She’s (Sort of) Back!

No, I haven’t fallen off the face of the earth. And I certainly haven’t given up running!

 

Since the last time I posted, I’ve completed the Hot Chocolate 15K, the Too Cold to Hold 5K, the Fort Worth Zoo Run, and the DC Wonder Woman 5K! There’s also been a cold, travel, and two licensing exams for work (PS I passed both on the first try). And while I’ve managed (to varying degrees) to keep running, but now I’m having to dial it back for a while.

 

Why? Two words: plantar fasciitis. The “good news” is this isn’t my first time dealing with plantar fasciitis, so at least I know what to do. The bad news is I have to lay off running for a bit to give my foot a chance to get back to normal. So, for the next few weeks, I get to spend a lot of time on my bike (when it’s not raining), a lot of time in the pool, and a lot of time just cross training, in general.

Rock N Roll Dublin: The Half Marathon

So, for anyone that’s (still) wondering, I didn’t meet my time goal for this race. I was hoping to finish in faster than 2:27:32. Instead, I finished in 2 hours, 56 minutes, and 24 seconds. Yes, it’s still a respectable time. Yes, I finished the race upright. But it’s been a few weeks, and I have to admit that it still bugs me.

 

It hurts to spend weeks working for a goal and not meet it. It stings a little more when you’ve spent weeks blogging in the lead up to said goal attempt. But, if we’re being honest, this failure was just a reminder that sometimes I’m my own worst enemy. My problem wasn’t a lack of physical training; my problem came down to the space between my own two ears.  I’ll own that, and I’m already working on that for the next few races.

 

In the meantime, finish time notwithstanding, let me just say that this will go down as one of my favorite races. It’s hard to be completely bummed out when you had the chance to run in another country—a beautiful one, at that—in some of your favorite running temps. This race may not have been perfect, but it was still no less amazing.

 

And in the meantime, all I can do is keep learning, keep trying, and keep running.

 

Worth the Read

Somewhere back in the spring, I’d heard that American marathon legend Deena Kastor had released a book. Ever the good bookworm, I made sure to add it to the ever-growing to-be-read list, and I finally started reading her memoir two weeks ago. When you’re deep in race training, reading about other runners is the perfect choice. 😉

 

This post won’t be a full-blown review, but I will recommend this book to runners and non-runners, alike. Kastor and Hamilton write in such a way that it feels like you’re sitting down and just listening to an old friend tell a story. It’s not bogged down with technical runner jargon, so it’s easy for non-runners to follow along. And as she tells her story, she also lays out the mental work that allowed her to become a champion runner.

 

It was definitely fascinating to read about the life of an American legend (and if you do a quick Google search of Kastor’s accomplishments, you’ll know “legend” is not an exaggeration). But Kastor’s book is more than just a listing of victories. The writing radiates with Kastor’s positivity, and as she progresses, her story provides helpful tips, insights, and encouragement along the way. And as is often the case, the lessons and encouragement Kastor provides hold true not only in running, but the rest of life, as well.

 

I was sad to reach the end of this book, last night, which means I’ll be reading this one, again, eventually. Kastor left me feeling like I could not only become a better runner, but a better person, as well, and for that, I am grateful.

The Constant

Everybody has their own way of dealing with change. My way just happens to involve running shoes.

 

I had my heart broken, so I laced up a pair of sneakers and started running around my neighborhood. Sweltering summer humidity in the South is a great to help you forget your woes. No, seriously, I was too busy putting one foot in front of the other that I could forget about the hurt (temporarily, anyway). And, in the process, I found a new hobby.

 

Now fast forward two years: I moved halfway across the country and started my masters degree, so the early part of first semester found me on a treadmill at the school gym a couple times a week. I’d like to say I was always diligent about running that first semester, but midterms might have had something to do with getting out of my running routine.

 

Five years later, I had my heart broken, again, so off I went to the local park to do what I’d done before: run my way to wholeness. By this point, I’ve finished my masters, and I’m working my first full-time job. So now, in addition to my own healing, running is also about offsetting the effects of a sedentary job and a two-hour, roundtrip commute. Incidentally, this was also the point that running finally clicked as a steady constant in my life, and I finally bit the bullet and invested in my first “real” pair of running shoes.

 

I can keep going listing all the major changes in my life over the last few years, but then we’d be here a while. I found my way to running in the face of change. And regardless what changes have—and continue—to come my way, part of the answer to how I respond to said changes is always the same: lace up the running shoes and go run. The when and where had changed. The time of day has changed. The shoes have changed multiple times. And yet, at some point, every change involves running.

 

In the face of a shifting landscape, running is the constant—the one place where all the variables can fade away and I can, usually, find the perspective to face whatever change (or changes) is happening in my life. Somewhere in the sweat, the sidewalks, and the effort, change stops being something scary and starts becoming something I can handle. And to that end, running is going to be part of my life for a very long time.

 

 

7 Days Out

The first race on my schedule is the Rock N Roll Dublin Half Marathon in August. And training starts next week. 7 days out from training, I haven’t been running all that much, but I’ve gotten a little bit better about hitting the weights (cross training is key to improving my running performance). It’s helped solidify the habit for me, so it’ll be easier for me to stick with it once training kicks into higher gears.

With a week to go before training, part of me knows I should savor the time where getting up at 4 AM isn’t a necessity. And yet, I’m looking forward to getting back into training. The early mornings can be brutal, but I’m looking forward to running in the dark and the quiet, again. I’m looking forward to the rhythm of the schedule. I’m looking forward to the challenge of it all.

More than anything, I’m just looking forward to the chance to rise to the occasion, again, and show myself what’s possible.

And So It Begins…

If the first thing you do on payday is sign up for 2–yes, that’s right, 2–races, you might be a runner! 😉

This may not be the case for every single runner on the planet, it’s certainly true of this runner, today. I’ve signed up for the Trinity River Half Marathon and the BMW Dallas Marathon. Oh, and I’m already signed up to run the Rock N Roll Dublin Half Marathon this summer. Suffice it to say, things are about to get busy in my world as training kicks into gear.

My invitation to you is to come along for the ride that is race training and running. Follow along and find out what it means to be a runner. Come hang out and laugh with me and, see what running does for the rest of my life.

Come along. Have fun.

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