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Going for the BQ

September 1st, 2013 | Posted by Lindsay Runs in Blog Posts - (1 Comments)

Helloooooo, September. How’d you creep up on us so fast? While I’m pretty bummed tomorrow marks the unofficial end of summer, I do love fall in New York City and can’t wait for slightly cooler and less humid temperatures for running.

The start of September also means that in just one week, I’ll be running a marathon. Gulp. After absolutely lovingggg Boston 2012 (aka the ‘speed can kill’ heat race), I knew I couldn’t wait to get back for 2014. But then life, work, injuries and accidents got in the way of running other marathons, which meant I haven’t run a race of any type since Boston/Big Sur in April 2012 and thus my qualifying times are all outdated. While Boston registration remained open through the Chicago Marathon last year, I am fairly confident that won’t be the case this year since everyone and their mom seems to want to do Boston this year given last year’s events.

So, I knew I couldn’t wait until Chicago to get my time, and that I should start searching for early September marathons to seek out a new BQ time before registration opens. Back in April, I stumbled upon the Lehigh Valley VIA Marathon and decided it fit the bill perfectly: runner-friendly fast course, relatively minimal travel, and perfect timing on September 8th. I quickly registered and hoped I wouldn’t regret the impulsive decision laster.

My goal for the race is to get a comfortable BQ time between 3:20 and 3:25, which is at least 17+ minutes slower than my PR and should normally not be a big deal (for me.) But after the bike accident, I was pretty slow to return to running and really started doubting whether or not a 7:40-7:50 pace was even doable for 26.2 miles. While I was only able to run 1 mile at the end of May, I’ve seen major progression over the last few weeks especially and feel really, really good about the race!

I’m trying to treat it as a uptempo long run (NOT RACE), with the goal of slightly negative splits and feeling smooth and comfortable, holding myself back from the impulse to push the pace. I know I might get carried away a bit, but will remind myself I just need ANY time in that window and there is no point in going any faster. I just want to check the BQ box and then focus on a better time at Chicago.

Running lately has been going pretty well, with a few confidence boosting runs and workouts along the way. I did 19.5 miles last weekend, since I was too lazy to go 20, and ran around nearly the entire island of Manhattan.

Long run, 8/24

We had intended to make it a slightly faster paced long run with a faster-ish finish, and I felt awesome the entire time. We started around 8:00 pace per usual, and then brought it down to 7:45s and 7:30s and under towards the end. We averaged around 7:45 pace for the whole run, meaning adding on another 6+ miles should be no big deal next weekend, right?

And then this past Thursday, we did one of my favorite tempo workouts for marathon training– a continuous 8 miler with the first 4 mile loop at marathon pace and the second loop at half-marathon pace.

In my experience with this, everyone always ends up going way faster than their actual marathon pace for the first loop. I knew I wanted to start conservatively and feel good at the end, so aimed around/under 7:00 pace for the first 4 and hoped I could hang onto the group for the end.

Workout, 8/29

The good thing about doing these consistent workouts is being able to compare to years prior. I was pretty excited when I realized I had also averaged 6:45 pace for this workout before NYC ’11. And I was in kick ass shape when I did this before Boston ’12, averaging 6:32 pace and feeling really relaxed. Nonetheless, it was a huge confidence booster and testament to the body’s amazing ability to make fitness gains. Back in July, I could barely hold a 2 mile tempo at this pace and wanted to die.

So, fingers crossed for next weekend! My right shin started feeling a little funky after Thursday, but otherwise no aches or pains. I feel good but need to respect that 26.2 miles is a LONG way and I’m probably delusional for thinking it’ll be a casual Sunday morning yog. BQ, here I come… ready or not.

Happy Labor Day weekend, all! 

Running, lately.

August 16th, 2013 | Posted by Lindsay Runs in Blog Posts - (3 Comments)

The last few weeks of training have been pretty motivating, as my workouts have been getting progressively faster. There have been plenty of days where I contemplate “oversleeping” and skipping morning runs, and team workouts still give me knots in my stomach from nerves. But I’ve been showing up and continually putting in the work, and I think it’s (finally!) starting to pay off. As I’ve mentioned, getting back into shape is incredibly frustrating, humbling, and rewarding.

