Friday, March 19, 2010

Running into Spring

Daylights savings time on Sunday. Temps soaring past 60 degrees mid-week. Wearing shorts because it's almost too hot to layer up to walk to the gym (but don't ask why I wasn't doing my workout outdoors instead of in). Winter might be set to rear it's ugly face around Chicago less than 24 hours from now, but I can still relish in the spring signals which actually make me believe--for once--that the vernal equinox actually is tomorrow. Usually I'm relying on the running calendar to remind me of spring's arrival since several events tend to take place the weekend after spring's start.

But with its start on a Saturday for the first time I can remember--or at least since I started running and paying attention to event calendars so as not to miss my favorite races--spring's start hearkens a weekend of races around the country. Here's a few that I'll have my eyes on:
  • Shamrock Shuffle. If you live in Chicago, it's really hard not to forget this race on Sunday. And it's even earlier than usual this year--whether that was in hopes of avoiding another snow shuffle from 2009, getting runners excited and out racing earlier in the year, or rearranging because of the Easter holiday, I can't say. But Chicago runners have seriously seemed excited about this race since registration opened on New Year's Day and the excitement has only escalated in March between the Run Lucky run hosted by Nike, training runs around the city (thanks Fleet Feet Facebook announcements), and the super awesome weather we were blessed with this week.
  • LA Marathon. I wish I knew why I always forget that the City of Angels hosts a marathon every March. Maybe that's because I'm totally not tuned into the California running scene, aside from my sister encouraging me to run San Diego's Rock 'n' Roll Marathon, and because the LA race is not part of the World Marathon Majors that I tend to keep my eye on for the speed demons and the fact that Chicago's race hypes up the competition (at least in my opinion). Anyway, I might have to consider this sold-out race in the future: its course hits the streets from Dodger Stadium to the beach.
  • NYC Half Marathon. If you want to run 13.1 miles across Manhattan, or more specifically from Central Park to lower Manhattan, Sunday is the day to do it. The New York Road Runners organize half marathons through the city's five boroughs during the year, and while the Manhattan edition was previously run in August--or was the case in 2009 at least--it gets an earlier spot on the calendar this year. And per usual, Deena Kastor will be running and gunning for a speedy time that will prep her for a hopeful win in London come April.
  • National Marathon and Half Marathon. Whether you want to run 26.2 miles, 13.1 miles or gather a group together for a running relay, the nation's capital welcomes running in full force on Saturday.
  • March Madness Half Marathon. This race sold out in less than five hours on New Year's Eve, and with 1,000 spots available, it's a popular one for Boston-bound Chicagoans, those looking for an early season half marathon, or runners who want to risk the weather for a longer run--had to say that with Sunday's expected forecast and had to include this one since I'll be running and hoping to survive. Expect a race report next week.
Now I know there are far more running races out there than these. What are some that you're participating in this weekend? Photo grabbed from qivn at flickr. Posted by Kate

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