I rarely run with music. I’ve done 20 mile runs and my last marathon without music and it was pretty amazing. However, I will listen to music on the treadmill while also watching a show on my iPad and/or the TV.
I have a running playlist on Spotify that I love. I have 0ver 100 songs in both English and Spanish. Depending on how I am feeling I will listen to the whole song or skip it to the next one. I like music with a good beat that sometimes makes me feel like dancing (even though sometimes the lyrics don’t make any sense).
Last week I wrote about how often I race. Today I will write about the thought process that goes into selecting my races.
Well, basically I go for timing, location, and price.
Timing-I do not race as often as before but there are a few races that I will do because they fit into my training schedule. Last year I ran the Chicago Half Marathon because I had to run the same number of miles for my Chicago Marathon training. The Rock ‘n’ Roll also falls perfect into my training but that one I will NOT do because it is in July and for some strange reason it is always HOT on race day. The last time I did this race was in 2013 and I was very thirsty throughout the race. I always have a great time spectating. One year I saw Shalane flying by and last year I missed Meb.
Location-I like all of my races to be in the Chicago area. I like taking the train downtown and it is cool seeing other runners in the train car going to the same place. I don’t mind driving either and the farthest I’ve driven is about an hour for the Fort2Base Race. I might still do this race this year since it is 11 miles and I have to run 10 miles that day anyway.
To meet my 50+1 goal, I also travel to other states. To date I’ve run in 36 states with 15 to go (I am counting DC as a state). I did most of them in 2013 thanks to my TourPass. Plus, I live close to Midway Airport and that helped in picking races that I could fly out from Midway.
Price-This is a tricky one. Why are races so darn expensive? And it seems like the more I pay, the less swag I get. Yes, RunDisney, I am talking about you. I hate paying so much money for races. Yes, I’ve paid $180 to run 26.2 miles but have also paid $45 for 31 miles. Insane right? It has to be a race with good reviews, easy to get to (if I am traveling out of state), and I must really want to do this race in order for me to fork up the money to pay for it.
I also pick races because they’re fun and/or tradition. I love running the Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8k. That race pretty much starts off the running season in Chicago. You run through parts of the course of the Chicago Marathon. There are many spectators and there is free beer at the end. Many runners get a group of friends to run this and it is always a blast. I love running this every year. My first one was in 2016 but I’ve missed it a few times for different reasons.
Another race I enjoy running is the Elmhurst 4 on the 4th Race. It is always on July 4th and I love that it is 4 miles. This is the only race I’ve run that it 4 miles. I ran this yesterday (4th year) and it almost fit perfectly with my training schedule (6 miles). After the race I ran an additional 2 miles.
The races I definitely will not do are those that are not chip timed. And those races are the “fun runs” (Color Run, Foam Runs, etc). Yes, I like to have fun in my races but I also want a finish time to go with it.
So I look at timing, location, and price when selecting a race. It can be only one of those factors or a combination. It may not be ideal but that is how it works for me.
I do not race as often as I used to. Over the years I’ve gotten more serious about my marathon training so that limited the number of races I could do. I ran 21 in 2012; 24 in 2013 (most of them were Rock ‘n’ Roll Races thanks to my Tour Pass; 18 in 2014; 9 in 2015; and so far 7 this year. I started with 3 in 2005!!! I can honestly say that 2013 was a great one because I traveled to 20 different states. I was not training for the Chicago Marathon so that left me free to run as many as I wanted to and to add more states to my goal of running a half marathon in each state. I was constantly tired and I don’t even want to think about how much money I spent!!
In 2014 I trained for the Chicago Ultra 50K and the Chicago Marathon with a coach. I let her know up front my race schedule (most of them were Disney races) and she was able to plan my training schedule taking those races into consideration. After the Disneyland Half Marathon in August, I felt burnt out. I hated to run. I would cry after my runs. I told my coach I did not want to run the marathon anymore. It took a few weeks to feel better and then in October I went to Iowa for a half marathon and actually enjoyed it.
This year I am training again for the Chicago Marathon using the Hansons Marathon Plan. For this training season I have one race for sure (Elmhurst 4 on the 4th) and maybe the Fort2Base in August. With the Hansons Plan I run 6 days a week and seriously do not want to add a race in there (unless of course it is around the same distance as my scheduled run as it is the case with 4 on the 4th and Fort2Base). I enjoy racing but I like running even more.
Hopefully next year I can add more out of state races. I would like to complete my goal before I turn 50! But if I don’t then it will be OK. It is time consuming and expensive. Plus, I do not want to travel just to run a race but to also enjoy it and explore the city and actually have a good time.
I will confess that I rarely keep any of my race shirts. The year I ran 14 RnR half marathons, I got 14 shirts but did not keep any of them. They were all nice shirts (Brooks) but really what was I supposed to do with 14 shirts? There has been one or two races in which I had the option of not receiving the race shirt in exchange for a few dollars off my registration fee.
However, I have kept a couple of them mainly because of the materials and the color/cut.
Route 66 Half Marathon
2. Princeton Half Marathon >>My favorite one.
3. Des Moines Half Marathon
I like the shirts from the Bank of America races (Nike brand) but do not keep them either. Not sure why since I do like the cut. But I prefer the finisher’s shirt I bought at the outlet store. It was about $16 three weeks after the marathon.
The “ugliest” looking shirt is this one. I mean, seriously?
I did keep my Run Disney long sleeve shirts but only because I wear them at night when I go to sleep. That extra layer keeps me warm throughout the cold Chicago winters.
I know some runners have had quilts made from their race shirts and I kind of regret not saving mine. Seeing hers made me want to have one for me so you bet I will start saving my shirts. Pretty cool right? This one is from Kimberly who blogs at KookyRunner.
Do you keep your race shirts? For you or to make a quilt as well?