Here’s a quick summary of the last few weeks (because I’m sure you’ve been waiting in suspense….)

w/o 7/22: Total 51 miles

  • M: 8.25 + lift
  • T: a.m. workout @ Great Lawn; 8×600 w/ 200 jog– from 6:23 pace to 6:00 pace
  • W: Off
  • R: late to p.m. workout ~1.75 @ 6:35 pace; 2x Harlem Hill/transverse, 6:43, 6:30; pickups at end
  • F: 5.25 + lift
  • S: 2 mile ‘fun race’ to Parker House in NJ (4th place) 11:28. Definitely a short course, but ended in an open bar so no complaints here.
  • S: 15 miles trails w/ Kristen in NJ; picked up last miles 7:49, 7:19, 6:50

Kristen & I pre-race. We’re ready to drink all of the beer.

w/o 7/29: Total 51 miles

  • M: 8.5 + lift
  • T: a.m. Lower Loop, 1 mile @ 6:38, 8×400 w/ 200 jog– ranged from 7:05 pace to 6:12 pace. Legs heavyyyy.
  • W: Off
  • R: p.m. 4.06 tempo in 26:54 (6:37 avg) 6:47, 6:30, 6:41, 6:29. Ran solo for most.
  • F: 7.25
  • S: 17.75 long run while watching Club Champs– longest run so far!
  • S: Off

w/o 8/5: Total 46.75 miles

  • M: 8.5 mi + bike commute
  • T: a.m. Great Lawn: 6x~800 w/ 400 jog; ranged from 6:30 pace to 5:54 pace. Took a while to wake up…
  • W: 4 miles, extremely tired and so slow
  • R: a.m. tempo 5.12 in 35:47 (6:59 avg.)– hard to get moving/breathing in the morning // p.m. free SoulCycle class for work
  • F: Off
  • S: Off (sick)
  • S: 13.25 “long” run

 w/o 8/12: Planned ~55 total

  • M: 9.5
  • T: p.m. track workout: 5×1000: 3:49, 3:53, 3:51, 3:50, 3:47 (approx 5:59-5:46 pace)- felt good + lift
  • W: 7.5
  • R: p.m. tempo: 6.1 in 40:17 (6:37 avg) 6:46, 6:41, 6:19, 6:47, 6:36, 6:37- felt good & consistent
  • F: Off
  • S: Planned long run?
  • S: Planned off or short run?

Here’s the thing about my workouts and mental state lately. I have had zero confidence. Particularly on Thursday nights when I meet with the whole team for practice, I always feel unsure of who to try to run with since I’m not in shape enough to hang with my regular group. I’m just not as familiar with who else runs what paces and I hate being that annoying person going around asking what pace everyone is planning to run. So sometimes, I find myself in limbo– lacking confidence to go with a faster group because I don’t want to get dropped, but a bit quicker than the other. One day, I doubted myself and ran with the 2nd group and found myself running practically the entire 4 mile tempo alone. My pace was good, and sometimes I enjoy a solo effort, but I regretted not challenging myself and going with the faster group because I was too scared.

Well, that’s dumb. So this week, I opted to go with the quicker group on both Tuesday AND Thursday nights. And I didn’t get entirely dropped, I just hung along the back. Surprise! It wasn’t so bad after all.

Workout 8/15/13

In fact, this tempo is pretty much on par with my regular pace for these workouts, which I was quite surprised by. Maybe it was the slightly cooler weather, or maybe I’m just getting stronger mentally, but it’s been a good reminder to stop doubting myself or playing it safe. While I’m still not expecting to run close to my PR in Chicago, maybe I won’t be as far off as I thought I’d be when I started this training cycle.

