The real question is...train for a marathon or not?
I certainly think I can accomplish my goal of running a marathon in less than 4:30 and I think I can do it this year, assuming I can get into a marathon this Fall. MCM and New York might be longshots in the lottery, but I bet I could get into Richmond or some other smaller event. In any case, it isn't a question of whether I can physically pull it off or whether I could find a marathon to run in. The problem is whether or not I can find the time to do the training. It is hard enough to make the time to run 10 miles on a Saturday morning, what happens when I need to run 15 or 20 or try a few practice runs doing the full 26.2? How many Saturdays am I willing to give up to do this? Is it even remotely fair to ask my wife and son to accept that I will spend so much of my time running? What won't get done because I am out on the running path and won't be back until dinner time? Can I juggle work, family, and marathon training?
I am reluctant to say that I can. I think it would be very, very tough to do this and be successful. Again, I can run the marathon, but would my family grow to hate my running? How supportive can I really ask them to be? How much can I really expect them to be willing to deal with? I won't even begin to think about the potential for running more than one marathon.
Let's say a marathon is out, at least for now. What distance should I focus on then? I could stick to 10 milers or go back to 10Ks (not that I'm some 10K expert) and work on getting faster at those distances. I can still fit in 20-25 miles a week or more, but maybe just even out the training a bit so that I am distributing the miles in a more even fashion. Right now, I run three times a week. First two runs are 5-6 miles and the weekend run is 10+. Maybe I should get back to running four times a week and stick to 5-6 miles each time. That would put me in great position for 10Ks and I could do an 8 mile run on the weekends as my endurance run. If I feel good, then I can always stretch that out to 10 or 12 or something like that.
I need to strike a balance, I think, but I also need a goal to shoot for or I find it difficult to be motivated. I have this 10 Miler coming up and I've been able to run 20+ miles a week for the past few weeks, so I am pretty happy with where I am at. But, what is next? Again, I've got the half marathon coming up and then...nothing. Maybe I should find a middle distance race in the early summer and shoot for getting a PR on my race pace. Fastest race pace I've had was in my first 5K, where I cranked an 8:10/mi. Not that fast, really. Maybe I should try a few 5Ks and see if I can't get that down to 7:30/mi or faster.
All that being said, I would still love to do a marathon some day.