A New Country and…A Marathon

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I’ve hemmed and hawed about whether or not to actually make a formal announcement about this on the blog, but the excitement is overtaking me. I can’t help it. I have to tell you. You guys? I’m going to the 2017 Volkswagen Prague Marathon, which is hosted by RunCzech, in Prague, Czech Republic.

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I should rename this blog and call it “Danielle’s Geography Lessons”

Oh, and there’s this whole minor detail that I’m…well…running the marathon (hopefully). Yes, I, Danielle, am planning to run the 2017 Prague Marathon. I’ll let you absorb that while I talk about how we got to this point.

What is RunCzech?

A few months ago, the lovely people at RunCzech reached out to me about covering the 2017 Prague Marathon as part of their press team on the recommendation of my good friend, Anders. I was very excited about the opportunity but never considered the idea of running the marathon, as there is no half marathon option. I figured that I would just go and cover the event from a journalist’s perspective, which would also be interesting, since I’ve never covered a race that I wasn’t running! RunCzech puts on all of the big-name events in the Czech Republic, including the Sportisimo Prague Half Marathon, Mattoni Karlovy Vary Half Marathon, Mattoni České Budějovice Half Marathon, Mattoni Olomouc Half Marathon, and more. It’s a huge organization and one that supports hundreds of thousands of runners each year!

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Just a few thousand runners casually making their way through the streets of Prague (Photo courtesy of RunCzech)

Why Prague?

The Prague Marathon is one of the premier marathon events in the world, hosting over 16,000 runners through one of the world’s most beautiful cities. It’s also the fastest May marathon in the world, with an event record of 2:05! The elites come out in full force to run Prague, and with good reason. In addition to the beautiful, fast course, there’s also incredible elite support from the RunCzech organization, which works with many of the athletes throughout the year. The event sells out quickly every year and includes a 2-person marathon relay as well. Plus, it’s truly an international experience – runners from 116 different countries came to RunCzech events in 2016!

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You can see why the race sells out quickly – look at those buildings!

What about my marathon retirement?

So, here’s the thing. As you may have gathered from my post about the Route 66 Half Marathon this year, I really miss marathons. I had been thinking about trying to train for another one but wasn’t sure if I had the time, energy, or ability. The thought grew more and more and when I was officially offered the opportunity last month, I took it as a sign that this was the time to try. To be clear, the reasons why I stopped running marathons still stand, and I’m not 100% sure I will be able to make it through training in one piece without causing more pain with my back. I’m fully prepared for the fact that it might not actually happen. I may get halfway through training and realize it is too much for my body – and that’s ok. However, there are a few things that make me think it is possible:

  1. I’m no longer teaching at the barre studio on a regular basis, which frees up my time and means my body gets more of a break.
  2. My back has been feeling pretty good lately.
  3. I’m working on creating more balance in my life, including diversifying the type of workouts I do.
  4. I’m genuinely excited about it.
  5. I’m working with a coach who is creating a plan just for me that will help me prepare while still protecting my back.
I'm so excited @thetrexrunner is running the Prague #Marathon - her first in 1.5 years! Check out the details!… Click To Tweet

This might be the dumbest thing I’ve ever decided to do (doubtful – please see the years 2011-2014 on this blog for further proof), but for some reason, it feels right to try. So, I’m going to try! I’ll be recapping my training here each week with the full rundown of all of my workouts and how things are going – I know you’ll be waiting on the edges of your proverbial seats.

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I just couldn’t pass this up (Photo courtesy of RunCzech)

Does this mean I’m running marathons again?

At this point, I’m saying no, but we’ll see how this one goes. This is the only marathon I have on my calendar, because I took this one as a sign – I mean, it’s Prague! Never say never, but right now, I don’t foresee suddenly switching back to marathons for the majority of my races.

Want to join me?

If you just have to witness this potentially embarrassing marathon spectacle for yourself but haven’t registered for the marathon yet, don’t despair! There are still charity spots available for both the Prague Half Marathon (held in April) and the Prague Marathon itself. If you can’t make it to either of those events but are intrigued by the idea of racing in the beautiful Czech Republic (and who wouldn’t be?), there are also smaller races held in nearby towns that offer the same support and organization as the bigger events, as they are all put on by RunCzech.