Oh, PS, have I mentioned I’m “racing” the VIA Marathon on 9/8? I keep conveniently forgetting about it. I’m just running it as a long run to get a BQ time (since my last marathon was April ’12). Yep, just a casual 26.2 mile run. As long as I clear 3:25 (7:49 pace), I’ll feel confident about being able to get in for Boston ’14. Since this post is long enough, hopefully more on that to come…

This weekend, I’m headed up to Garrison, NY for Alex’s wedding weekend. Alex and I met through Central Park Track Club, when we discovered we ran the 2010 NYC Marathon within seconds of each other (literally) and became perfect training buds and friends. You might remember we even did Boston 2 Big Sur together! I’m so excited to head up with a few other girls from the team and celebrate her and Steve’s big day and dance the night away.

Slowly but surely, I’ve been building my mileage up and starting to get back into the groove. In fact, this past week was the first time I (barely) cracked 40 miles– including 2 workouts and a ‘long’ run. My sore legs and tired body are slowly recalling the routine I’ve been out of for a while. Welcome back to training.

Let’s be honest, I don’t anticipate finding the time to blog about every week of training leading up to Chicago, but I’ll do my best to try! But I’ll definitely be updating my training log online, so get your fill over there if I become MIA again.

Here’s a quick snapshot of this past week, with some details on the workouts:

w/o 7/8: 

  • Monday: 5 miles easy on Randall’s Island
  • Tuesday: Workout in a.m. around bridle– 3 x 600/400/300 with 200 recovery between
  • Wednesday: Off
  • Thursday: Morning workout at Exceed Fitness; Night workout– repeats of 2 miles, 2 miles, 1 mile
  • Friday: 7 miles easy in morning
  • Saturday: 12 miles easy
  • Sunday: Off
Total: 41.25 miles

This training cycle, I’m trying to get in two main workouts a week when I can: shorter intervals on Tuesdays, and longer tempos on Thursdays. This is the schedule Central Park Track Club sets out, and in the past I’ve only been good about incorporating Thursday workouts into my schedule– even for NYC ’11 and Boston ’12.

Last summer, my friends and I started a new routine of doing the Tuesday workout most mornings when we meet. Doing it in the morning in the park is much more convenient than heading to the track after work and allows another free weeknight to work or have a life. The shorter intervals are usually a bit easier to digest at 6:40 in the morning than a longer tempo, and we focus more on effort and getting our legs moving than time and splits as the terrain often varies and can’t be compared to a track.

That said, Tuesday’s workout was 3 x 600, 400, and 300 meter repeats with 200 meter jog between intervals and 400 meter between sets. We did the workout on the bridle path around the reservoir, generally estimating on our watches how long each interval was. Approximately, my splits were:

  • 2:31, 1:41, 1:15
  • 2:38, 1:37, 1:18
  • 2:25, 1:35, 1:07

Those times mean nothing to me, especially since they were on the annoying little ‘hills’ (that are nice on a normal run, but brutal during a speed workout) and uneven dirt. But at least my last set was ‘fastest’. Counts for something, right?

And then we celebrated Alex’s birthday by grilling in my patio!

I’m usually not one for double workouts, but I am trying to get a bit better about incorporating lifting into my routine, even if it’s for 5 minutes at the end of a run. So, when my coworker invited me to a complimentary workout class at Exceed Physical Culture on Thursday morning as part of something Chobani is sponsoring, I was intrigued. I was planning to run Thursday night’s workout and didn’t want to be tired for that, but I also didn’t want to turn down a free class that’d be awesome strength training.

Getting my butt kicked.

O.M.G. The squats, TRX exercises, burpees, kettlebell moves, and more left my legs toast. Seriously. I consider my legs pretty strong from running but I was walking like a penguin by Friday morning– turns out, there are a lot of other leg muscles I suppose I don’t use on a regular basis.

So I headed to Thursday night’s workout a bit sore and tired, but got through the workout not-so-gracefully. The workout on tap was 2 miles through the 72 transverse and up Cat Hill to the 102nd st transverse, another 2 miles through the 102nd st transverse and back south down (up?) the rolling west side hills to the 72nd st statue, and then 1 hard mile up Cat Hill to Engineer’s Gate. Holy hills, my quads were not happy.

