It doesn't matter how many times I do it - I always get a bit of an adrenalin surge when I sign up for a race online. There's just something about punching in that credit card number and hitting "send" that makes me a bit tingly - I suppose it comes from knowing I've just plunked down some hard-earned cash for the privilege of running a prescripted course in exchange for some (hopefully shiny) racing swag and the chance to pin another bib number on my "wall of honor." On a deeper level, it comes from knowing I've committed myself to something bigger than me and that I need to keep my training honest and my mind focused on the goal.
I'm already good to go for the 15K portion of the Shamrock Run, so with the arrival of this month's paycheck I just signed up for the Fort Vancouver Run and the Timberline Half-Marathon. Fort Vancouver is a 15K, and Timberline is, well, a half-marathon - except that it has an extra 1.1 mile tacked onto it. I ran it last year and was blown away and swore I would run it every single year from then on except if I was dead. It was my very first trail race, and also my very first time running a trail! - and it was the most incredible race I've ever done, hands-down. Last year I walked a good deal of it and finished in about 3 hours and 45 mins.; this year I am aiming to run most of it and hopefully take about 15-20 mins. off that time. We shall see!
This weekend I head to Cannon Beach for a women's retreat - and I have every intention of getting a good run in both tomorrow and Sunday - beach running for the win! This should give my calves a good talking-to, so I am already anticipating some residual soreness early next week. Nothing I'm not already used to, trust me. Besides, I know if I end up a bit tender, it means I'm working it and improving my fitness level.
I am very much looking forward to it all.