The subtitle for this post could easily be “Or What I’ve Been Up To Since Chicago.” Following the Chicago Marathon, I took some time off from running. Truthfully, all I wanted was a break from the sometimes unrealistic training expectations that I put on myself when I know I have a big race coming up. I’d basically spent all year in training mode– first for the June 2014 Minneapolis Marathon that I backed out of in April because of burnout and injury that was ultimately cancelled due to severe weather, and then for the October 2014 Chicago Marathon that I started training for in June. Frankly, I wanted to just live how I wanted and not let a training schedule take over my life.
None of this means that I wanted to stop running, however. Actually, for the first time in my life as a runner, I am feeling motivated and appreciative for my sport. I feel like I rose to the challenge of running the entire course at Chicago, and I was hungry for more challenges like that. But right now, I only want to rise to the challenge of becoming strong overall so I don’t get injured again. I want to push myself when it gets hard and embrace the pain that comes with getting out of your comfort zone and getting stronger. Continue reading “Richmond Half-Marathon Training”
Sandwiched in between marathon weekend in Chicago, Illinois and a work conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, I had a free weekend. Typically, I’m such an introvert that usually I really need two days to recoup after a busy week at work and another upcoming busy week at work to just be alone and do my thing, except maybe with the guy I’m dating or a close friend or the occasional group outing. I don’t make huge weekend plans that often; partially because it seems like I am always training for something so I need one of my two weekend evenings free so I can turn in early and wake up early to conquer the sunrise with a long run of some kind. But I left my office on Friday evening with a stark realization: I had a COMPLETELY free weekend and I didn’t really like it. I didn’t have a long training run planned, I wasn’t flying anywhere, my time was all my own. I might be an introvert or whatever, but two days free of social events spent holed up in my studio apartment without the excuse of a raging blizzard or hurricane to keep me indoors was even too much for me. Besides, I had all winter to hibernate– why start early when this weekend’s weather was expected to be nothing short of beautiful? So, I texted a friend to accompany me on a road trip two hours west of our nation’s capital to a world away: the Appalachian Mountains in the heart of Virginia. Time to check out some leaves. Continue reading “If Virginia is for Lovers, Count Me In!”
This week, I got back to a sense of normalcy. I have a job once again so that means I can’t sleep in until 9AM then wander off to 9:30AM yoga pretending not to be curious why so many other people are there on a weekday morning. Waking up in a strange apartment everyday has taken some getting used to. There’s the typical noises of air conditioners going and neighbors wandering down the hall, but in Arlington, Virginia, it seems like there’s literally always a fire to be put out somewhere. Distant sirens are so commonplace here I’m beginning to wonder if I’ll make my fortune by adding that sound to sleeping noise machine apps for “city” folk. I can’t be crazy with that idea…my sleep noise app has a distant train on it, which reminds me of the five years I went to college in a cow town that had trains going through it at all hours. Continue reading “Rooftops, Air Mattresses, and Forced Minimalism”
Friday morning, I woke up on an air mattress on the 11th floor of an Arlington, Virginia high rise, startled at the “world apart” feeling I had in my heart. A week ago, at this time, I was waking up in my Lincoln, Nebraska apartment…two days earlier, it was in my younger sister’s bed at my mom’s house…yesterday, a hotel room in Indianapolis and now
I am here again, waking up in DC. I’m back in “this town.” I have a car; it’s parked three blocks over in a garage. There’s an apartment in this building with my name on it– I just have to wait 15 minutes for the office to open so I can go get the key and move in. There’s a desk in an office building downtown, ready for me to sit down at it on Monday morning. And everything is back to the way I feel like it should be. Continue reading “Back in DC”
Like everyone, I’ve had my share of life experiences that make me realize, among other things, that I am not invincible. I can’t fake everything all the time, I can’t always be the person I visualize in my head, I can’t deny that sometimes I would rather sleep in, shut out, and shut down than handle one more thing. After all, it’s true that ducks, looking all cool and calm, paddle like hell under the surface of the water, but when they see a predator come after them, they freak out and fly away. They put the kibosh on the whole “cool, calm, and collected” thing and go a little nuts to get out of harm’s way so they can paddle another day. That’s kind of where I’m at with moving and marathon training right now.
Any runner knows that the running community is a social media community. Running and training equals hours of our lives on beautiful trails where we feel at our best, so it’s only natural for us to want to showcase what we are doing out there with a few selfies and photos of our favorite trails. In turn, we runners get motivated and inspiration from seeing what other runners are going through and we want to pass that along.
Last week, I was in DC visiting friends and interviewing for new opportunities when, as I was lacing up for an early morning run, I realized that I didn’t have very many photos of myself running along the National Mall or any of the other trails where I had spent hours of my life training to run the 2011 Marine Corps Marathon, 2013 Goofy Challenge, and 2013 Rock ‘n Roll USA Marathon. I can still remember my best training runs on the National Mall– the spot in front of the Hirshorn Museum where I cried upon finishing my first 18-mile training run or, at that time, the furthest I had ever run, looping my fifth time around the tree-lined path off the Reflecting Pool by the Lincoln Monument on a chilly 10-miler and getting a solid second wind upon seeing a strong 8:31 split. I saw countless hazy amber sunsets, dodged thousands of tourists (the spot in front of the National Air and Space Museum is a total bottle-neck), and felt the weight of realization that I was blessed to have a place to train that most would consider a bucket list run. It’s true that you have to connect with your trail to be successful as a runner, and while I have those memories of some amazing runs, I had only a few photos that documented my runs there. I felt like this had to change, so I grabbed my Panasonic Lumix camera with its self-timer and 14 megapixels, and headed out the door. Continue reading “But First…”