  • 2 miles: 6:58, 6:45
  • 2 miles: 7:01, 6:48
  • 1 mile: 6:55

I definitely had to work hard to keep those paces and had a solid group around me to try to keep up with which was awesome. And, it was my first Thursday night workout back which was exciting! But honestly, I’m still having a hard time (mentally, and physically of course) not being able to run at my ‘normal’ workout paces with my ‘normal’ group. I’m respecting my level and doing what I can right now, but it’s a bit discouraging to compare these times to previous workouts.

I’m incredibly competitive with myself, and know the issue of comparison is going to be an ongoing struggle for quite some time. I’ll just keep having to remind myself to enjoy the journey, and hopefully I’ll get back to my ‘normal’ self at some point in the future– run by run.

Back to the Bridle

July 4th, 2013 | Posted by Lindsay Runs in Uncategorized - (2 Comments)

This might be the first positive post I’ve written in 2013! After a weird knee injury and getting hit by a cab, January through May were pretty bleak. For the bike accident not being too serious, I was surprised and humbled by how long it took my back to heal. I did zero activity for a good month, which was kinda awesome. I love running, but I also love extra sleep.

Finally, on May 19th, this happened:

It was a great (albeit rainy) day. I eased in gradually, and it even took a few weeks until my mileage was high enough to make it to Central Park, do a short bridle loop, and go home. I’m a big believer in coming back from time off very slowly and cautiously. Three weeks into running consistently, 6 miles was a ‘long’ run for me. I officially started keeping a log of my training the w/o 6/10– marking the 4 month count down to the Chicago Marathon– which you can view and/or stalk here.

It makes me so happy to be back into the routine of morning runs in Central Park with friends, which helps the miles fly by and get me out there before the temps rise (though, this recent humidity is a different story.)

Not taken while running.

Whether I’m running with friends or going solo, my morning run is easily one of the best parts of my day. It’s early and I’m half asleep most days, but it’s relaxed, peaceful and selfish ‘me’ time. After not being able to run too consistently for nearly a year, I love being able to create that time to do something good for myself most days. No distractions or stress, just time for good conversation while our feet hit the bridle (and, drip in sweat– ugh, summer running.) It makes me happy to kick the day off with something that I love and brings out the good in me. It might be cheesy, but it motivates me to get up each morning, knowing my mood and sanity will benefit from it. Plus, it feels good to get in a routine and work towards some goals again.

Speaking of goals… I’m still figuring them out. While I’d love nothing more than to PR or break 3:00 in Chicago this fall, I’m trying to be realistic and easy on myself. While I’ve said many, many times in the past that the competitive spirit in me hates racing unless I’m going to PR, I acknowledge I’m in a different mental and physical state right now and that’s okay. It’s been over a year since I’ve done Boston 2 Big Sur, and I just need to get back to racing… whatever form that takes.

So, I’m just trying to enjoy the journey and see where this summer takes me. It’s incredibly difficult and humbling to get back into shape, but it’s also a rewarding process that I like seeing unfold. My workouts so far have been incredibly slow (for me), but I know that I just need to keep putting in the work– no matter the pace– and it’ll slowly get easier and better. It can be frustrating to see the paces and think about where I used to be or where I should be, but I also know I don’t respond well to unnecessarily stressing out or over-thinking it and don’t want to hit a breaking point like last summer. Re-reading that post reminds me of the stress and sad funk I got myself into.

Life is slowly but surely getting in a better place. More focus and support at work, less travel and more time with friends and family, more time to relax and destress, better sleep throughout most nights, and more days running than not. While I’ve got a long road ahead of me ’til Chicago, it’ll be a different journey I’m looking forward to.

And now, I’m off to hang and enjoy beautiful NYC this fourth of July– happy running, all!

When I last updated about 2 months ago (sorry!), I was pretty frustrated– I wasn’t able to run because of my knee/IT issues, and I wasn’t seeing much progress. I was throwing myself a bit of a pity party, probably from the lack of endorphins and withdrawal from the bridle path.

