So, I turned 38 today. As birthdays go, it's not one of the major ones, but now I'm starting to get nervous. Why? Because a couple of years ago I said "I want to run a full marathon before I turn 40". Note the use of the word "before". To achieve that goal, I get 2011 and 2012... any marathon I run in 2013 would almost certainly be after I turn 40. Grumble.
I had planned on achieving that goal this past year; I was registered for the 2010 San Francisco Marathon. Earlier in the year I managed to recover from a bout of IT Band Syndrome and ran the KP San Francisco Half Marathon and the Oakland Half Marathon, each in under 1:50:00. I was feeling good. After Oakland, I took a week off to recover (physically and mentally), and then started another ramp-up for SFM. But disaster struck -- The ITBS came back, and runs over 4 or 5 miles were excruciating. The worst part was the frustration... at not being able to complete what I considered easy runs... at not being able to stick to my plan... at the physical therapy regimen that wasn't working this time around... with myself for even having an overuse injury.
I became pretty discouraged. Running, rather suddenly, stopped being fun. Luckily, a friend at work prodded me into biking from SF to Cupertino, which eventually got me hooked up with SF2G. Between riding into work and pounding pedals on the spin bikes at the gym, I managed to keep my fitness up and finished the 2010 Bay To Breakers in 54:53. But I wasn't able to complete my marathon training and took a DNS.
So, fast forward to 2011... My foot race calendar has been settled: KP SF Half, Oakland Half, Bay To Breakers. After March, with the exception of Bay To Breakers (which should be easy, since I always keep at least one running day in my training plans), I really want to focus on cycling; do 3 or 4 big endurance events, lay the foundations for racing next year (and dabbling in some racing this year), and experiment with cyclocross when that season rolls around.
Which means, as far as the marathon goal goes, 2011 is shot to hell already.
Now, here's the rub... I'm not sure I want to commit to a training plan to prepare for a 2012 late-winter or early-summer marathon. The former overlaps with cyclocross season, and the latter overlaps with totally awesome Bay Area road cycling weather.
The upshot: I think it's time to adjust my goal. Of course I know that periodic reevaluation of one's goals is a good thing. But I have to admit that this one is a little tough to swallow. But one thing I don't want to happen: for running to stop being fun again.