Let's hear it for fall races

I stumbled upon a new runner blog today, and immediately I’m liking this woman. How could you not, when she shares she fell no fewer than five times during her very first trail half-marathon. I love that she puts that out there. Also, I’m pretty certain this will be me in a few weeks.

I keep thinking I’ve got to keep my race momentum going following the women’s half marathon in Eugene over Labor Day weekend. So this week, amid the flurry of busyness that is getting three kids back into the school routine and switching around my work schedule to accommodate said kids’ school routine, I’m determined to get registered. I’ve been pondering which race(s) I’ll tackle this fall. “Are you looking to do a fall marathon?” a friend asked after I told him about my race experience out west and how I wanted to line up another race date. “No, just a half,” I responded, though my mind then started going in the direction of, “well, maybe I should do a fall marathon…” There’s always Detroit, and they just revealed this year’s shirt designs…

But seeing as how it’s hard enough fitting in training for a half marathon at this time in my life, I just can’t envision running 26.2 in the coming weeks. Though spring is a different story…but that’s another post. There are so many great fall races to choose from (I’m super bummed to be missing this weekend’s Harvest Stompede, which takes you through Leelanau County vineyards and hello, combines my loves of running and wine, but it just isn’t in the cards for me this year. A couple of friends are running this race, however, so I hope to get their re-caps posted here). This is what I’m thinking for this fall, and yes, I am asking for a little input here.

* Sunday, Oct. 3: Bestie Valley Half Marathon in Thompsonville, MI. Extremely low-key race — we’re talking minimal spectators, flat loop course, an event even its race directors say “isn’t conveniently located” — that’s sure to be gorgeous given the fall colors. I like that it’s within an hour of my house, and I found out the resort at which the race is begins — Crystal Mountain — offers a sweet lodging discount for race participants. I’m in the process of trying convince my husband to make it a family weekend away. We’d stay in a two-bedroom condo, complete with a fireplace and full kitchen, and there’s an indoor pool on site that I know we’d all love. The up side to being married to a non-runner: he watches the kids while I train and race, and I don’t worry about him fitting in a running schedule of his own. The down side: as supportive as he is of my running, he can’t always disguise the “really? another race? so soon?” look that washes over his face when I mention hey honey, I have a running idea I’d like to discuss with you.

* Saturday, Oct. 9: Vasa Trail Race in Traverse City, MI. Signing on for this one is a no-brainer, since it’s practically out my back door (though it means I’ll miss the inaugural Harbor Springs Marathon and Half, unfortunately). Last year I ran the 5k, and though I wasn’t dressed as warmly as I should have been, I felt I did pretty good considering it’s one hilly course. Here’s where I’m wavering: this race also has a 10k and 25k course. I’d thought I’d run the 10k this year, but then I bought my new shoes. I was in the running store, chatting it up with the manager (the one who has ran many, many marathons and half marathons and even ultras and is the kindest, most humble guy around) and he said something that made me think twice about my 10k plan. “You should do the 25k. You’ll be ready for it, having just done the half marathon in Oregon. Yeah, you have to do the 25k.” Something about the way he said he made me think, yeah, why not? I have actually done a 25k before…though it was a flat, paved course and not a hilly trail one. Still.

Just one of the many beautiful pieces created by The Silver Maple

So what do you all think? Should I go for the 25k trail race? I’m leaning that way, but I wouldn’t mind a little motivation <hint, hint> To give you a bit of encouragement to post, I’ve talked with Jacque Eiden of The Silver Maple — creator of really beautiful hand-crafted runner jewelry — about offering a pretty cool deal to my readers. I absolutely adore the Eugene, Oregon commemorative necklaces Jacque created for Juliette and me, and I would love to see my fellow runner friends enjoy one of their own. Believe me when I say that countless compliments — from friends, family members, even strangers — will come your way when you wear one of these necklaces. They’re just that cool. So, comment here after this post and I’ll send to you a special coupon code to receive 25% off your order at The Silver Maple. Your comments can be about what you think I should tackle, the 10k or 25K — as well as what your next race is and why you chose to run it. I’d love to hear what everyone’s fall race schedule looks like.

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