This week’s Tuesdays on the Run topic is whether or not you’re a “one and done” or repeat runner of various courses. I’ve done both and there are advantages and disadvantages to each. Thanks as always to Marcia, Erika and Patty for hosting our link up!
This weekend, I ran the Papillion Half Marathon for the second time, with an identical course for both events. A definite advantage to knowing the course was knowing that the last mile was uphill for over 50% of it. Yikes. I came into this race without any big goals other than to have a good time, as I took this training cycle a lot less aggressively than I have for my last two half marathons. I knew about the hills, so I trained to run those, but other than that, I just took this race on as a way to keep moving through the lingering winter and early spring. My only goal was to have a good time, which I did.
Like I talked about yesterday, my race was a little complicated by unusually bad allergies and the medications I needed to keep those at bay. On top of that, I don’t think I drank enough Saturday or during the race Sunday – especially with the added dryness from the allergy meds! I think that might explain the fact that I felt like I was working HARD (and my heart rate was way higher than usual for the pace I was running) even though I was running slower than I expected.
However, I did meet my last minute goals I’d set on the drive to the race: Pass a lot of people at the end and kill the hills! It was a gorgeous day, which also added to the overall enjoyment of the day despite the fact that I felt like the race was much tougher than I expected. My sore quads two days later can attest to the fact that I worked hard to kill those hills. This year, I finished in 2:46:51, about 5 minutes slower than last year, but I’m very satisfied with my effort all in all.
Advantages to running a course I’d run before:
- I knew the course, so I knew where the hills were.
- I knew the kind of support that would be available, both in terms of spectators (few, but dedicated) and aid stations (well staffed!).
- I knew exactly what the finish was like.
Those things helped me mentally, in terms of visualizing the finish, and in training and preparation for the race. It was the same with the second time I ran Des Moines – the familiarity can be good, especially for a PR.
There were, however, a couple of disadvantages to running this course again. Last year, I was charmed by the fact that I ran past several places I remembered from the early years of our marriage when Darrell and I lived in the area. This year, I noticed less of the charm and more of the fact that A LOT of what I was running through was barren sidewalk.
Another disadvantage to running a course again is the loss of the special little joy that comes from not knowing what is around the next corner. That’s one of my favorite parts of running different Disney races – the element of surprise (in nice ways, not evil uphill finish ways).
I think I’ll stick to a mix of “one and done” and repeat races, just because there are advantages to both approaches and frankly, most of my “one and done” have been races I traveled too. Cost makes it hard to get back and repeat those very often. 🙂 Despite the fact that this course lost a little of its charm for me, I still think it’s a nice little local race and a good time of the year for me to get moving in the winter so I’ll likely keep running it. I also just added a new race to my schedule that’s likely going to be a “one and done” because of its location – the Flying Pig half marathon (and 5K and 10K) next May. The mix of old and new keeps things interesting (and training for the hills of the Papillion Half Marathon will definitely help with the hilly Flying Pig course!).
Do you tend to run the same races over and over or do you mix it up?