To run, or not to run, that is the question:
Whether 'tis Nobler in the mind to suffer
The Blisters and Sweat of an outrageous course,
Or to take Arms against a Sea of tired knees,
And by opposing end them: to rest, to sleep late
No more; and by a sleep late, to say we end
The back-ache, and the sore muscles
That Flesh is heir to? 'Tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wished. To rest to sleep,
To sleep, perchance to Dream of running; Ay, there's the rub,
For in that sleep, what dreams may come.
(my apologies to Shakespeare)
'Tis that time again, dear friends. Time to set aside the daily drudgery, stop working on the weekly report, to put down the crackberry, turn off the TV, get off my posterior, man up and make a decision. A little over 7 months from now (224 days to be precise), the horde of insane, hard bodied, adrenalin filled running nuts will descend upon the streets of Houston in the cold predawn light to participate in the 41st annual Houston Marathon. Competition for this thing has grown exponentially over the past few years. Last year they had 28,000 runners participate in the Marathon and Half Marathon and this year they upped the limit to 30,000. Yes, that's 30,000 sweaty bodies crammed together on the downtown streets outside of the Minute Maid Park awaiting the starting gun. Doing the Marathon was on my bucket list for years and I started doing the 1/2 Marathon back in '09 (2008 I had to settle for the 5k because the sign up list was full). It was my first attempt at a long distance run greater than my normal 10ks and I survived. No course record, no inspirational saga, just tired feet and sore calves. Ever since, for some reason I cannot fathom, I keep going back to that well for another round. The sign up process is long and the list fills insanely quickly (in 2010, they opened up the sign up at midnight in the middle of July and within 24 hours the 1/2 Marathon roster was full). Two years back they started a lottery system where you put your name in and you didn't know if you got accepted until late August. Two ways you get a guaranteed slot - be a Veteran Marathoner (have finished 10 or more Houston Marathons) or sign up for one of the many charities that are associated with the event (must raise $350). Each year, I have signed up for one of the Run For a Reason slots (last year was the Epilepsy Foundation) and it got me an inside track on getting a slot. Each year as I drag myself across the finish line I question if I will do it again. At the time I finish, I feel tired/sore/elated and think to myself "Yea, I can do this again". But once the afterglow fades, reality sets in and I start to question that strategy. I've considered going the full distance on the next round, but somehow 13 miles seems to be my niche.
On Wednesday morning, they open up registration for the 2013 Marathon and I am once again debating signing up. Some days I tell myself that I am too old for this stuff. 32 weeks is not that far off, but come late December, there are a few doubts.