Do you race wisely?

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Let’s face it: there are times when all the stars align and training goes well and you have a fabulous race.

And then there are the times it wasn’t a good idea to even start training — and if you stopped to think about it, you knew it. How did your race go then? Thought so.

Although to be honest, some of my most stressful training cycles have produced good races. It’s smart to choose your races wisely, though. You want to have a smile on your face when you’re finished!

Is it your busy time at work?
If you’re an accountant, it might not be the wisest decision to train for an April marathon. Of course, running off the stress of tax season might be just the ticket for you.

Know yourself; know if you thrive on the pressure of training hard while life is crazy or you have a habit of skipping runs because life is crazy and then you have a less than stellar racing experience.

Are you facing a major life change?
A job change. A move. A new edition to your family. A marriage. All of these events are majorly stressful and usually throw us some curveballs, too. When life is crazy, running often becomes something we have to do, rather than something we get to do — and it leaves us burned out in the end.

Heat loving or loathing?
A Fall marathon can sound pretty enticing. Colorful leaves, crisp Fall air . . . but you’re going to be logging a lot of summer miles, too. Are you more likely to skip a hot and humid run, or shorten your long runs if the heat gets to you?

A longer spring race sounds pretty good, too, but you’ll be training through the winter. Depending on where you live, that could mean running through extreme cold and snow, or having to endure a lot of treadmill runs.

What about the course?
Are you a flatlander who won’t run on the treadmill? A hilly race may not be your best choice.

Do you live at sea level? A race at elevation is absolutely doable (I’m about to tackle my second) but you need to consider if your goals align with a race that may or may not be slower than you want due to that elevation.

Big or small?
If you’re a runner who struggles with social anxiety at large races, Vegas or NYC or Boston probably aren’t the right choice for you.

If you need a crowd to draw energy from a small local race may leave you feeling deflated.

There is no perfect time to train
Just as there is no perfect race. Life will always throw us curveballs and the weather can be unpredictable and wacky at any time of year. You always have to be prepared for the unexpected.

No training cycle is ever perfect, and most of the time you may need to skip a run or shorten a run on occasion.

You can stack the odds in your favor, though, by putting some thought into the races you choose and racing wisely.

Talk to me:

Do you put a lot of thought into the races you choose to run?

Have you picked a race at a time that you knew wasn’t a good time for you to train?

Ever regretted picking a race because of training through a season you don’t enjoy?

I’m linking up with with MCM Mama Runs, Marcia’s Healthy Slice, and My No Guilt Life for the Tuesdays on the Run linkup.

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This week I am also joining up with Running on Happy, Suzlyfe, Crazy Running Girl, and Coach Debbie Runs each week for the Coaches’ Corner linkup

coachescorner

How Choosing a Race is like . . .

. . . Adopting a Rescue

If you read yesterday’s Weekly Wrapthen you’ll understand why this is so much on my mind.

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Sometimes you have to read between the lines

I put a lot of thought into choosing my halfs. I do some research — reading the race Website, checking out any reviews I can find. And I have come to learn that you have to read between the lines.

Gently rolling hills

Expect wicked steep hills, most likely at mile 11 or 12 (or both) for halfs.

Sparse spectator support

Expect some people at the beginning and the end of the race, but be prepared for long periods of running all by your lonesome.

If you’re a slower runner like me, don’t expect that there will be the promised goodies at the finish line. Or water at water stops. Or even medals sometimes!

It can be a tricky business, choosing a race.

It can be even trickier adopting a rescue dog
Don’t get me wrong: I feel very strongly about adopting rescue dogs, and this experience hasn’t soured me on that. Too many wonderful dogs are euthanized because there is just no home for them. Have your heart set on a purebred dog? You’d be surprised at the number of purebreds in shelters.

But you do have to read between the lines in rescue site posts, too, or when you’re talking with an owner. Please learn from our mistakes!

Here are a few of the things we were told:

But he got along great with my dog & cats.

My guess is it’s true. My guess is the other animals in her home didn’t push his buttons and learned how to avoid him or let him have his way. Or weren’t in his face all the time; Lola and Gizmo tend to be near me a lot, and they see no reason to avoid him — even though Lola seemed nervous around him sometimes, and indeed, threw up a couple of times early in the morning — I think sleeping in the same bed with him, which we allowed at first, made her nervous.

My husband just wanted to give him to a shelter.

This should have rung a warning bell for me. The woman was in the middle of a divorce, so I just thought the husband didn’t care about animals. My suspicion is that Bandit displayed guarding behavior with the husband. He’d make a great guard dog.

He’s slow to warm up to people, especially men.

There’s a huge difference between slow to warm up and attacking a female vet.

He can be nippy with strangers, especially the ones who are fearful.

Again, a huge difference between “nippy” and a dog that attacks. If I hadn’t worked so hard training Lola and Chester, I could easily have seen them becoming like this.

The other potential adopters I talked with were really bad. He likes you.

You people are suckers. And, I guess, we were.

You learn something from every experience
I learned that I really liked the vets we met with. I’ve learned that we will never, ever, ever, ever do a private adoption again (yes, Taylor, I’m channeling you).

I’ve learned in hot races I need to carry at least some water with me, because I can’t count on water at water stops. I’ve learned that RDs love to put hills at the end. I’ve learned that sometimes the promised food will be available to me at the finish — and sometimes it won’t.

Talk to me in the comments. Please don’t judge (even though I’m pretty sure you won’t) — I’m getting enough of that already. Anyone who truly knows me knows that I go way above and beyond for my furkids.

What have you learned about choosing races?

What phrases on race Websites have you learned to interpret?

Are your runs suffering due to the heat?

I’m linking up with with MCM Mama Runs, Marcia’s Healthy Slice, and My No Guilt Life for the Tuesdays on the Run linkup.

Tuesdays on the Run