I usually just plan one season at a time, setting my A race and figuring everything else out. But I worry that lassiez-faire approach hurt me this year. My goal race wasn’t enough of a priority — and I think some of that is being too comfortable with Monumental. 

As I was concluding I wasn’t running a fall marathon and starting to think about what was next, my best friend texted me. She currently lives in Nebraska but for years (before I got married to another marathon runner) we traveled to a ton of races together. She has a 1-year-old; we had hoped to go to Boston together this year but she didn’t make the cutoff and I didn’t go out of spite/solidarity. 

“I’m thinking about Grandma’s,” she wrote. She’s a Ph.D. candidate, so timing a marathon is tricky. Late June is an ideal time for her.

Meanwhile, I instantly thought of all the women I know who OTQ’d there this year — my teammate Kelby, my friend Katie, and a whole pile of ladies who I was thrilled to see working together to punch their tickets to Atlanta. 

I told her I might be interested in going. Honestly, it didn’t take much research or contemplation. I talked to coach and ran through what the year might look like. Dug around on the race website. Looked at the course map. 

Decided I was in. 

So Grandma’s Marathon — a marathon where the top 77 women were under 3 hours last year, good gravy — will be the main focus for the first half of the year. We plan to flip that into a tighter turnaround for Monumental.

When I did Carmel this year, I had so much time between it and Monumental — maybe too much. Grandma’s presents a new adventure, a new challenge. A race I am excited about. And it sets up well for a fast spring half marathon.

The tentative plan: