Q&A–Mostly, “What’s Next???”

Let’s start today with a few Qs/As from this weekend’s race. Writing is SO much easier when prompted. Does anyone want to set up a daily interview segment? I have lots to say when asked!

(Qs paraphrased because some were in person and others I’m too lazy to look up)

Q: Where’d you stash your keys (for the questionably parked-and-ditched car) and gels and crap? That bum wrap aint got no pockets!


recycled pic in the 2012 pocket-less BW

  • A: It’s true mine doesn’t have a pocket, but the new Spring13 ones do! I shoved my key down the back of my sports bra – safely sandwiched between spandex and skin and thank god didn’t chafe – and held my gel in my hand, which I usually do anyway. It warms it up, making it more liquidy and easy to swallow. Plus it gives me something to fiddle with when I’m bored.

Q: Did you run with your phone?

  • A: I  rarely do, but needed it for post-race and didn’t want to bag check so I did Sunday. I don’t use it for music or anything so I zipped it into a snack-size baggie to keep it sweat-safe and was just going to hold it, before discovering the perfect little pocket for it under my armwarmer thumbole. Baby fit in there like a glove! I never worried a second about it and no I don’t want one of those dang arm bands or a belt thing.


excuse the horrific quality – used laptop cam since it’s hard to take a pic of your phone when your phone is also your camera…


it’s hidden in there, swear

Q: Why are you so terrible at updating your “What’s Coming Up” section? What’s next??

  • A: Uhhh, I hadn’t updated it because I didn’t have anything to put there. It’s fixed now.

upcoming cap

true story : I’m not registered for anything right now

* and now we dive into the real meat tofu and potatoes of the post *

My goal this spring was to focus on the half, a race I’d run many times but never trained exclusively for. I ran two very solid races (Eugene and M2B), resulting in back-to-back PRs, and accomplishing one of my “long list” goals – a sub-1:40 half. So, Spring mission accomplished. Happy runner.

The question now, perpetually haunting all runners the world wide after a race, is “what’s next??”

Near-sighted answer : Rest. All week. A complete recharge if you will. I have a few small ‘niggles’ that I want completely cleared before I start running again. Although mentally I feel GREAT and ready to tackle the next big adventure like “COME ON LET’S GO RIDE THIS POST-RACE ADRENALINE TRAIN!” I know my body deserves/wants a rest.

learn how to train smart, and what works best for YOU” <—- another goal, CHECKED.

Far-sighted answer : I am leaning towards a fall marathon. I think. Maybe. I don’t know. I mean DAMN I’m ready to shave those two minutes five seconds from my time and add that ever-elusive “BQ” to my running resume, but I’m trying to make sure I want it for the right reasons.

Lauren HOTR wrote in her post about deciding against running VCM that :

“…The number of marathons I’ve completed has way less meaning to me than the time on the clock at the end. I know not everyone agrees with this way of thinking. But the reality is that I don’t really think marathons are all that fun. It’s this competition against the clock and myself that keeps me motivated through 26.2 miles of pain.”

(sidenote: I love LBC’s spirit towards running. Her competitiveness keeps me grounded and reminds me that you can truly LOVE running, without OMG-pink-puffy-heart loving every step. Sometimes the pleasure really is in the pain.)

I’m very open about my hatred for the marathon. Be it scars from races that burned me, my notorious stance against long runs, or what, I just haven’t fallen for 26.2. But for some reason – stubborn pride? resilient stupidity? defiance against being told “no”? – I keep coming back. I’ve made seven tries (eight if you count the DNF at CIM), each one with a many glaring blemishes simultaneously scaring me away and pulling me in as temptation to try again. Optimism towards improvement. “The next one could be better!”


marathon #5 – my first sub-4, only negative split, and (still) the only one I didn’t walk in. perfect, until “maybe I’m faster than that” sets in…

You disastrously menacing little minx. I hate you. I love you. But mostly hate.

Yet here I find myself slipping down that path again, blinded by finish line memories  drowning out the utter misery that lead up to them. Itching for redemption and validation. Lost without a goal race circled on my calendar some number of Sundays from now.

But I want to make sure I’m 100% ready to reunite with the marathon when the time does come. With a full commitment to addressing, and overcoming, our differences. Accepting the past scorn with a balance of concrete bygones and fire in the rearview.

Frank Shorter’s popular advice is slightly contradicted by the necessity to “learn from your mistakes”, in my opinion, but I get it, Frank. I’ll try.

“You have to forget your last marathon before you try another. Your mind can’t know what’s coming”  –  Frank Shorter

I’m going to spend the next few weeks slowly transitioning back into running, and see where I find my head/heart wandering most. Am I gutting through a final track repeat, sprinting through a 5k finish line, pulling ropes on runner backs at mile 23? Where does the strongest desire lie, and is it fleeting or can it withstand the ups and downs of a full-blown, balls-out training cycle?

Sarah OUaL

11 thoughts on “Q&A–Mostly, “What’s Next???”

  1. Smart decision OUaL. The only reason I ran with the unicorn train to keep really “training” post -Eugene (I ended up taking umm, like 3 days off the next week..terrible…I normally do two weeks of absolutely no running then easy running for 2 weeks-1 month) is because I know my days are numbered…

    Can’t wait to see “what’s next” for you! I predict big PRs, whichever distance you choose.


  2. I love that quote from Frank Shorter… it is SO true! And I totally agree with Lauren… I’d rather have awesome races (whether they are PR’s or just scenic courses) than run just for the heck of it. Plus, it’s expensive to race all the time, haha! Have fun with your training :)


  3. Wait… is the guy with the red “X” on him “annoying and dangerous”, or is holding the phone “annoying and dangerous”?


    • Haha! No! I don’t know who that is, but I’m sure he’s lovely and not “annoying and dangerous”. I meant on the left I’m holding my phone in my hand, on the right it’s tucked up safely in my armwarmer-thumbhole pocket.


  4. Great quote! So true….

    I am with you on not running marathons “for fun.” They are way too painful to do without a reason. It sounds like you’ve got the right idea by taking some downtime to decide. Can’t wait to see which race it is when you do!

    PS if you decide to do a half marathon come down to San Diego for the America’s Finest City in August – we might as well see each other at yet another race!


  5. haha I always tie things to myself using hair ties or something and I usually tie my car key to my shoelaces or duct tape it to the side of my shoe so it doesn’t bounce around, I don’t know if these methods would be secure for a whole marathon though


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