Afterward, I reckoned with the truth that I had put a lot of pressure on myself for that race, and I made the decision to step back and not do any big races for awhile.
That was February 2019. The next year, the race organizers moved the race to January (because of football? I think?) and the appeal of that particular race has always been that it falls on my birthday weekend. So, I ran it as a “virtual” 5k and opted to run the Gasparilla 15k in February instead, and then the pandemic hit and races were put on hold.
In the meantime, we moved (in case you somehow missed that detail) and it took me awhile to get into a routine where running more than three miles at a time felt doable. Part of it was the hills, but looking back I realize that the adjustment period of being in a new state, in a new climate, with a new job and so many ups and downs…I just didn’t have the focus or motivation to put myself through rigorous, consistent training.
And there’s nothing wrong with that!
|Casually breaking my decades-old 10k PR.|
Training has been spotty. I quickly realized I'd forgotten how to be disciplined and 2022 wasn’t exactly an uneventful year, so I've been lukewarm about my commitment to training since it began.
I didn’t start consistently including long runs in my training until December, which is sort of ludicrous. But with no time goal in mind, who cares? I have this vague idea that I just want to get out there and celebrate my birthday with a medal, and I’m cool with giving a mediocre performance.
|I was really proud of this afternoon, solo 8 mile run.|
At the end of the day, I know I’ll get to the finish line. (Unless it snows, in which case I may DNS.)
Unlike in 2019, which was also a comeback race, this one feels less momentous and more like a cozy homecoming. In short, the pressure is low.
So, what has training looked like?
It’s included more strength training than I’ve done in the past, way more morning runs, and way more hills. I originally was doing heavy weights twice a week, but in early December decided it was leaving me too fatigued and backed off to light weights once a week. Despite a broken (or badly sprained) toe in December and a bout of the not-really-the-flu, the miles ramped up and training got better.
|My training buddy weighs as much as my light weights.|
The thing is, right this minute I am so sick of training and can’t wait for the race to be over, but I’ve actually felt pretty great leading up to this moment. I am trying not to get bogged down in how I feel now vs. how I’ve been feeling. Just because I’m over it now doesn’t mean this hasn’t been an enjoyable and revitalizing experience.
|The view toward the end of a 7-miler.|
Isn't that always the way?
|Noxgear's new lamp really makes my morning runs easier!|