And maybe I should re-name this blog “Lindsay Never Runs” because 2 months later, I’m back in the same place. Let’s rewind…

In early March, I started seeing Dr. Levine, a pseudo celeb in NYC running-land, for ART and Graston that really helped my leg. After a few weeks of seeing him 2x/week, I was seeing awesome progress. I also stopped cross-training because I thought spinning might not be resting my IT enough, and I wanted to get back to running ASAP. I finally eased into running…with no pain! I gradually worked my way up from a mile a few times a week (so. out. of. shape.) It felt SO good to reunite with my friends on the bridle path, and kickstart my day with some fresh air and sweat.

In mid-April, I had worked my way up to a long run of 6 miles (!) pain-free. While I was huffing and puffing slowly through Central Park, at least I was out there and nothing hurt. Times were good, friends!

In mid-April, I also got a bike and started bike commuting to and from work.

It’s teal and it’s perfect.

If you’re a fellow resident of the Upper East Side, you can empathize with how terrible the 4/5/6 train is each morning. My commute to work down on Spring St is easily the most rage-inducing part of my day, as the subways can be so ridiculously slow and crowded. Including a 10 min walk to the subway, my commute can take anywhere from 30-50 minutes depending on the day. It shouldn’t. However, it takes ~30 minutes to bike door to door and is so much nicer (except the part of 2nd ave where the bike & car lane are one. eeee).

The night of my bike’s one week birthday, I was riding home from hanging with my sister who was in town from LA for work. It was around 10 p.m., but still plenty of cars/people outside. I was biking up 1st Avenue in the bike lane, and as I approached 79th street, the light turned from green to yellow. I went through the yellow since I had full momentum on the bike.

Well, the cab heading east on 79th street had a different idea as he went through his red light, likely in anticipation of the light turning green soon. In the process, he hit me and knocked me off my bike. Thankfully, I was wearing my helmet, didn’t lose consciousness, or visibly break any limbs or worse. I even tried to get up and insist I was fine, I was only 9 blocks from home after all, but felt shooting pains in my lower back and side when I tried to lift myself up.

And so, kind strangers helped get me to the sidewalk and called me an ambulance. They helped me call my friend Noelle who lives close by, who met me as I was in the ambulance and came to the hospital with me and called my sister.  Even though I knew I was okay physically for the most part, I couldn’t stop bawling. It was so scary, I don’t think I’ve ever been in an ambulance before?

I went to the ER (thanks, kind staff at NY Presbyterian Cornell!), bike and all, and got checked out. Thankfully, they thought it was just extreme muscle soreness and nothing was broken– I left close to 3am, prescription for pain meds in hand. It hurt to walk and bend, so I didn’t leave my apartment for 5 days. I half-worked from home on Thursday and Friday just to combat my boredom and feel productive.

Day 4. Still on the couch. BOO.

I can’t express how thankful I am for the support of friends and family who kept me company when I couldn’t get out of bed or move far from my couch and delivered delicious things like flowers, Pinkberry and cupcakes to my door. Who walked with me from the 24/7 pharmacy to my apartment at 3:30 am so I wouldn’t have to leave the next day to fill my prescription. Who put up with me when all I wanted was extra sauce on my chicken parm hero and Luigi’s forgot it. Who brought me bagels and coffee while we were glued to the couch watching Boston coverage. Who came with bottles of wine and food to have a girls night in and plot my return to Boston ’14 (more on that another day). Who delivered my laptop from the office and a 6-pack and pint of ice cream. (Guys, I’m literally not moving from my bed, I don’t need any more food. But I’ll eat every last bite, thanks.)

And everyone who sent amazing emails, texts and tweets wishing me well and offering to help in any way. That meant the world to me! There is no better feeling than to know you have a large support network in such a big city that often times still doesn’t feel like home. And the biggest shoutout to my mom, who spent all of Wednesday cleaning my apartment, doing my laundry, and making me food. She is the best and I’m thankful to have family so close.

