I started into a marathon training program a couple months ago after I wrapped up The Bear for the year and had a little rest time. A few weeks into the marathon program, I started charting out my race calendar for the upcoming several months and realized I needed to make some adjustments.
I knew that I definitely wanted to run the Thanksgiving half marathon in Atlanta and I had started planning to do my first full marathon with the Rock 'n' Roll series in Raleigh since I had a great time doing my first half marathon there back in April. The marathon will be in early April again and the Hal Higdon schedule I'm working from is an 18 week process, so I have some time before I delve into that. I also have time to work through a more rigorous training plan to prepare for the Atlanta half and try to cut some time off of what I ran in April, so the timing worked out very well and I'm pretty deep into training for the half at this point.
Around the same time as I was going through all that planning, I agreed to be an alternate on a team for the Tuna Run 200 relay race that tracks from Garner, NC to Atlantic Beach, NC. I didn't initially think much of it, but I recently found out that one of the 12 person team had to back out so I was on board. Even that seemed like something I wasn't overly invested in until I discovered that I was slated to run 3 legs that totaled over 22 miles in less than 24 hours.
That was an attention grabber.
The more I think about it, the more amped up I get to sink my teeth into this new kind of physical challenge. Even more fortuitous is that the race is in a great spot on my training calendar, allowing me some time to taper and recover. It will also be a new and interested wrinkle in my training to work on endurance in a different way.
For clarification, the race starts on a Friday morning, just outside Raleigh, NC and the 200 miles to the beach are broken up into legs of varying length for teams to assign. The regular teams, like the one I'm on, have 12 members who run relay style through the day and night to finish on Saturday afternoon in time to take in a beach party.
My sections are about 6, 7, and 8 miles respectively and are about 8-9 hours apart so I should be feeling pretty fresh for each one. Heading towards the coast, I imagine the terrain will be pretty flat for the most part, or at least flatter than what I'm used to running in, so I'm looking forward to that as well.
I love pushing my limits with running. That's what spurred me to run The Bear and it's what spurred me to pursue half marathons and now marathons. The Tuna Run will be a fun, new way to push my endurance in a different environment from the races I've done in the past. I've started working in some 2-a-day workouts to get ready for the short recovery periods and I'm going to keep looking for ways to shake up my training so keep an eye out here for updates and follow me on Twitter for some other real time training updates!