Choosing my 1st Marathon

Remember waaaaaaaay back in the day when I used to talk about running all the time?

Yeah, I barely remember it either it's been so long.

Injuries = no running = no blogging about running.

Once my IT band finally started getting better after 8+ weeks, I was excited to finally be getting back out there, only to be dragged back down by a nagging Piriformis compensation injury (don't worry, I had no idea what a piriformis was either. In fact, I'm still not too sure. I couldn't even say it right for the longest time.) Anyway. I ran 2 miles this past weekend and after pain was shooting down my leg after 1 mile and it hurt to even think about walking, I went back to my evil sports doc last night. After he was done torturing me he gave me the go ahead to keep running!! So yay! That's a step in the right direction. At least he hasn't sidelined me for the rest of the year like I was thinking he would.

Maaaybe Marathon Extravaganza 2011 AKA my 1st 26.2 is going to go down this year after all. Maybe.

So. Since I'm still allowed to at least dream about it, how do I choose one?

Criteria for my first marathon:
  • mostly flat, easy course... a straight downhill course would also be fine
  • good weather (not too hot, not too cold.. low chance of rain, snow, or natural disasters)
  • good crowd support, especially after the first half. I need people to encourage me even if I'm barely crawling along the course looking like a zombie
  • bigger race...so I have a smaller chance of coming in last so there are other runners around me to motivate me to keep going towards the end
  • scenic course to give me stuff to look at
  • cheer squad to be there (B, mom, brothers, and any other family & friends who want to wear ridiculous shirts with my face on them)
So, I have narrowed it down to 3 options, mostly due to timing. Last year I was considering doing San Diego for my 1st, but considering it's at the beginning of June, pretty sure that's not happening.

1. Indianapolis Marathon - 10/15/11


350_IndianapolisMarathon_logo

This one probably makes the most sense for me to do. It's closest to home (so it would be the easiest for Cheer Squad to go to.. my brothers had BETTER be there, considering one of them lives there!), a flat course, not sure about the crowd support but it's a pretty big race so I think it would be good enough. The weather in Indy should be cool-ish by the middle of October so hopefully I wouldn't die of a heat stroke and it probably won't snow. It would also be the cheapest since there would be minimal travel fees. It also matches up perfectly with my running group's fall training schedule, so I wouldn't have to alter too much if I decide to train with them.

The only problem is, one of my best friends is possibly getting married that day. (Don't feel bad... this gives me the perfect excuse to look at other options! ;))

Like...

2. Long Beach Marathon - 10/09/11

longbeachmarathon

This is kind of my dream 1st marathon. It just seems perfect. It was first recommended to me by one of my SUPER awesome running friends, Sheri. She runs marathons all the time and has even qualified for Boston! And she ran Long Beach as her first marathon and LOVED it! The course is beautiful and flat (ends on a downhill even), the crowd support is awesome all throughout, and the weather in SoCal in the fall would be amazing! Plus, I could fall over dead on the beach when I get done. Perfect.

Last winter when I first decided I wanted to do a marathon, my first thought was Long Beach.. but at the time I didn't think I wanted to wait until October. Maybe I got injured for a reason??? ;)

PLUS I just found out that Sarah is running it and Danica gave it her stamp of approval (as her FAVORITE course ever), so umm...I need to go to Long Beach.

Cons
  • traveling to California = more expensive than traveling locally, obvs... and we are going on vacation in September so travel funds will be low. Who wants to pick me up from the airport so we don't have to rent a car and let me stay with them to save on a hotel?! I'll bring cookies!
  • harder for Cheer Squad to come :(
I know it would be harder to pull off (more expensive, etc) but I feel like for my 1st marathon I should make it awesome! You only get one 1st one, right?

3. Las Vegas Marathon

RnR Las Vegas


Okay, okay.... I know. I really have no desire to go back to Vegas. It's really not my type of city and Vegas was where this whole injury thing started anyway. Plus I read all y'all's marathon re-caps last year with horrible words like alone in the desert and mental breakdowns at mile 22. Okay, so mental breakdowns probably happen in every marathon at mile 22, but I sure as heck don't wanna be alone in the desert when I have mine. BUT. This year it's at NIGHT. And I LOVE night races! Okay, so I've only run one and it was only 3 measly miles, but it was super cool. AND there's some type of blogger conference going on and from what I hear all the cool people are gonna be there. (I'm looking at you, SR, and Janae, and my fellow Reese's lover, and like a million more awesome bloggers.) Where was this blogger conference last year when I was actually there?! :( So even though I highly highly HIGHLY doubt I will do Vegas, it is on my list..albeit last. I don't think B would wanna go back to Vegas though....even more than me.


SoOoO... if any of you super awesome runners have other course suggestions that match my criteria please feel free to share! Or if you're running any of these let me know! If you want to comment and tell me how awesome Long Beach is, go for it! I'm also open to training plans, any and all marathon advice, and as always, free cookies.

Happy Thursday.... go run! :)