Oorah (part 2) or Fuggedaboutit? My Fall Marathon Dilemma, and a Decision

In Spring of 2010, I was in training for my first marathon, Rock ‘N Roll San Diego.  While training, I decided to enter the lottery for the NYC Marathon in November, figuring that if I got in it would be something to keep me running the latter part of the year.  I knew that San Diego would not be my only marathon.  I found out in April that I did not get picked in the lottery, and either that same day or only a couple days later at Girls on the Run practice (I was coaching at the time), my fellow coach and friend Courtney busted out the news that she signed up for Marine Corps Marathon (her first) that day.  Registration for MCM had just opened earlier that day, and I knew that it would sell out within a few days.  I decided that since I didn’t get into NYC that MCM was a logical choice to replace it as a fall marathon.

Being my first marathon, San Diego was tough.  I finished in just over six hours! In all the training you put in beforehand, it’s humbling to get out there and actually run the distance.  Going into MCM in October I wanted to improve on that time, but it was still only my second marathon, and I didn’t know the course.  I did improve my time, and set my PR which still stands, 5:46 and change.  Still a number I want to beat, and I came within two minutes in Philly in November, so I know I have it in me.

Earlier this year when I wrote my list of goals for the year, I said I want to PR in a race.  I knew very much so that this specific goal was geared toward the marathon, I just didn’t want to put it in writing.  With that in mind, I started to think about what marathon (or marathons) I wanted to do, and after thinking it through realized that my best chance for a PR are on a course I’ve run before.  MCM became the logical choice for so many reasons – the registration fee is affordable, it’s not a lottery, I’ve PR’d there, and the course is amazing.  If it’s not on your bucket list, it should be.

Registering for MCM has been on my mind for the last month or two. But I recently received an email that slightly complicated my thought process for my marathon plans. You see, every year since 2010 I’ve continued to apply for the NYC lottery, and every year I’ve not gotten in. The long-standing lottery guidelines for NYC had a clause that if you’ve applied three consecutive years and were not gotten selected in the lottery, the fourth consecutive year you are guaranteed entry (**side-note – for runners that began applying for the lottery in the past one or two years, or start this year, this clause no longer applies; I believe the year I began applying was the only year that they offered this for in a “grandfathered” manner). After the debacle that the NYC Marathon organizers created in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, my desire to run NYC diminished. Plus, with all the 2012 runners having the option to elect to run the event in 2013, I did not anticipate the event to have the space to accommodate lottery runners. The email I received several weeks ago clarified that after factoring in all the 2012 runners selecting to run in 2013, they cut back the spaces for qualifying times entrance, and that those runners whom were in my bucket or did the 9 NYRR events would receive guaranteed entry.

Two catches – MCM and NYC are one week apart, and combined the two events would easily exceed $500 in expenses between registration fees, hotel and other stuff.  So now I have been wrestling myself to decide what to do.  With MCM registration opening tomorrow, and the expectation that it will sell out in less than two hours, I am down to the final few hours to decide. Honestly, with only a small window to have a chance to apply for MCM, my decision may be made for me just by the logistics of the situation, however I do want to have this decision be mine, not a computer’s.

So today I’ve been weighing the pros and cons of each, so here are the highlights:

Marine Corps Marathon

NYC Marathon

Pros

Cons

Pros

Cons

  • Lower registration cost
  • More affordable hotel
  • Likely to PR
  • Familiar with course
  • Well-organized
  • Further drive from home
  • May not get in/will it go to lottery next?
  • Closer to home
  • Guaranteed entry
  • Once in a lifetime run
  • Could consider not staying in the city
  • Expensive registration
  • NYC hotel costs
  • Will not PR

So what is the verdict? DRUMROLL……

I’m going to do NYC, and will look into a local September, early October or December marathon which I can focus on for the PR I want to get.  There is a marathon in the Lehigh Valley in September, Steamtown in Scranton in early October, and in December there is a marathon in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware which I would be able to stay at my family’s beach house for.

If it was your decision, which marathon would you choose?

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9 thoughts on “Oorah (part 2) or Fuggedaboutit? My Fall Marathon Dilemma, and a Decision

  1. I’m not to the marathon point of my running career but one of my besties, Vic, is running the NYC marathon in November so if I were to choose, I’d choose that one. Although I’ll be weary/interested to see how this year’s race goes after the bad press that they got in 2012 from the Hurricane Sandy debacle.

    I love that with runs you can say “there’s always next year” – that’s what I’m doing with Ragnar this year, though it pains me to do so!

    • Yes I know Vic (via Twitter!) and it was nice to hear her support of my choice 🙂
      It took me a few years of half marathons to get to the point of wanting to run a marathon so never rule it out! I am a little leery of what the crowd response will be in the areas affected most by Sandy, but a year will have passed so hopefully it will be moot.
      I LOVE Ragnars! I’ve done the PA one twice and will be doing Canada in June. I might be doing Key West in February but that’s not set in stone.

      • Vic is everywhere! 😉

        I haven’t ruled it out, I just figure that I might as well start enjoying the half distance a bit more before I sign up for a full. Maybe 2015??? Maybe.

        I was bummed to hear that the PA Ragnar wasn’t happening this year but it just makes the anticipation that much sweeter for next year.

  2. oh my gosh YAY! I just saw your post and am thrilled to know that you chose NYC! Honestly, I had the same dilemma this year but rather quickly realized I’d likely never have another chance to run NYC, so chose accordingly. You now have a carbloading date!
    (PS, my bestie is Jeneresa above!)

    • I think the fact that never again would I be guaranteed was the biggest factor in my decision. I kept checking the MCM site today and it’s a relief that I didn’t put pressure on myself to register because the site was overwhelmed and barely loaded. It’s meant to be!

      • That was my number one deciding factor as well. I highly doubted I’d ever have the chance to run NYC again, so now is the time! I am also so glad I didn’t have to deal with the MCM registration nonsense yesterday. A friend of mine spent over 2 hours refreshing. Finally got in minutes before the sellout was announced.(thank goodness!)

  3. While I personally have NO urge to ever do NYC, I’d do it if I were you. You’ve tried to get in three times, and if you miss your guaranteed entry chance, you may not get in for 10+ years at this rate. Plus, you’ve already done MCM.

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