I returned to work (slowly) on Monday, still a bit out of it thanks to the Percocet. I went to my primary care doctor to get a referral for x-rays, as the sides of my ribs were a bit tender and I hadn’t felt that immediate after the accident. We also did a saline injection on the primary spot of pain in my lower/mid back which seemed to help alleviate some discomfort. Which was good, because on Thursday night I had vacation plans to head to Iceland!

Reykjavik

Not gonna lie, the pain put a damper on the trip for me as the pain is pretty constant with every step, but I had a blast! Until one morning I was stretching out my back muscles and felt a ‘pop’ in the side of my rib cage followed by immediate shooting pain. I immediately thought I popped a rib out of place and panicked. There were tears and lots of ice packs, followed by slow movements the rest of the trip. I decided to wait it out until I returned home since I was scared to go to the ER in a foreign country and didn’t want to miss out on vacation.

Gullfoss Waterfall

 

Blue Lagoon + beers? Heaven.

We flew back to NYC on Monday night, and once I got back to my apartment, weirdly came down with a high fever and terrible aches/chills. Because I’m a symptom Google-r, I was immediately convinced my dislocated rib had led to an infection in my lung like pneumonia and I was dying. I tried to sleep it off but woke up at 3:30am and felt terrible. So, at 4 am I checked myself back into the hospital so they could take a look at my ribs and do an x-ray immediately. And because I’m a baby when I’m sick, I called my mom and she drove into the city to meet me as soon as I was done with x-rays. (I swear I’m an adult).

Thankfully, nothing is broken or fractured, though I’m still not sure what that ‘pop’ was in my ribs. Seems like I just severely tore/aggravated/inflammed the muscles around and in between my ribs after being weakened from the accident. It still really hurts, especially when moving from side to side when sleeping, and I can’t really cough or breathe deeply without feeling aggravation.

I’m no doctor, but this is where it hurts on my left side. Darn intercostals.

So, it’s been nearly 3 weeks since my accident, and thus, 3 weeks in which I haven’t done any type of exercise. Given that it still hurts to walk and breathe, I don’t think I’ll be returning to running anytime soon…

It’s also been 1 year since I last ran a race (Boston 2 Big Sur), which is probably the longest period since I started running 13 years ago. Depressing, to say the least. Due to crazy busyness/stress, I pulled out of Chicago ’12 in mid-August because I couldn’t handle high volume training at the time. I had to skip a few winter tune-up races and the NYC Half because of the stupid IT/knee issues, and I definitely won’t be able to run (even for fun!) the Brooklyn Half.

So many race fees down the drain, so many doctor’s co-pays, so many depressing thoughts and feelings of helplessness. It’s been a not-so-great year on the running front (and my bank account), to say the least.

At least I have a bit of time on my side, for now. While I’d like to be spending May building a semi-solid running base to kick off training for Chicago ’13 instead of on my couch, realistically I have until June to really start laying the foundation with 4 months out. I won’t attempt to run or exercise until the pain is fully gone. It’s also still too soon to tell if anything else is out of whack or misaligned from the accident that could pop up once I start running.

But I have my health, and I know that the accident could have been so much worse if the driver was going faster, he hit me at a different angle, I fell differently, etc. It also happened the day after the Boston Marathon, which really put everything in perspective. I will run again, it’s just a matter of when and how fast. ‘Till then, you can find me walking slowly, consuming mass amounts of froyo and margaritas, and watching terrible TV re-runs.

And yes, the bike came away entirely unscathed :)

Well, it’s been about a month since I last wrote– and I’d been meaning to post earlier as I was gradually returning to running and workouts (woo!), but the good times didn’t last too long.

I returned to running kinda gradually, and got back into workouts when I felt more confident, as my knee/leg issues seemed to be getting better. I felt in tune with my body and the lessening pain, and felt I could do a mix of running and cross-training, and with continued icing, foam rolling & stretching, the pain would gradually work itself out. And it seemed to be getting better, so I kept at it.

Until one day, after a workout and a ‘long’ run, my legs were super tight. Typically, an easy shake out run and a day or two of rest works out the stiffness for me– tight legs and sore muscles are common, and a given when increasing training load. But when things still felt off almost a week later, I knew something wasn’t right. I was clearly altering my gait to compensate for the pain, creating tightness and stiffness in entirely new areas unrelated to the knee/hip pain I’ve been dealing with for 2 months now.

