Fame fades. Glory diminishes. It probably wasn’t more than 20 minutes after I finished running Boston before I was asked the inevitable question, “What’s next?”
[Amusing side note: Runner friends ask, “What’s your next race?” Everyone else asks, “So are you finally going to take a break?”]
What’s next for me is the biggest challenge I have faced to date. Over Memorial Weekend I will attempt to—literally—run across Georgia.
Run For The Heroes is a 260 mile “race” across the countryside of southern Georgia. I use the term race lightly as I won’t be competing against anyone except myself. Fifty-five miles of running a day for five days. Individual runners start on Wednesday. Relay teams head out on Friday. We all meet at the finish line on Sunday.
I’m a strong endurance runner but I’m not entirely convinced I can pull this off. I’m meeting a friend in Georgia this weekend for a training weekend consisting of running the last 30 miles of the actual race on Saturday and throwing in another 17-20 miles of running on Sunday. (Those screams you hear coming from the back of a Delta commuter plane on Sunday? That will be me, cramping.)
Assuming I make it through the Georgia race, I’ve got my sights set this year on reaching 100 miles in my favorite 24-hour run at Hinson Lake, accompanied by good friend and 93-mile finisher from last year, Cindy Barbour.
There are a few other local races I’d like to run this year and at some point I’ve got to run a half-marathon just to get a new PR. Right now, my standing PR is at a pace slower than the marathon I just ran.
One of the great appeals of running is that there is never a shortage of challenges. You can run longer and slower, shorter and faster, challenge yourself on an uphill course, battle obstacles, battle for time, battle to prove to yourself, time and again, that yes, you CAN do this.