An old high school friend called me the other day to invite me to her wedding. The festivities will be in Phoenix, where she and her fiancé live. I’m excited! It’s been years since we’ve seen each other, and I’m looking forward to catching up with her and a few other old high school friends that don’t live in the DC area anymore. It’ll also be my first time in Phoenix! And since I haven’t done a race in Arizona yet, I figured maybe I’ll run if there are any races taking place in the area that weekend. Well, turns out there is one — the Phoenix Pride Run Half Marathon. It’s at 6:30 a.m. on the day of the wedding (April 2). Advertisements
Happy New Year, guys! I just got back from my first run of the year — a short 3-miler on the treadmill. Today’s run was the first in a while. I spent most of December giving my knees a rest (trying to heal the right knee). I think the break worked (along with a lot of foam rolling) — the knee isn’t as sore anymore. Hopefully it stays that way. The injury made me reflect on what I did wrong and things I’ve learned over the year. I put in a lot of mileage in 2015 — I started keeping track, but got lazy around October and stopped. So I don’t know exactly how many miles I ran. What I do know: I ran eight half marathons and one full marathon, plus four months of marathon training with 30-40 weekly-mile averages. There are things I definitely could have done better to make the races go smoother and to avoid the minor injuries I experienced. So, following are some lessons learned from the year.
“Running strips life back to the bare essentials. When we challenge ourselves, it breaks down barriers. It brings us back to our essence and peels away the layers of ego we surround ourselves with. Many a grown man or woman will cry during or when finishing a marathon: long regarded as the ultimate achievement in the running world. Emotions flow freely, the struggle is obvious and most of the competition is with yourself.” -Grahak Cunningham I survived my second marathon. The experience was as incredible as the first. I’ll be honest though. I was a bundle of nerves the days leading up to the race. More nervous than I was last year. You would think that having already done the Marine Corps Marathon once and knowing what to expect from the course, I would be less nervous. But nope. I actually think knowing what to expect is what made me nervous. I was anticipating bathroom breaks, long lines at the porta potties, leg pains during the run, and possibly hitting the proverbial wall. Also, my …
So, I get back to my desk on Monday from a 1.5 hour-long meeting, and my colleagues walk up to me with cake and a card. I’m all like… “cake?? For what? My birthday was in June!” Turns out the cake and card was to wish me luck on the Marine Corps Marathon this Sunday. I have awesome colleagues.
The Marine Corps Marathon is in 10 days. Ten days!?! These last four months of training have seriously flown by. I’m proud of what I was able to accomplish during this training season — waking up at 4 a.m. to run before work, consistently hitting the gym after work, and keeping up with my long runs, even when it meant doing them on a treadmill. I’ll be honest though. Despite all of that, I’m not sure if I’m really ready for the race… physically or mentally.
I’m at that point in training where I’m just ready for it to be over. My legs are tired. My body is tired. I’m tired of feeling like I have to run. I mean, I do enjoy running. Really, I do. But the pressure to complete a (super long) long run and a certain number of miles each week has been draining. Yes, I know. I signed up for this. I wanted this. I chose my training schedule. I could have chosen an easier one, but wanted the challenge. And a challenge, I got.
My colleague was sick a couple of weeks ago, so of course I was obsessively using hand sanitizer and wiping everything in our office down with Lysol wipes. He got better, and I thought I was in the clear. But early last week, all the signs were there: scratchy throat, fatigue, weakness… and then by mid-week, I knew I was doomed. I was coughing and sneezing, and was just a mess. I was definitely sick. Week 14 of training went down the drain.
One of the perks of running long distance races is the medals. I’ve collected some cool ones in the past year and a half, when I started the 50 states challenge. So far, my favorites include the Hottest Half medal (Dallas, Texas) because it doubles as a beer opener, and the Philly Love Run medal (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) because it’s pretty.
One of our summer interns told me she could never do a marathon because she couldn’t be alone with her thoughts for that long. I’ll admit, being alone with your thoughts during a long run can be tough. It’s hard not to focus on the pain, the boredom, and the many miles you have left. It took me a while, but now I actually do enjoy being alone with my thoughts. I enjoy the time to think about whatever I want, to focus on whatever I want, and to zone out if I want (which, during long runs, is ideal). But it can still be really tough. I completed my first 20-miler of this training season on Saturday. And I’m not going to lie: I hated every single minute of that run.
I wish I could say last week’s training rocked, but it didn’t, so I can’t. It was another busy week—I spent part of it at a conference in Virginia, and had a couple of other things going on. But, I am proud to share that I finally tried SoulCycle (my x-training activity for the week). I’ve never done a spin class, and I hardly ever bike (though I wish I could more often, but that would maybe require getting a bike…), so I wasn’t sure what to expect.