I'll start with the bad news first (because the good news is fantastic!). After 6 weeks of training for the 2014 OKC Memorial Marathon, I decided that I need to sit out this time. It was a hard decision to make, but I feel pretty good about it now. I've had recurring hip issues since mid-January, and none of my runs have been at the pace that they needed to be (10:16 or better). I am at an early enough point in my running career that I will not be happy with anything less than a PR in longer races. Maybe in a few years, after I've had more experience, I won't expect a PR every time (ex: I don't expect PRs in 5Ks now!). I don't want to spend $120 on a race fee just to be disappointed with my results. I think that sitting out is wise. I came to this conclusion after my last long run. I was supposed to do 15 miles, but only managed 10.55. I was slow, my hips and feet hurt, and I got winded way too easily. I've taken roughly a week off from running. Starting either later this week or perhaps next Monday, I will begin a maintenance plan so that I don't lose my running base. I really think that the 5 week break that I took after the RT66 marathon is part of the cause of my hip troubles. My hip flexors tightened up, to the point where it was hard to even walk. After a week off, things are much better. I'm giving it a few more days so I can be sure that things are in proper working order. I've been stretching and foam rolling a lot. So that's that.
Because I'm not doing the Memorial, my options for a fall marathon have opened up a little bit. There are 2 local possibilities: The Andy Payne Marathon around the 2nd week of September, or the HITS marathon on Oct 12. I had planned to do HITS because there wasn't enough time between the Memorial and starting to train for Andy Payne, and HITS starts and ends less than 5 mins away from my apt. I would just stick with the schedule as-is, except that I found 24 The Hard Way, on Oct 25. It's a 24 hour ultramarathon, with 12 and 6 hour options. Now, obviously, I can't do HITS if I want to do 24 the hard way. 2 weeks between them isn't enough time. Also, I know that I can't do 24 hours, but I'd like to think that 12 is possible. But maybe I should shoot for 6 on the first time? I really like the idea of doing Andy Payne in September, the SoS half in early October, and then 24 the hard way at the end of October. Andy Payne got some poor reviews last year, mostly because of a lack of water stops. Since I always do longer runs/races with a fuel belt, it likely wouldn't be a huge issue for me. But those issues are something to think about. They also haven't yet posted any details about this year's race, and I don't want to plan for a race that won't happen.
Now for the super great news: I bought a road bike!
I named her Luna (after HP's Luna Lovegood). She's a 44cm 2013 Specialized Dolce Elite Compact. I got a great deal on her because she's last year's model. I was looking at Trek Lexas and the lowest level Specialized Dolce, but this bike fell into the price range because of the discount. I am so excited! I've only gotten to ride her twice. I only have one pair of cycling shorts; I've ordered more clothes. I still need to get the hang of shifting, because I'm not really sure that I'm doing it right. I mean, I know how to shift, but I'm not sure that I'm in the correct gear. I need to make some cycling friends. I found a beginner ride put on by the Oklahoma Bicycling Society called the Donut ride. I think I want a couple more weekends on my own before I try to join them, but I definitely want to ride with them a few times. I am signed up for a Tour de Cure in OKC on June 21. (Please support me if you can!) My uncle is really into TdC in Tampa, and he's coming all the way out here to ride this one with me. Other than that, I think I'd like to try duathlons. I don't have time to add swimming in until after I graduate in 2016, so triathlons are out for now. I found a du in May called March in Okarche-it's a 5K run/30K bike/5K run. I think that I could do it, but after looking at a video of the race from 2012, I'm not so sure. Cyclists are a little intense lol. If that doesn't work out, there's also a du in July that I could try. I am so excited about Luna! :D