney event under my belt this year.

    I did a couple 5Ks last month and one this month. I don’t currently have any set for April though I have The Color Run in May. After that I don’t have anything scheduled until October (a 10-miler). I don’t think I’ll do any races during the summer since it gets so hot here in Fort Lauderdale. I might do a couple 5Ks for charity, but those will be more training runs for my 10-miler than anything – and those 5Ks tend to be inexpensive here ($20-25).

    Good luck with your planning!

    • runswithpugs says:

      Oooh, the Jingle Jungle sounds fun! Gah! I will have to add that to my future list!

      I don’t want this to become a consuming activity, but it’s going to be hard reigning myself in. Maybe I will settle down once I get a few medals on my wall!

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