Friday, June 7, 2013

Beating the Odds - Setting Up My Fall Racing Season

As summer quickly approaches, I've been consumed with thoughts about how I want to plan my training and the races I'd like to target.  With so many big fall marathons, it makes to difficult to plan too early, since the registration process is typically the most difficult part of getting into those races.  While I love smaller races and the fun of just being able to show up and do my thing, I have a growing bucket list of races that I consider "must run" - among them: Boston, NYC, Chicago, MCM, Big Sur, and San Diego.

The New York City Marathon to me, is the quintessential example of a bucket list race.  The hype, mass amounts of people, big city running, endless crowds, and overall history of the race makes it among the most special in my eyes.  And while it can be frustrating to apply to the lottery for the race and repeatedly get shut out, I think the slim chance of making it is worth entering it each year.  This year was my 3rd try at the lottery.  When I first started putting my name in the hat, I figured if I didn't get in after 3 tries, I'd have a guaranteed entry on the 4th try as part of the NYRR's policy for the race.  Well in 2011, along with a handful of other changes, that policy was removed.  I was resigned to just keep entering in the hopes that one year I'd get in.  With last year's eventual cancellation due to Hurricane Sandy and the resulting slots going to those who wished to use their 2012 spot to race in 2013 (estimated at 19,000 runners), I knew my chances were slim.  I even registered for the Brooklyn Half, because I figured this year wasn't going to happen. But I still entered anyways, because I have just as good a chance as anyone.

So on May 29, when they were doing the actual lottery drawing, I was glued to the website.  Unlike previous years where it seemed like you found out pretty quickly, this one seemed to linger.  The drawing was to begin at noon.  So I hit refresh on my account every 15-30 minutes to see if the status would change.  I saw a lot of activity on social media with people wondering the same thing - was I selected?  Some were watching their bank accounts, others like me, watching their NYRR profile.  Well finally about 9 pm, I hit refresh and wouldn't ya know it, I GOT IN!

When I saw the results, I was nearly speechless. I didn't think it was official.  I needed more confirmation.  Then I got an email from NYRR notifying me that I had been accepted.  That was just what I needed.  If two things are saying I got it, then its gotta be true!

Runners World posted an article about the lottery for those interested in it.  They broke it down pretty cleanly, which makes it easy to digest.  About 4,500 slots were awarded through the lottery out of 33,000 entrants, which makes about a 13% chance of getting in. 

There will be 48,000 runners this year, which kind of scares the crap out of me, but also makes it exciting.  This is what I signed up for, so I know what I am getting into.  While it may not lead to the fastest time, I am going for the experience if nothing else.

So with my "A" race locked in, I am starting to look at some shorter races to build into my plans.   

Any locals have a favorite tune up race in the September/early Oct time frame that you consider a must run?  Anyone else racing NYC?

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