November 19, 2012

A goofier challenge

For the past seven to eight years, running has obviously been a big part of my life. I like to have a race on the calendar to keep me honest, and get me out the door on days when I am not feeling my strongest. I thought that running the Seattle Marathon would not only be a great way to mark my return to the city, but also give me a great tour of the city to see what had changed in the past three years.

I am blessed to have great running friends in both Seattle and San Diego. As I mentioned in a previous post, I ended up running a marathon with my San Diego friends a couple of weeks ago, and that run together was a wonderful way to celebrate our friendship, and my time down there. However, though I look forward to running again with my Seattle friends, I hadn't mentioned my marathon plans this time around, and planned to run it solo.

A month or two out, someone I had only recently reconnected with on Facebook mentioned he was looking for people to join him in a Thanksgiving challenge. For a little background, Disney World has a marathon/half marathon in January, and for a number of years, they have had something called the "Goofy Challenge". Those who take on the Goofy Challenge run the half marathon on Saturday, and then the full marathon on Sunday. My friend was talking about an even crazier challenge that is run in Seattle over the Thanksgiving weekend.

Apparently there is something called the Quadzilla. Marathons are held on all four days of the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, and some crazy people run all four of them. Brett mentioned the Quadzilla on Facebook, and was looking for friends to run one or more of the events with him. I said I was already planning on running a marathon that weekend, and that I would run whichever one he needed company on.

Then the seed started to grow. Maybe I could run two marathons over the four days. The past couple of years, I ran a Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning with Sean and Marci. I was planning on running a vicarious 5k with them that morning, and I thought maybe I would run the marathon that day instead. Then after a few days rest (and lots of turkey) maybe I could run the big Seattle Marathon on Sunday. I was trained to run a single marathon, but I had no idea what two marathons in that short of a span would be like. But maybe...

Another friend recently asked why I found marathons appealing. Training for them keeps me out on the roads regularly, but I think the main reason I continue to run them is that they keep redefining my breaking point. They force me to go beyond what I think I can do, and force me to find reserves I didn't think I had. I think that digging that deep when you don't think you can, and finishing something that seemed impossible, carries over into the rest of your life and makes you stronger.

So...the goofier challenge. Brett and I have now decided to run marathons on back to back days. We will run the Ghost of Seattle Marathon on Saturday, and the regular Seattle Marathon on Sunday. The two events have a connection in history (and route). From a recent email:
The Seattle Marathon began in 1970 with just 38 runners...In 1984 the Seattle Marathon changed from Saturday to Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend. In 1985 it was moved to October 13th for only one year but this was enough to get a group of people running the original course on the original day. The Seattle Ghost Marathon has been held every year since 1986. It has been held on the original 2 loop course from 1970 to 1985 on Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend...It has always been run on the sidewalks and never on a closed course.
Though the races have this common history, running them will be very different experiences. The Ghost on Saturday will have roughly 300 people running on sidewalks, no bibs or timing chips, and few water stops or spectators. The regular Seattle Marathon on Sunday is a more typical marathon with all the amenities, and there will be closer to 9,000 runners jostling their way through the downtown streets. Both share a section of beautiful Lake Washington Blvd, but the Sunday race also makes its way across the I-90 floating bridge, and has a much hillier finish. I have run the Seattle half marathon twice, so I know what the finishing hill is like, but I have no idea how hard it will be to climb by the time I get there this time.

52.4 miles in a span of 30 hours, and three marathons in three weeks. I think I will find my breaking point.

1 comment:

dingdong said...

Have you plum ass lost your mind?