So, I was sitting at my desk at work, working away and I saw a little email pop-up from the St. Louis Marathon and the subject line had to do with a finalized course for the 2010 race.
Now, I get emails from the St. Louis Marathon every so often... telling me all kinds of bullshit info, like... the half marathon is almost sold out, their new charitable initiatives, registration fee increases, etc. And normally, I send every one of these emails directly to my trash folder.
But for some reason, I opened the one today... and I immediately experienced this rush of nostalgia. I clicked the link and went to the map and started thinking about the race and the course last year, I fondly remembered running through Forest Park, and recognizing that I had been there the previous two days playing golf and visiting the zoo. I started thinking about how I didn't accomplish my goal (sub 4:00... ridiculous goal, btw) but that I did shave 30 minutes off my previous PR and felt the best I'd ever felt with 4 miles left to go in the race. And then I thought about the entire weekend in St. Louis... the food (Ted Drewes Frozen Custard, OMG), the anticipation of the race, the gracious hospitality of my friends parents that I stayed with and in all this reminiscing, it hit me... THAT's why I run marathons.
Lately... I haven't done that. The past 2 marathons I've ran have been training runs... I've gotten up the morning of the race, driven to the start... ran the race and drove home. Sure, they were both awesome races (particularly the Monkey... EVERYONE should run a small, challenging hometown races, if available). And the ultra I ran was special, because of the distance, but I didn't really treat the weekend as a "destination race." I also spent most of the Saturday and Saturday night FREAKING out about the weather and the mud.
St. Louis was a destination marathon... just like Eugene and Grizzly and Madison and there is just something so much more special to me about the destination marathon. Even though Eugene was probably one of the worst race experiences I'll ever have (or at least, thus far)... I still have awesome memories of the trip in general (and even some parts of the race).
Obviously, I love training for and running marathons, so I can't make every marathon a destination race. But there is something to be said for running in new places and different cities. It turns the race into more than a race, but a true experience. I think heading to Big Sur next month will definitely perk me back up. And who knows... maybe I can PR, but even if I don't.. I'll still have a kick ass time afterwards getting drunk at wineries in Napa and schlepping around downtown San Francisco.
On tap this weekend: 20 mile training run with the Striders on Saturday and a 10 mile run with some Striders on Sunday.