Running this summer has been a struggle, partially because I'm trying to get back in shape (always an uphill battle), but mostly due to mid-Atlantic summertime heat and humidity. This now my 6th summer in DC, so I've come to expect this weather, but that doesn't mean I like it. But I'm sticking to rule #1 of exercise, which is that if you keep doing it, it will get better.
And I need it to get better because my first race since ummmm (I can't even remember the last time I raced...oh wait Rock 'n' Roll USA Marathon in March 2013) is a 200-mile relay. Myself and 23 other crazies are fielding two teams for Reach the Beach in New Hampshire in September.
This will be my fifth road relay, and third overnight relay. (You can read about all the madness: River to Sea 2010, River to Sea 2011, Ragnar Relay 2012, and American Odyssey 2013.) Basically I love any and all opportunities to turn running into a team sport. Get ridiculously sweaty in a van with 12 people and not sleep for 24 hours and run a total of 19 miles? Absolutely I am in!
We have not officially distributed our legs yet, but I'm probably going to run one of the longer sets -- I believe total distances in this relay range from 12ish to 22ish. For those of you not familiar with these relays, each team of 12 has two vans, everyone runs three times, and the legs vary in distance and difficulty. It sounds like torture, but trust me it's so fun! Who doesn't love a little bonding through shared adversity?
So how do you prepare for this kind of race? No one really knows. My plan is to continue building up mileage, interspersed with weekly hill repeats and 3-mile tempo runs. I did my longest run to date (10 miles) on Saturday, and my plan is to build up, increasing 1 mile per week, to at least a 15-miler by the end of August. And one of the best parts about so many of us signing up for this race is that I now have more running friends than before -- friends who kind of ran sometimes are now training (sometimes with me) and it is great. I always love more people to run with!
And that my friends is the full extent of my Fall Race Schedule as of now. If all goes well with training I'd like to find a few shorter races around Boston though. Maybe in October when the weather is nice. Maybe on trails (loooove trail races).