Sunday, June 19, 2016

Fear of Missing Out

There aren’t enough weekends for all the good races.

I say that a lot.  This weekend, I was reminded how true that is.  I was experiencing some serious FOMO as I saw the photos posted by various running friends.  There were all doing races that I’ve done before.  I wished I was there.

Let’s start with Grandma’s Marathon.  I’ve done this race five times.  I first ran it when there were only three marathons in Minnesota, and this one ranked among the top 10 in North America.  In addition to the marathon, Grandma’s weekend includes a half marathon and a 5K race.  In the past, there also used to be 8K or 5 mile races on Park Point.  Including these races, I’ve traveled to Duluth to race nine times.

I used to think of Grandma’s like it was a holiday weekend.  In the 1990s, my four favorite holidays were Christmas, Thanksgiving, New Year’s Day, and Grandma’s Marathon.

I ran Grandma’s Marathon, the Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon, or one of the Park Point races every year from 1989 to 1994.  In 1995, I was out of shape, not having run any marathons the previous year.  I still went to Duluth to watch the marathon, but I didn’t race that year.  As I watched the race, I felt like I should be out there running.  That motivated me to get back in shape.  I’ve done at least one marathon every year since then.

I last ran Grandma’s Marathon in 1997.  The following year, I started doing the FANS 24-Hour Run.  That race was held the following weekend, and I didn’t feel like I could do both.  Later, FANS was moved to the first weekend in June, but it was still only two weeks before Grandma’s.  I couldn’t recover from a 24-hour run in just two weeks.

FANS replaced Grandma’s as the race I attended almost every year.  Since 1998, I’ve done it 10 times.  I’ve also been there several times to crew or volunteer.  I missed it once, so I could run the Casper Marathon, which is on the same weekend.  Did I mention there aren’t enough weekends for all the good races?

Grandma’s wasn’t the only race this weekend that I would have loved to run.  A few of my friends were in Wyoming for the Bighorn Mountain Wild and Scenic Runs.

Photo credit: Shawn Severson

Photo credit: Shawn Severson

I was there for the 100 mile race the last two years.  It’s the most difficult race I’ve ever done.  In 2014, I was doing well, but my race ended after I fell into a stream during the night.

I returned in 2015, but I was still healing from a groin injury, so I wasn’t 100 percent.  To make matters worse, I didn’t get to train much in May.  That was supposed to be my peak month of training.  I gave it my best shot, but realized after 30 miles that I needed to drop.

I’m not currently in shape to do anything that long or that rugged.  This year, I’m focused on regaining my marathon form.  I’d love to try the Bighorn Mountain 100 again, but only if I’m ready.  It’s unclear whether I can be ready by next year.

Those weren’t the only races going on yesterday.  It was also the day of The Great Run on Great Cranberry Island in Maine.

Photo credit: Elizabeth Trask

Photo credit: David Goodrich

Photo credit: David Goodrich

This race has replaced the Great Cranberry Island 50K, which I ran in 2012.  Several of my friends were there this year, and I was jealous.  I was tempted to say, “I need to run that next year.”  Of course, I’d also like to do the Bighorn Mountain 100.  I’d also like to do FANS again.  Do I even need to say it?  There aren’t enough weekends for all the good races.

There are many more marathon than there used to be.  There are hundreds, perhaps thousands.  Still, I could probably do all my favorites if they were spread evenly throughout the year.  Some months are thin.  Others are congested.  There aren’t that many races in the summer or winter months, but there are tons of good races in late May and early June.

I’ve never done the Hatfield & McCoy Marathon.  All my friends rave about this race.  I’d love to do it, but when can I fit it in?  It’s in early June.  I also hear good things about the Deadwood Mickelson Trail Marathon.  I love the Mickelson Trail.  This race, unfortunately, is the same weekend as FANS.

My bucket list of international races includes Stockholm, Copenhagen, Luxembourg and the Great Wall of China.  You guessed it.  They’re all in late May or early June.

Late September and October are also busy.  I can’t do the Ely Marathon this year, because I’m doing Berlin that weekend.  I can’t do the Blue Ox Marathon because it’s the same weekend as Chicago.  I’d love to do the Budapest Marathon, but that’s also the same day as Chicago.  The Amsterdam Marathon conflicts with Des Moines.

Can we move some of these races to July or August?

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