First off, I hate to say this but my training is still mediocre this week. It's my own fault. Not getting to bed on time. Six hours sleep a night just doesn't cut it. I'm dragging my grumpy self out of bed to run, but it doesn't feel good. Maybe I'll take my own advice and start getting to bed earlier so I feel more perky in the morning.
So if you're training for a marathon, especially your first marathon, consider watching another marathon in person, or better yet, volunteer for the event. This will help get you motivated and prepared for your own race.
There are two upcoming Southern California marathons in May - the Los Angeles Marathon on May 25th and the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon in San Diego on May 31st. Visit www.lamarathon.com and www.rnrmarathon.com for more information about these events.
The Los Angeles Marathon is only 45 minutes from Ventura County and thus is a great choice. They always are in need of volunteers...how about handing out water cups at the event so you get a close up view of runners in action.
The L.A. Marathon Expo is another great and FREE (except parking) opportunity to meet other runners, buy stuff and sample goodies. This expo is held at the L.A. Convention Center on May 23rd and 24th. Visit the L.A. Marathon website for more information.
Later in the year, there are marathons in Long Beach on October 11th (www.runlongbeach.com) and Santa Clarita on November 8th (www.scmarathon.org). Each of these two event also have half marathons. If you are running the Santa Barbara Marathon like me, then consider signing up for the half marathon at one of these events to test yourself.
I have run each of these marathons. The L.A. Marathon course has changed more times than I can remember over the years, but is still the biggest event in the area. While it may not be particularly scenic, this course offers you the opportunity to share the energy of a diverse multi-ethnic community. rock 'n' Roll is like a big party, with live music dispersed along the course. Very popular with the Team-in-Training crowd.
Santa Clarita is a lower key race that is a nicely done community event, with a marathon, half marathon, 5K and kids fun run. Long Beach is one of my favorites and I've done the full marathon and half marathon several times down there. A nice crowd close to the beach.
So strongly consider attending and/or participating in one or more of these great local events! It will motivate you!