  • The Mattoni Olomouc Half Marathon, held on June 24, 2017, runs through the Czech Republic’s historic capital, Moravia and Czech wine country! This race is easily reachable by train from Prague and featured about 10,000 runners in 2016. The race starts at the main square near by the Holy Trinity Column, which has been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 2000. The city is full of stunning cathedrals, monuments and town squares.
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    Running AND wine? Count me in! (Photo courtesy of RunCzech)
  • The Mattoni Karlovy Vary Half Marathon, held on May 20, 2017, is the most international event in RunCzech’s portfolio besides Prague! My friend Anders says this is one of his favorite events of any around the world – and he’s run hundreds of marathons! This race can be easily reached by bus from Prague and is much smaller – about 6,000 runners in 2016. The city, which is also known as Carlsbad, is famous with its spas and movies festivals. It is located in West Bohemia region. Many famous movies were filmed in the Karlovy Vary, among them Casino Royale, The Grand Hotel Budapest.
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    I think I can see why this is one of Anders’ favorite races! (Photo courtesy of RunCzech)

    The Mattoni České Budějovice Half Marathon 2017, held on June 3, 2017, takes you through medieval villages and towns in one of the most beautiful parts of the Czech Republic. The city is also called Budweis and is located in South Bohemia. It is a brewing cradle and ancient city with many narrow beautiful streets and 13th century Old Town Square.

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    Is it me or is every race in the Czech Republic absolutely stunning? (Photo courtesy of RunCzech)

    As you can see, if you’re interested in running in the Czech Republic – as you should be – there are a ton of options! I think I want to do all of them!

What’s Next?

Marathon training is officially underway! I’m committed to maintaining balance in my workouts and my life, so I’ll still be doing some barre, cycling, and strength stuff. When I’m traveling, I’ll work running in if I can and if I can’t – hiking and barrre it is! I’m realistic about what my goals are here – and the goal is to make it through the marathon in one happy, smiling, hopefully unmedicated piece. Only time will tell what will happen! Either way, I’ll be giving you a first hand look at my training right here on the blog each week – don’t miss out!

LEAVE A COMMENT: Do you think this is a good idea or a terrible idea? Have you ever been to Prague or dreamed of visiting? Which of the RunCzech races sounds the most exciting to you?

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32 thoughts on “A New Country and…A Marathon

  1. Good luck! This is a great race. Prague was my first marathon in 2014 and started me on my running path. European races are a whole different beast–you’ll love it!

    1. Thank you! I am so excited about this race. I have done the Dublin Marathon and two races in England, but I am really excited to see the city of Prague from my own two feet! I can’t wait! I’d love to hear what other European races you’d recommend!

  2. Oooh so exciting!! My husband and I went to Prague for Christmas this year, and it was magical. It’s an incredibly beautiful city- and very inexpensive compared to other places in Europe! I think you’ll have an amazing time- train smart!

    1. Oh wow, Nan! That sounds amazing! I bet Prague is just gorgeous at Christmas (or any time of the year). I am definitely trying to train smart which is part of my motivation for working with a coach. I just want to make it to the starting line in one piece! Fingers crossed!

  3. I think it is an awesomely terrible … terribly awesome … aw, who even knows! 🙂

    I chuckled at you realizing that no, in fact, doing this is not the stupidest thing you’ve done even in the history of this blog … and part of that is you have learned and grown, and I think you’ve lost some of that sense of immortality and invulnerability, which means that while I am sure you’ll push it and end up with some level of regret, I have confidence that you won’t actually do anything dangerous.

    Either way the whole thing is terribly exciting and looks gorgeous! And yes, as before I read Prague and thought “awesome, running a marathon in Czechoslovakia!” … um, no Czech Republic Mike … for a couple of decades now. Oh well 🙂

    Looking forward to following along with your training!

    1. Well, when you’ve got 5 years worth of documentation on all of the stupid things you’ve done RECENTLY…there’s no denying it, haha! I definitely have a much better sense of my mortality, but also, I think I’m just not as panicked about life as I used to be. I felt so far behind in accomplishing and seeing the things I wanted that I felt like I had to do them all NOW – whereas now that I have done a lot of those things (not all by any means!), I feel like it is ok to slow down a little bit and breathe. I recognize that not everything works out the way I want it to. So, this might be one of those things…we’ll see! Feel free to rein me in as necessary 🙂

  4. Oh my goodness I want to go to Prague SO bad, it is on my list! This is why I think we would be great friends haha. It always pops up that you are going somewhere I’ve always wanted to. I literally planned for Prague as being my next solo trip but its not happening this year :/ I am starting school for nursing which is also exciting! But it means I will be too absorbed in that to take off for any trips I am afraid. Can’t wait to see how this turns out for you! Good Luck! 🙂

    1. Thanks, Melissa! Just think of it like I’m testing out all these places for you and confirming that they are awesome 🙂 Nursing school is definitely a worthwhile pursuit of your time. And I know nurses’ schedules are really favorable to traveling, so you’re setting yourself up really well. Thanks for following along!

