So many posts are dedicated to recapping the trials and tribulations of the past and looking forward to the goals of the future year. But I have largely already done this for 2013, at least life-wise, and I think it is time for me to figure out where this whole running shindig is going. So, while this might superficially be the same as other resolution/goal posts, I want to do something slightly different and really broaden the scope of reflection and anticipation. I want to look at The Long Run.
Though I would consider myself to have a great deal of experience,
I am still a relatively “new” long-distance runner: 2 years ago I started to increase my mileage and for the first time in MY LIFE I started to run farther than 6 miles at a time, and more than 15 or so miles in a week. 4.5 years ago, I started to take running a little bit more seriously as I signed up for my first races, a 4 miler and a 5k, then an 8k in the spring. It was during these races that I started to learn that I was a totally different runner than I had been in grade school–I was actually pretty fast (I was top 10 in my first race and in my 8k).
But running was still supplemental for me; I used it as a means of weight control, some stress relief, and a means of variety (at the time, I rode, ellipticalled, took kickboxing, jumped rope, swam, did circuits, etc).
As I have discussed before (and will likely discuss again!), during my time in NYC for grad school, running supplanted riding as my mood stabilizer and fitness focus. I studied running like I had studied riding over the years, and I ran my first half marathon, the VA Wine Country Half Marathon on June 2, 2010, with Team Challenge 2 weeks after finishing grad school.
I finished as the top TC woman, just out of the top 100 of over 4000 runners, and it was just one of the defining moments of my life. Unfortunately, I got hurt soon after (my SI joint in my back), but by then had committed to the Nashville Women’s Half in September (also with TC), and I carefully and judiciously nursed myself back to health after nearly 1 month off running.
I finished NWH as the first TC finisher and back near the top of the total entrants. I even nearly PR’d the course!
After that, I kept running and working at my fitness, but also really dialing into my strength in order to put on some mass before the wedding. I did a virtual half for Sandy Hook in January and signed up for the Charlottesville Half Marathon the weekend before my bday in April, and my mom decided to come up and support me.
Well, the Cville half didn’t help–I got REALLY sick that week, and it would’ve just been a BAD idea to go through with it. I got my revenge though, and 6 days later.
I did my last long run my wedding weekend, and “tapered” while honeymooning and walking my legs off with Alex in Europe. The 48 hours before the Allstate 13.1 Chicago Half included an 11 hour plane ride, a sleep in ATL, and a flight to Chicago.
It was a tough race on legs that I wasn’t sure could give me what I needed. But it was an epic PR, top 5 for TC, and just really an immense personal victory, and one that I got to share with the 2 people dearest to me in the world.
Then I got hurt. Structurally, my body is off, and always has been. This time, my tibia moved. After weeks of not running and barely being able to walk at times, I started PT, and thanks to ongoing strength and endurance training, I was able to recover mileage rather quickly. I ran a conservative race at Zooma Chicago in August, my longest distance since Allstate, and continued to build until the Chicago Half a month later.
That day capped my PDR (22 total miles), and 2 miles of pain. From then on, I was plagued by ITB and other issues, until the culmination of my racing career, the 2013 Marine Corps Marathon on October 27, 2013.
I will do a post dedicated solely to MCM, because I just can’t keep it to a paragraph, but it was a dream to me. And just a moment in my life that showed me how strong I really am.
After MCM, I discovered SwirlGear, a company that I am so proud to represent and to share with the world. The women that run the company and comprise the community are truly amazing–I CANNOT wait to run with them in the future.
And we have arrived at the now: working on base mileage, testing my legs and tendons, and then next week I will focus on classes, walking, and maybe some SUP in Mexico (STAY TUNED FOR GUEST POSTS FROM MY BEST BLENDS!!). I assume I will run, because, really, how could I not?? It will be perfect weather, and methinks the scenery will suffice.
Obviously, life leads to a great deal of uncertainty. For decades, I needed riding and horses like I needed air. Right now, I have turned to running. At some point, I imagine riding will return to the forefront. I hope, however, that running will remain in some capacity, thought the weight of it in my fitness regime may change. When I run, I feel truly healthy, and I can see that health in the way my body functions, the way my mind functions, the way my heart functions. But I also know that I can’t have a baby at this weight, and we will start trying very seriously once we know what Alex’s fellowship situation will be (2 years from now).
So why do I consider this the Midpoint of my running career if I also anticipate keeping running up well into the future?
Well, I consider this to be a bit of midpoint with regards to my big time running goals, and big time races. Originally, MCM was supposed to be my one time only marathon, but I had always thought NYCM would be my marathon, and I still want that victory lap around the city. Also, I know that I can improve my time, and I want that chance.
So, in the long run, here are my anticipated running plans:
2014: I RUN this Town (town being city, and city being Chicago)
My first race of the year (as of this time) will be the Publix Half Marathon in Atlanta in March.Because Mom and I are taking a break from Team Challenge this year, this is “our” race, and really a motivating factor for Mom. She needs that “finish line” in order to keep her nose to the grindstone, and it will be great for me a) to cuddle with my mommy and b) go home for the first time since we moved here.
I finally joined CARA ! and plan to get involved in the organization in some capacity. Through CARA, I will be running the LakeFront 10 at the end of April.
I am hoping to push it a little bit at this race, and see what it tells me about my fitness. I am sure that other race opps will arise through CARA, so we shall see. There are basically unlimited races May-September in Chicago, so I will see what I am feeling this summer.
But really, summer is going to be focused training, as I intend to PR at the Chicago Marathon in October. This is a PR course, and my chance to push it a bit. We won’t have to worry about travel, and we all know it is just a giant party.
My overall goals for this year are to PR in every distance: 5k, 10k, 10 miles, Half, and Full. I. Want. To. Run. This. City.
2015: Bringing it home
I loved living in NYC. And I want to run that city and my beloved streets again. I want my Central Park loop, and Harlem Hill (where I trained for my first half). I look forward to my hills and bridges, and just soaking it up. This race will truly be a victory lap for me. My plan is to enjoy this race as much as I can, as life is going to start really changing afterwards. Afterwards, I will likely have to change my body and fitness drastically. But until then, these are my last few years of living like I want to, or at least trying to. We’ll see how well my body does at that.
So there you have it, my 2 year plan. It will be hardest for me to just let it happen, and I will actively have to resist the urge to speed the process. But I am so at peace with these projections that I am oddly cool with the amount of time I will need to accomplish this big-time objectives.
What are your long term goals? Not just races, but real goals? How far into the future are you looking?