In preparation for that, I've been reflecting on all that running has taught me over the past year. Even though I've been a runner for 25+ years, I would never consider myself an expert. As my most recent half marathon showed me, you can prepare for everything (tummy troubles) and the road will throw something at you that you didn't expect (like a side stitch!)
Tuesdays on the Run had this topic for the week's linkup: What has running taught you this year? As with every year, I've learned a lot. Before year's end, I'll evaluate the goals I set for myself back in January. It's also time to set new goals for 2017.
You can train for a marathon without much running.
Last fall, after I ran my last half marathon in November, I was hit with some pretty severe plantar fasciitis. It hurt to even walk, much less run. By the time my Big Sur marathon training rolled around in February, I knew I was in trouble. Instead of going back to the podiatrist I had seen in the past--his custom orthotics did more harm than good--I decided to go a different route and found an amazing sports medicine specialist. She promised to get me to the start line of BSIM if I promised to stay off the road for a while to let my foot calm down. With an alternative training plan of pool running and cycling, plus some creative cross training from Coach Becky, I was able to maintain my endurance and eventually return to the road a few weeks prior to the marathon. While my longest run for BSIM was that Sarasota half marathon in March, I was able to complete my dream marathon without a whisper from that foot. I would caution anyone reading this not to attempt a marathon without proper training. But my past experience with the distance, determination to finish, and good guidance got me there.
|Big Sur Marathon and that coveted finisher's medallion!|
That mantra has been my motto all year. With the exception of my 10ks, I haven't gotten any AG awards this year. I've struggled with long distances all year. Instead of getting hung up on my finish times, I've set a perpetual goal of having fun. The way I see it, you put your heart and sole (pun intended) into your training, but it all comes down to one day. One race. A couple of hours. What if you fail to meet your goal? Are you going to go home and drown your sorrows? Beat yourself up? Why not be grateful for the gift that is running? I refuse to get upset about a missed finish time goal. I mean, look at last weekend's PCB half--I had a goal of 2 hours and finished in 2:03. Sure, I'd like to know why I felt so crappy during the race--I'd like to learn from that. But I got to run a race in Florida. In December. With a group of fun ladies. Emily from Out and About summed it up perfectly: no matter what your finish time, everyone gets the same medal.
|Me and Holly at PCB, finishers y'all!|
Even though I struggled with the half and full marathon distances, my 10ks were on point. I ran 2 of them and collected AG awards at each. I've been thinking about that a lot. Depending on how my half and full go in 2017, I'll decide if I'm going to focus on the shorter distance. I would like to run a sub-7 minute mile. I haven't run a 5k in years and am considering revisiting that distance as well. Long distances will always be part of my training. I just don't know how I feel about racing them anymore. We'll see.
|On my way to 2d place AG win at Salute 10k, 51:54|
My experience spectating the Chicago Marathon was beyond my expectations. It was really fun watching all the runners come by, from the elites to the BOTPers. It was also fun because we knew so many runners! Having run the race 3 times, I knew how they felt and what was ahead of them. It's too bad that spectators can't be a part of the finish line experience because that is always so joyful. But I definitely want to be a part of it again next year.
|Chicago Marathon, mile 13, bloggers' press box|
Me, Marcia, and Erica
I could write a whole blog post on this topic. I used to be a solo runner. I trained alone (I still do) and I went to races alone. As I head into my 4th year blogging, I can't help but be amazed at the wonderful friendships I've made through my little corner of the interwebs. Yes, some of those friends have come and gone, but there have been some that have been with me since the beginning of this blog. Running Big Sur with Kristina in California was amazing. I have never run a race, side by side with someone before, and I still get goosebumps thinking about it. After this past weekend in Florida, I keep thinking how it felt as if I knew these ladies forever. I guess blogging opens us up to each other. We share a passion for running, but we all have so many similarities. The really nice thing about that girls' running weekend was that I didn't have to apologize for running. You know, when you go away with your friends and you have to make excuses so you can sneak out for a run? Runners--we get each other.
|The running bloggers pre-race, PCB|
I'm linking up with the Friday Five v 2.0, hosted by Fairytales and Fitness and Running on Happy.