Now that the marathon's over, I've got to figure out what's next. My original intention was to work on some 50k races (May 1 was to be the first one) and build up to longer distances. I still want to do that, but I realize the smarter strategy would be to work more on the marathon distance and become more confident and strong at that distance. Also, I like the roads better than trails, so I'm actually more excited to stay on the road and track than to move to the trail (racewalking is hard on trails).
This is what I did with the half marathon. After my first one I kept training for that distance--my typical long walk routine was 12 miles one weekend, then 14 the next, then repeat. As a result I was able to PR every half marathon except one (which was raced with four inches of snow and ice on the ground) and cut 23 minutes off my time. I think I can do the same thing with the marathon, so my plan is now to work on marathon training throughout the summer and early fall and then do some marathons in the late fall and winter.
For my long walks I'll try to do 20 miles one weekend and then about 27-30 the next weekend (a loop around White Rock Lake is between 9 and 10 miles depending on some optional small loops). I'm going to focus on longer races where possible (hopefully nothing below a 15k; there are some 15, 20 and 25k races in the summer and fall, plus some half marathons in the fall/winter). I'd like to race in the Philadelphia Marathon in November (we used to live there so it would be a great vacation for us) and I'd like to win the Mardi Gras Marathon in February 2005 (this year I won the Racewalk Half Marathon).
After I get some more marathons under my belt I'll go for longer races, but I may focus on longer road and track races (like 8, 24 and 48 hour loop races, or judged racewalks) rather than trails. There is a lot of room for improvement in my racewalking speed and technique, so that's where I'll focus for the next 9 to 12 months.