I started this blog just over a year ago with the single goal of running a 50 mile race in Colorado in September.
Well… that didn’t happen.
Instead I ran races in five states; almost bought a house; did actually buy a house; saw friends and relatives turn out and/or participate in various races; ran with my nephew in his first 5k; traveled with my best friend to a marathon; hiked and rode the Rockies, and generally stayed busy and, interestingly, fantastically, wonderfully, stayed injury free.
Marathons: 4 completed, 1 DNS
Half Marathons: 1 completed, 1 DNS
Other distance: 2 5k, 2 10k, 1 10 mile
Race Miles: 146.5
Training Miles: Approximately 1,600
Time off: 3 months
Good: No real running injuries. (Blisters, lost toenails, aches, pains and fatigue don’t count.) Finished 10 races, traveled, set a few PRs, stayed in decent shape. Accrued quite the bling and many, many memories. Also inspired my mother to round up some of her pals and commit to running a Warrior Dash in Arizona in April. 🙂
Bad: Did not achieve the stated goal. DNS in two races. 3 months (!) off from training.
There is an element of mindgame playing in long distance running. I’ve read some entertaining accounts of hallucinations, mantras and simple positive thinking/imagining that long distance runners do. I take turns patting myself on the back and digging in the mental spurs. I’ve come to see how having an actual coach not only helps with your training goals but gives you external accountability.
Recently, my two biggest fans have helped in ways they don’t even realize. Both tell me they find my goals inspiring (or perhaps my determination to achieve those goals) and both are working on their own fitness programs. On some days, hearing that they have taken the time, braved the elements, accepted the inconveniences or whatever and done their miles has propelled me out the door or onto the treadmill. It is a type of accountability that has helped in a pinch and more than once.
It’s been an interesting year. I started off almost frivolously with a “Well, why not?” attitude and the firm conviction I was and always will be a running dilettante. Huh.
Somewhere along the line I started thinking, “Why wouldn’t you do this?
And I started to see myself as an athlete. The miles are no longer an irritating obligation but a purpose all their own. Not doing them has become much more of a source of disappointment than I ever thought would happen. I’ve learned about race hydration and nutrition; determination and practice. I no longer look whimsically at a 50 mile race as an end-all and completion but as a point along the way. I don’t dread this race. I have no idea what may come after but I don’t believe this is the end.