That's probably not the typical race schedule for a newbie, but I chose those two races for particular reasons that I briefly touched on earlier.
I'm using Higdon's Intermediate I Marathon training plan and it calls for two 20 mile runs in weeks 13 and 15. Nevermind the 15, 17, and 18 mile runs in the weeks prior.
Even the casual observer of my life will notice we're a tad busy. Bill works crazy hours often 6 days/week so to get my miles in I get up while it's still dark, hit the treadmill, or I push a stroller filled with a 42 pound six year old.
These things all make me nervous about being able to actually do the training required to cross the finish line in October. Freedom's Run (marathon #1) is a small race that probably won't sell out. Come October, based on how my training has gone, I can decide to run the full marathon or settle for the half - or if I'm feeling particularly pissy I can forget it altogether and volunteer.
looking down Bloody Lane at Antietam battlefield
Should that happen I can continue with my training and run the First Descents (marathon #2).
And if everything goes right with the world, I can do both because I don't plan to race either one. Simply finishing ahead of the sweeper is the goal this year.
I know it sounds non-committal to have a Plan B so early in the training, but I want to be realistic. I'm functionally a single parent with 4 kids, and I homeschool and volunteer for 3 different organizations all of which makes 'regular' running a challenge as it is. I consider marathon #2 more of an ace up my sleeve in case I'm just not ready in October.
BUT I've decided that this is the year I'm going to run a marathon. So I'm going to. I don't really care if it's in October or in December...well, I'm pretty impatient so I prefer October, but either way I'll do everything I can to carry my happy butt across the finish line.
AND I'm really excited because I've connected with more people from my running club, and one of the men has offered not only to run the long runs with me but his daughters are willing to babysit while we run if I need it. How wonderful and generous is that!
That's why I put 2 marathons on my fall/winter schedule.