In two short weeks I’m going to be doing something VERY silly. Foolish, even. It’s called the Fool’s Dual Challenge, and it’s going to be the greatest test I’ve put myself through so far.

That’s Right. The Fool’s Dual Challenge features both Half Marathon AND 5K road races. “What’s wrong with that?” you might ask? “Plenty of races feature more than one distance.” – you would be correct. But this is the Fool’s Dual Challenge…so of course, I’ll be running both. “So? There are race challenges that feature more than one race in a weekend! Disney, for instance! Dopey Challenge, anyone?” Yes, that’s fair, there ARE challenges like that…but those are back to back days…

And this is back to back in the same morning.

Therein lies the key difference 🙂

I’ll probably hate myself for this…but I HAD to do it! I mean, come on! What a unique concept! I’ve never seen a race challenge that has you go back to back races in the same day! That’s just silly! So of course, I had to go for it.

Who would put this together? Crazy People?!

The race management company that put together this insane test of willpower and endurance is course, with an idea this incredible and unique…this is not the only race like this they do. As a matter of fact, every race they put on is structured like this! is based out of Rockport, MA, and that’s the general neighborhood in which it seems all their races take place (Gloucester, Rockport, etc). This is GREAT NEWS for runners…you’ll get some stunning views along the race courses – this is something I’m REALLY coming to appreciate as a runner. It seems really wants to offer athletes a new, unique challenge, but they cater to everyone! If you aren’t quite foolish enough for both races back to back, you can do just the 5K, or just the 13.1! But I digress…

How does this work…exactly?

The morning of April 6th, 2014 I will show up at O’Malley Middle School in Gloucester, MA (early of course) to pick up my packet. When 8 am comes, the gun goes off and we start the 5K. Once we finish, it’s time to try to stretch, rest, recuperate, re-fuel, re-hydrate and find a port-o-potty…because once 9 am hits, the gun goes off and the half marathon starts!

Yes, that’s right – the 5K starts at 8 am and the 13.1 starts at 9 am. That means I’ll have about a half hour to “rest”. YIKES! I think that might be the craziest part of the whole thing – how close together these races are! Presumably, that means the only people who would be crazy enough to do this challenge are people that can finish a 5K in a half hour or better.

You get some pretty sweet swag for running, though! All participants (5K, 13.1, and Fool’s Dual Challenge) get this sweet shirt, 13.1 runners get a finisher’s medal, and those doing the Challenge get what I’m told is a sweet running visor. Not sure if I’ll actually wear it running since I usually just go with a sweatband, but I’ll proudly hang it from my medal rack (which I’ve yet to buy/make…).

What about the race courses themselves?

I looked at the maps they offer online – the 5K looks to be a nice little loop…should be a very pleasant run with some great scenery! The half-marathon is an out-and-back course – both half-marathons I’ve run were loops, so this should be interesting. I didn’t take the time to try to do math on the elevation, but it looks like there’s some incline to deal with – especially going to and coming back from the turnaround. We’ll see how THAT goes! All in all, though, the courses seem to offer a great morning of running with some great scenery all day long.

I’m not worried about the half-marathon…

Believe it or not, the biggest challenge in this whole thing, I think, is going to be the 5K. I’ve said before (and I imagine others feel the same) that when I’m going into a race, I come into it with a different mindset and attitude based on the distance. I’m mentally prepared for a 5K, so I go out running a 5K pace. If I’m running a half-marathon, I go out mentally prepared for it, ready to endure the distance, pace myself, monitor my pace and time each mile and adjust accordingly…

But I don’t know how to do two different ends of the spectrum in one day. 

This is TOTALLY new ground for me! I have to admit, I’m a little worried I’m gonna gas myself during the 5K and run out of steam during the half! As I think about the coming challenge, I look back on my experience the weekend of the Hyannis Half-Marathon. That weekend, I did something I thought was very silly – I ran the Frosty Knuckle 5K+ on Saturday and the Hyannis Half on Sunday – BACK TO BACK RACES! I knew I was going to have to pace myself and take it easy on the 5K that Saturday…I KNEW I had to…and I found myself going hard on the first mile. I had to force myself to slow down, and I still ended up placing 3rd in my age group! Yes, I know, I sound like a spoiled little whiner (wah wah, I placed in my age group!)…but honestly – I could’ve blown my chance at a 13.1 PR the next day! Fortunately, I didn’t…I got my sub-2 hour half.

The worry is, though… If I had that hard of a time pacing myself in the 5K the day before the half…how am I going to do when they’re the same morning? It’s a mental thing – I’m going in prepared to run a 5K…and I’m afraid I’m going to do my thing and run a 5K.

What I need to do is run it like it’s a 3.1 mile warm-up. Someone told me something very smart – treat the 5K as if it were the last 3.1 miles of the half-marathon…because that’s where it’s gonna either help me or hurt me. I have to very carefully monitor my pace, just like I would at the end of a half.

But I’m rambling…

Suffice it to say – this is easily going to be my greatest challenge to date. If you want to take this on with me, visit Only the crazy need apply for the challenge, but if you’re interested in a fun 5K or a great 13.1, go for it! I’ll let you know how it goes 🙂
Happy Motivational Monday, indeed!