About 1.5 weeks ago, I completed one of my favorite CPTC workouts– 8 miles, 4 at marathon pace and 4 at half-marathon pace. While my paces weren’t even close to my norms, which I’m OK with and respect, the bigger red flag was the leg stiffness that prevented me from opening my stride and settling into a rhythm. It felt like every step forward required SO much effort and balance, and I was totally limping on our cooldown. I rested on Friday, and decided to meet up with friends to shake it out on Saturday morning.

About 5 miles into that run, I called it quits. My leg, typically stiff to start but eases up after I warm up, wasn’t cooperating. I hung my head and had a total runner’s walk of shame the entire mile from Central Park to my apartment. It was cold, just starting to drizzle, and miserable. I resisted shedding some tears from frustration, and resigned myself to the fact that I just need to stop running until my leg gets 100% better.

I had been gearing up into workouts and regular runs in hope I could do the NYC Half as a workout and potentially get fit to PR by the Brooklyn Half in May. At this point, I know neither of those goals are attainable. I started to see a new doctor upon Kelly’s recommendation, for ART, Graston and chiropractic adjustments. My old PT didn’t do any of these things so I’m hopeful.

If I’m being honest, these past 9-10 months have been really defeating. Mentally, physically. The last race I ran was the Big Sur Marathon at the end of April ’12– though that was more of a run than a race, as with the ‘speed can kill’ Boston Marathon inferno last April as well. That’s a long time for me!

For someone who has been running seriously for the last 12 years, I have come to define myself as a runner. I feel most like myself when I am fit and cranking out long runs, workouts, and racing. I measure confidence and success by these runs and race results. I don’t just run to run, I run to run fast. And not being able to do so has me a bit depressed. Who am I?

I took a break this summer/early fall due to travel and stress demands. For my sanity and my health, that was the best decision for me at the time and while it was personally sad not running Chicago ’12, I don’t regret it one bit. Along the way, some weird health issues that I’m still trying to figure out have me feeling (and looking) totally unlike myself; I initially felt like I could get physically fit again through training but it’s pretty clear to me that I need to take some medical steps to make things normal again. And then there’s the knee/leg issue that’s been persistently bothering me since before Christmas. Set back after set back after set back. I don’t even want to calculate the amount of $$ I’ve spent in registration fees for races I haven’t run and continued doctor’s co-pays.

And yet, because I’m an optimist and I need to picture a light at the end of this funky tunnel, on February 19th I found myself cursing Active.com and accidentally registering twice for this race.

Chicago Marathon, I’m coming for you again! Thankful I decided to register before it turned into a lottery.

Call it silly based on how the last year has unfolded for me; the negative voice in me thinks I just need a true break from running and need to accept I’ve peaked and I’ll never get faster than my 3:03 at NYC ’11. I’m determined to try to take the right steps to sort things out, get healthy, get fit, and continue my quest at sub-3:00. I’m only 25 (26 in about 2 weeks) and know beyond a lifetime of running, I better still have a few good years of competition ahead of me.

It’s still so early, and I need to be realistic with what I can achieve, but I owe it to myself to go for it. Maybe I’ll have to end up swallowing my ego and running this race for fun (vs. DNS-ing like this year), but I need to try. For the sake of my sanity, self, and happiness. I long for the feeling of a solid training cycle and successful race– where you’re truly challenged, motivated and driven throughout the process and accomplished post-race. I know I shouldn’t let running define me and dictate my happiness so much, but at this point in my life it’s still something I love and a passion point for me.

So, I’ll be working on getting myself healthy and back to baseline. I don’t know when I’ll return to running, but I’m going to be patient and cross-train until I feel fully confident there is no pain. If you’re still reading this long rambling after my once-a-month sporadic posting schedule, you rock. I’ll admit this has been a long, frustrating struggle but I’m hanging in to get back and better, and I thank you for checking on on my progress (or lack thereof).