TITLE: Running Half-Year in Review AUTHOR: Eugene Wallingford DATE: July 03, 2008 10:55 AM DESC: ----- BODY: I usually write year-end reviews of my running, to look back at accomplishments and disappointments and to think ahead to what the next year will be like. My 2007 review saw a tough January through May, a recovery in June, and then a good training season for the Marine Corps Marathon. I'm in a looking-forward mood as we reach the midpoint in 2008 because I have a decision to make. My running year started well, and at the end of April I was 140 miles ahead of my 2007 pace, though 130 miles behind my record pace from 2006. Then on May 2, the symptoms that set me back in 2006 returned. I stopped running in order to let my body get better. Unfortunately, the symptoms not gone away yet, but I eventually decided that if they weren't leaving I may as well run -- as long as I didn't feel worse. On June 9, I ran again, and I spent the next three weeks slowly building up my mileage, keeping a close eye on how I feel. I'm not getting worse and may have gotten marginally better, though I still experience the wrong kind of fatigue. After weeks of 15, 20, and 26 miles, I am on target to run 30 this week. Not much, by past standards, but it's a start. Sadly, while building back up, I was unable to run my now-traditional half marathon at our local summer festival. (I wasn't the only one ailing... After the horrible flooding that hit us last month, the festival had to trim its half marathon to a 10-miler.) The decision I have to make is this: Should I try to run a fall marathon this year? Even last year I did not have to think about this, because I recovered early in May and had two months to get back somewhere near normal in time for June through September training plan. But this week's 30 miles find me a week deep into July... I'm not strong yet, nor 100% healthy, and I'm not sure I am physically ready to take up the gauntlet. I also wonder if I am mentally ready. But the desire to rise up to the challenge is at least flickering. If I do go for it, this is the perfect year to aim for a marathon with no time goal -- just run it, finish, and feel that accomplishment. That would be a refreshing change for me. If I do go for it, I will keep it simple, stay close to home. I am considering the Des Moines Marathon or a much smaller event, the On the Road for Education marathon. At this point, I'm leaning toward the latter for a few reasons. I've never run a small marathon and am curious what it feels like to be out there mostly alone, not in a big crowd with a large audience along the route. It also has a later preregistration cutoff date, which allows a later decision and a smaller fee. Perhaps most important, though, is one lone week: Des Moines is October 19, and Mason City is October 26. At this point, an extra week for training may be worth a lot more than any money or support. I have to decide soon. -----