“A goal without a plan is a wish” – Herm Edwards
I saw an episode of ESPN’s 30/30 when Herm Edwards, former NFL coach, used that quote, and it really resonated with me. These days, social media is full of motivational quotes, but every now and then one will mean something to me personally, and I store it in the wrinkle of my brain reserved for meaningful quotes.
I run year-round, changing the intensity during certain times of the year so I won’t get burned out, but people always ask me if I’m going to run this race or that race. The truth is, I’m a runner, not a racer. I run to stay in shape, but I think it’s important to pick a race and set a goal. My goal race is the one event a year I strive to do my best and leave it all on the course. I don’t compete against anyone in the race except myself, and each year I get tougher to beat.
I encourage everyone to set a fitness goal and make a plan to achieve it. My goal is to run a personal best in a half-marathon, and here are the reasons I choose to run the McAllen Marathon as my goal race.
Time of Year
The McAllen Marathon is typically the second or third Sunday in December and this makes it the perfect time of year for a long race. The average temperature in McAllen mid-December is about 60 degrees, and the humidity is relatively low. There are, of course, always exceptions, but I’ll take the odds of it being a cool, dry day in Mcallen in December every time. It’s usually that perfect temperature where it’s too cold when you’re standing at the start, waiting for the race to begin but too warm to be bundled up during the race. Give me a pair of gloves and maybe something to cover my ears and by mile three I’m cruising.
The time of year also lends itself well to a good 8-10 week training period. Once October hits, you’re about ten weeks out, and that’s the perfect time to ease into a well-planned training cycle. The days get shorter and the temperatures drop and those longer runs you have to put in to prepare are much more tolerable. My birthday is at the end of September so I use the last weekend of the month to have one last hoorah before dialing it in.
This is the fastest course you’re going to find in Texas. In fact, I would like to know if there’s a course with less elevation changes in the Country because I bet you’d be hard pressed to find one. Most runners in South Texas find it challenging to run hilly courses since we obviously don’t have the terrain to train for it. That being said, our RGV Trail Runners have found a way to train for trail races on the most challenging courses. I’ve gone on a few runs with them, and I was humbled very quickly. The fact that the McAllen Marathon is a Boston Marathon qualifier and is a flat course with long, unbroken stretches are two of the reasons many elite runners participate in the event. If you’re looking to run a personal best, this is the race to do it.
I’m all about supporting local businesses, restaurants and events. I see running the McAllen Marathon as another way to give back to the community and help a well-organized, city event continue to grow, giving the region something else to be proud of while also promoting a healthy lifestyle.
Another perk of running a race in your own back yard is the support you get from family and friends. In the half marathon, I find mile ten to be the gut-check, and there’s nothing more uplifting than having your loved ones there to give you that extra boost needed to finish the final 5k. Celebrating at the finish line with them is also gratifying. For many people, myself included, there’s something spiritual about finishing a half or full marathon. The miles put in, the tough workouts, and the sweat and sacrifice are put into perspective when you hug your loved ones at the end.
The often forgotten bonus about running a local race is getting to recover in your own bed, on your own couch, eating your favorite pizza and drinking your favorite beer which you had chilling in your own refrigerator all night (that’s my ‘victory lap’ at least).
Whatever your reasons are for running, I encourage you to set a goal, make a plan and have fun doing it. Whether your goal is to shed a few pounds, set a personal best or qualify for the Boston Marathon, give your runs purpose and meaning because I promise if you do that you’ll see improvement much faster. This year the McAllen Marathon falls on December 13th, and I expect this to be the best one yet.
Use this promo code for $10 off your McAllen Marathon Registration. Share it with your friends! PROMO CODE: 9to510