A few months ago, after the Baltimore Half Marathon, I started to dream about running a marathon. For the first time in my life, I had really raced something for a particular goal time and I wanted to push myself even more. I wondered when I could fit running, and training for, a marathon in the near future of my life. For a very short period of time, next summer's bike trip felt like a nuisance because it would mean two months off of running and it would postpone any potential marathons for another two years or so. Because, when I do commit myself to running that whopping 26.2 miles, I better be focusing on that alone.
I think my biggest problem was that the bike ride seemed so overwhelming and almost unreal. I was a little scared of it. But the wonderful series of events that occurred in late November, starting with a call from Joyce and ending with approval for leave from my boss, changed my attitude completely. Am I still a little overwhelmed? Yes. But am I excited beyond belief? Hell yes.
Ok ok, where am I going with this? My point is that I'm realizing that I have to prioritize. The idea that I sent Nikki in an e-mail last fall saying "do you think I can fit a marathon in next spring before the bike ride?" was just insane. Maybe if I was a seasoned runner with many marathons under my belt, then yes, I could. But for my first one, that is just crazy talk. Even the idea that I'd like to run a few half marathons this spring probably isn't my best.
Sure, I could probably race 13.1 miles three or four times over the next few months and be alright. But, my bike ride and many summer plan conversations with my parents this past weekend made me realize something very important. 2012 is the year of the cross country bike ride. I'm sure it will be a year for many other things, at work especially, but, for the sake of my body, it is the year to focus on biking.
I will still race the RNR USA half marathon in March but I have decided not to try out the Run Less Run Faster training plan and strive for a speedy time (I had my sights on 1:50 or 1:52). I will train the way I did for Baltimore, on my own terms, and I will simply aim to PR. I will still write about running but I better also be writing about a lot of bike rides and campground research. I have my whole life to run far and long but I may not have my whole life to squeeze in 10 weeks on a bike with my mom and dad.
My priority in 2012 is to plan and execute this epic bike journey that I have been dreaming about for so long. I am going to do everything in my power to stay in shape and do what I love (running included) but also to stay injury free and prepared for 3,000+ miles on a bike seat.
And, when I return, that will be the time to set my sights on a new (26.2 mile or otherwise) adventure.