Hi All! So after hearing sufficient complaints from those who care about me the most, I’ve decided to return to blogging…at least periodically and at least for a little while. I make no promises on how long this will last or when I’ll disappear again but I plan to make the most of my little slice of the interwebs… if not for the random people that care about my comings and goings, then to hold myself accountable for my running, my training and the racing. I find that I am more consistent with my training when I force myself to write them down. So without further ado, let’s see what I’ve been up to since the beginning of 2013 when I last blogged and promised myself a good year of running.
Well, the long and the short of it is…Not really a whole lot yet. For the first few months of this year, I struggled to come back from the meniscal tear injury I sustained last September and failed to train with any sort of real consistency. Between the brutal winter we had this winter, my long hours at the hospital and my injury concerns, I just had too many physical and mental roadblocks to overcome. Although I had registered and intended to run the Boston Marathon a month ago, I never got to the starting line because I felt so undertrained and seriously doubted my abilities to run the distance much less race it. Needless to say, it turned out to be a personal blessing in disguise as I was nowhere near the finish line bombings when they occurred. It still saddens me tremendously to think about the innocent lives that were lost that day and how the famous left turn onto Boylston St will never quite be the same. What it did do personally was enrage and inspire me to renew my commitment to training for and racing marathons. How dare the terrorists think they could ever stop us from crossing the finish line of a major marathon? HELLO? WE’RE RUNNERS – THIS IS WHAT WE DO! WE LIVE FOR THIS STUFF!
I made my season racing debut at the Scotland 10K in early April. I decided to enter the race off of very little training not because I was ready to race, but because I needed a starting point. I needed an objective benchmark of where my fitness, or lack of fitness, was. Before that 10K, my previous road race was a half marathon over 7 months ago. Yikes! Although my final time was rather mediocre for me, 38:59 (a full 35 seconds slower than last year in the same race), I was glad to have run and finished and not gotten hurt because I wasn’t fully convinced I could ever race again without some sort of nagging pain or bothersome injury. I took It as a good sign and the first indication that I was ready to run and train consistently again.
As I began to ramp up my mileage and training, I took a running “vacation” towards the end of the month and went to Monterey California to run the 2013 Big Sur International Marathon on 4/28. I’d always wanted to run this race because of all the great things I’ve heard about the place and it did not disappoint. The views were spectacular, the course was hilly and challenging, and I had the best time just running easy and stopping to take pictures whenever I felt the whim. I finished that marathon in 3:46 which is my slowest ever solo marathon time, but I honestly could not have cared less. I had great fun with some good friends (and even snuck in a visit to my cousin and her new baby in SF) and thoroughly enjoyed myself while I was there. It also reaffirmed my love of the west coast, something I had forgotten about since my last visit several years ago. When I got back to NYC, it was all I could think about to find a convenient excuse to go back again. It so happened that a work conference came up that would have me in the heart of San Francisco the week before the San Francisco Marathon on 6/18! I could hardly believe my luck. So even though I’ve run that marathon once before in 2008, I got permission from work and registered for this year’s race. My loose goals in that race will be, in order of preference, to run a BQ marathon time (sub-3:10 for my age group), improve upon my 2008 time of 3:09:08 and get as close to 3hrs as possible. I also devised a quick two month training plan for myself which has me running on average of 40+ miles per week until the marathon. I figured that for my conservative goals, that should at least suffice.
Since I’ve started on that marathon training plan just a few weeks ago, I’ve already seen considerable progress in both my speed and my endurance. I have treated my easy and rest days like religious observances and have done my speedwork according to paces as prescribed to me by the race calculators. Although my times are still slow and I’m not quite back to the level of fitness I had before my injury, I’ve amazed at how much better I feel about running in general and how much things are starting to pick up in every facet of my running. But no matter how much subjective improvement I’ve felt I’ve made since a couple months ago, I know it wouldn’t be enough just to say or think it. I needed objective data to prove to myself that I’m indeed headed in the right direction. Little did I know, I would get that confirmation and then some in the Brooklyn Half Marathon bright and early yesterday morning.
(Stay tuned for the full race report to follow in the next blog post…)