Because it's hard to be both...
And I try to be both! haha!
Let me explain. Are you someone that loves to go to races or are you someone that loves a new shiny PR. Typically, when you start out, you are just doing races to be able to finish them. That's how I was of course, all the way up until the past year really. When I look at a marathon now, it's hard not to look at it and say "Okay what is going to be my A race and the one that I shoot for a PR?"
We all have potential to shoot for a PR but sometimes, that is just not what people are interested in. I know PLENTY of people that would rather just run all the races vs really sitting down to think what could be their PR race and shooting for it. Sometimes I feel myself getting sucked into the vortex of shooting for PR's because I do feel like I have speed that I haven't had the chance to tap into due to little tweaks that come up and things such as the ironman that take me down an entirely different path.
If you are wanting to shoot for a PR, then the stars have to align really. You can't be planning tons of things around it. You can't do a race before it that you are running fast. You want to try for it to be a flat(ter) course. You want to make sure that you have had the chance to build miles, then add tempo workouts, then add speed workouts. If you throw too many races into the mix then it's just the back and forth between recovering and then you don't have adequate time to let your body build up to the next training cycle. Realistically, if you want to PR, you should only do 2 marathons per year in my opinion.
But if I'm being honest, that's not my kind of thing. I'm someone that would much rather run races vs always getting PR's. I like for my goals to be further or to be the specific race but not necessarily that my time has to beat the time that I had on a marathon before, but there's a pressure and a stigma behind that. If you do some race that you are just doing for fun but your time is not good then people might question if you are training appropriately, but for me, I'm just kind of like "No, PR wasn't my goal. PRing is HARD!" I have 5 marathons planned for this year, and to some, that might seem excessive and to other ultra runners, it's childs play. haha! I feel this weird pressure like I'm only allowed to run the races that I have the chance to PR and if I'm not perfectly on my game, then why do them? I can see that mindset, but it's just not one that I have. I just simply love to go to races, and run them no matter my time.
So, with the thought of Myrtle Beach Marathon, I wanted to PR. It's a flat course. I had a good base and I had a solid 12 weeks to add in speed work and ALL the miles. I was ready. I was going to peak at 60-65 miles/week which I've never done but was going to push myself and see what happened. Literally, the second week, I got the hamstring thing, and it's been off and on for one month which means, I have to make decisions.
Should I do Myrtle Beach Marathon at all? For some, with PRing being the most important thing to them-they would forgo the marathon, but I just genuinely WANT to run this race. I want to be at this race with all of my friends from my hometown so just not going is just not an option for me.
Should I go down to the half? I mean I could, but honestly, I just don't think that a half is as fun when I expected to do the full. I do a half marathon basically every weekend on my long runs or longer, so it just doesn't sound like the challenge I was wanting.
Should I race the half? That would be challenging, I could shoot to qualify for NYC in 2018 (1:32 needed for the half which I think I'm capable of) and maybe this is the smartest option but if I'm being honest, it's again not what I had planned or what I want to do. It does however allow me to be there with all the people that I care about!
Should I just aim for Boston qualification for 2018? I don't have a race yet that I've qualified, and my PR is a 3:15 with the qualifying time being 3:35 (3:30 to be safe) and I think I'm capable of that without hurting myself or anything of that nature.
Should I pace someone that I know is doing their first marathon? This is actually what I WANT to do at this point, but I'm not sure if she would want me to do that as I haven't asked.
When you are looking at whether you want to just run the race or chase a PR, you just have to be realistic. If I'm going to do an ironman, I can't expect to have a marathon PR in the same year. If I'm going to run 5 marathons, then I have to treat some of them as long runs, and I can't be pushing so hard on all of them, or you won't PR at any of them. It's just like with gaining muscle while endurance training. You can't expect to gain tons of muscle with running 50 miles/week. The body responds to a stimulus and it's pretty straight forward. We want to buck the rules a lot of times, and you can ABSOULTELYYYY maintain muscle while endurance training as I've talked about MANY times, but you just have to be realistic. So, with that, I'm going to be realistic about Myrtle beach. I've had to eat my pride and say that the PR I wanted is not going to happen, so how can I go to this race and make it the best time ever?
My family is going to be there as we have a second home at the beach and my entire family has not been to one of my marathons at the same time, so I'm absolutely thrilled. The time is irrelevant when I look at that! :)