  5. Best advice I’ve ever received “Climb Mountains while you can.” You already now that. Life is short. If you want to do it then go for it. I think it is a great idea. You’ll never know if you don’t try. Best wishes to a happy healthy season Danielle!

    1. That’s great advice, Sharon! Thank you! I definitely want to be smart about it and I am very hopeful that it will work out. How could I say no to Prague?!

  6. I hope training goes well, and while I love your blog, I have missed your marathon race reports so I’m selfishly very excited about this!

    1. Thanks, Stephanie! That’s not selfish at all. I’ve missed running them and writing about them! I’m definitely ready to get back into doing more races – I’ve got a couple half marathons already lined up for spring as well! It’s gonna be a good year here on the blog.

  7. Oh my gosh, this is incredible. I am running the Rome marathon on Apr 2. I am beyond excited about running it, and I have lost my luster for marathons as well, for different reasons, mainly bc I suck at running them, but I am beside myself about Rome. Talk about a bucket list item for me. I think the Prague race will be just as fantastic. I’ve never been there but I presume they will be similar: great scenery everywhere on the route. I love love love Rome so this is a perfect fit for me. I will be thinking about you. Did you know there is a marathon in Milan on the same weekend?

    1. Wow, Becky! That is incredible! I bet the Rome Marathon will be amazing! I know quite a few friends who have run it and they all LOVED it. I hope you have an amazing experience! I had no idea there was a marathon in Milan the same weekend!

      I know exactly what you mean about losing your luster for marathons and feeling like you suck at running them. Although my sucking is related to my injury, it still just became too frustrating and painful to try for awhile. I don’t know what will happen with this one, but I’m excited to find out!

  8. I think you’re going into it with the right mindset. If it doesn’t work out at least you can say you tried. I don’t think you can pass up an opportunity like this.

    1. Thanks, Tracy! I totally agree. I had to at least try. I’m prepared for the outcome to not be what I hoped, but we’ll see! Fingers crossed!

  9. Fabulous news! I loved the marathon I ran in Germany and am excited to go back this summer for an ironman. Racing in Europe is so fun and different. Wish I could recruit you to be my Sherpa and vice versa but my race is in July darn it!

    1. Wow, that will be so cool! Doing an Ironman in Germany sounds awesome. You did Berlin, right? That’s a bucket list race for me as well. I have loved the races that I’ve done in Europe. I especially appreciate everything being measured in kilometers because I mostly have no idea where I am on the course and don’t have to focus on it 🙂

  10. Good luck! I loved Prague (but my information of the city is too old to be of any use to you) and am a bit jealous of your trip. Then I remember your gluten issues and all the fantastic local beers you’re going to be missing out on. I’m sorry. I’m so so sorry.

    I wish you success in the training and the marathon.

    1. Wahhhhh don’t remind me!! However, in Vienna, we did find an amazing locally brewed gluten free beer! Even AJ liked it. Maybe I’ll find something similar in Prague. And there’s always wine, right?!

  11. This sounds AMAZING and I am so jealous! I’ve never been to Prague and always wanted to go. I may need to look into that half marathon through wine country in June…

    1. Thanks, Laura! I am really looking forward to it! Don’t all the half marathons look incredible?! I want to just stay through June and run them all!!!

  12. So exciting, Danielle! The photos look unreal. And you’ve been to some quite amazing places already! Yay to new adventures!

    I always say ‘you won’t know u til you try’ so why not!
    I find it is all in the attitude – you are heading into training without putting too much pressure on yourself. And with a coach, it will only help you to keep that balance.
    Can’t wait to read along as you venture on this new journey.

    1. Yes! I’ve been very fortunate. I think it will be an interesting shift in 2017 because in 2016 I had more of a focus on developing countries and in 2017, it looks like I’ll be spending a lot of time in Europe. It should be fun!

      I do think I have a good attitude going into it. It’s nice to just be really excited about training again instead of being afraid. I don’t know what will happen and it may not work out, but I am keeping my fingers crossed! Thanks for your support!

  13. So excited for you. Danielle this is an amazing idea and a wonderful opportunity. I would love to visit Prague and to run a race there would be even better.

    Have a fantastic weekend!

    1. Thanks, Jill! I am really looking forward to it. Prague has always been high on my list of places to go, so this is really the icing on the cake!

  14. I think you would be crazy NOT to run this!!! It looks amazingly gorgeous, even by your well-traveled standards. WOW! I wish I could come along but will have to live through your words and pictures 🙂

    1. OK, that makes me feel better! That’s pretty much how I felt – I have to at least try! I mean, it’s Prague!!

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