A non-running Summer nightmare

I can talk all day about the why’s….. I could make up a thousand excuses… I can ponder reasons and doubts and probably come up with a very long list.  Plain and simple, the Summer of 2016 has been a tough running season for me.

 

Normally, every year my racing season ends with a short race, typically early in June.  The Summer is then spent rebuilding sore muscles, recovering from marathons and halves, taking some time off, and then building back for a Fall racing season packed with great races.

This, in part, is very true for the last few months with one exception.  I’ve been on the verge of injury, the brink, since starting back.  I’ve never felt quite right.  I’ve had PF in the past, a bout with it that lasted about 9 months.  A painful injury, but one I ran through causing it to linger way longer than necessary.  I learned my lesson.  Back then, I took a month off from running.  No running at all.  It seemed to do the trick, and when I returned to running slowly, the problem never came back.  The summer of 2016 has been a reminder to me of that pain, that desire to fun free and feel good.  I just haven’t been feeling right all summer.

What running I have done has been short, agonizing at times, and most certainly slow.  I feel like I’ve aged ten years the past four months.  I see all these people posting mileage for the summer, long runs, race prep, etc… It has been painful just to see that.  I want that!  My feet tell me no.  Not yet.

So?  What to do?  I’ve barely even been reading blogs this summer, much less write my own.  I haven’t had really any running news to share, so I just haven’t.  I’ve missed it for sure, but needed to focus on other aspects of my life that needed attention.  But here we are, heading into Fall, so what is my plan?

I didn’t enter the Chicago Marathon lottery this past Spring, so for the first time in three years I will not be heading to the Windy City in October.  I did enter the Berlin Marathon lottery, and I guess fortunately considering my injury status, didn’t get picked because that race is days away.  Marine Corps though, that’s another story.  I did enter the lottery, DID get chosen, so I have one marathon this Fall at the end of October.  I’ve debated over and over again if I should defer, but haven’t decided yet.  Why?  I think I’ve decided to give at least one race a shot and see what kind of condition it leaves me in.  Once that’s over, I’ll know.  I’ll know for sure.

So, without further ado, I AM RACING this weekend.  My body has been in preservation mode, and now needs to quickly flip to racing mode.  A half marathon this weekend should let me know once and for all, if indeed I am either in or out this Fall.  Why you ask, am I racing?  I just need to know.  I need to have a clear direction for this running passion I have for the next several months.

With a pacing gig lined up for mid October, and Marine Corps a few weeks later, and one last Half locally a couple weeks after that, I just need to know if I am back on track or not.  If the race goes ok this weekend, and recovery isn’t bad, I’ll know.  If the race is an epic failure, I’ll know.

So, wish me luck!  I promise to post a recap with all the details, good or bad, next week.    I’m either going to stare injury in the face and beat it, or I’ll be down for the count until 2017.  Should be an epic race either way.  ;). Here goes nothing!

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Major Announcement

Since becoming a marathoner almost 4 years ago, I knew I was destined to run this amazing 26.2 mile distance again and again.  All it took was that first race, that first finish line.  I wanted more, in fact I craved it.

Every runner has a path.  My path has been very exciting, all the while learning about myself, my body and how to run injury free.  The path hasn’t always been easy, and I’ve made mistakes along the way.  Who doesn’t?  The main thing to focus on is the process.  How to get yourself to the starting line, and how best to cross the finish line.  To date, I have now crossed the marathon finish line 23 times.  I am full of gratitude just thinking about that number.  Each race offers a unique runner experience, and in fact, over the next few months I will be hopefully adding another 4 marathon finishes to my repertoire.  Asheville, All American, Rock ‘n’ Roll Raleigh, and Herald of Victory all by the end of May.  How lucky am I?

My marathon journey affords me chances to challenge myself beyond my wildest imagination.  It really is no joke to set out on a 26.2 mile run.  For my ability to run, I am so thankful.  My journey also gives me chances to travel to places I may not have  gone otherwise.  For example, I’ve been to Chicago twice now in two years, both times to run the Bank of America Chicago Marathon.  I’ve only been to NYC once now in the past 18 years, and why?  Yep, you guessed it, to run the TCS New York City Marathon.  Marathons get me places, take me places and sometimes even put me in my place.  I’ve been to Colordao once in my life.  Yes, to run a marathon.  I’ve been to Utah once, again, for a 26.2.  Where to next?  I’ve never been to Boston, but I want to go!  (I’m working on it!).

Amazing marathons exist all over the globe, and I hope to have the chance to travel abroad to many great races.  I recently entered the lottery to run the BMW Berlin Marathon this year, but didn’t get in.  I’ll keep trying.  Eventually I would love to run all six of the Abbott World Marathon Majors.  As my marathon journeys continue, so will my chances to get into the final four majors that I haven’t been so lucky or fortunate to run yet.  What’s left on the list?  Of course the coveted BAA Boston Marathon, but also the Virgin Money London Marathon, BMW Berlin Marathon, and Tokyo Marathon.  This list leads me to my Major Announcement…..  I have been named an Abbott World Marathon Major Ambassador!!!  Yes!  So excited to help spread the word of marathoning and working with this great organization.  I hope you’ll enjoy this journey with me.

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Berlin Marathon

I’ve sort of adopted a new goal over this past year, and it’s a pretty lofty one.  Like many of my readers, I really enjoy traveling.  It’s super fun to be able to travel and to race during the same trip, too.  I’m not altogether sure how realistic this goal is, but I would really love to be able to run each of the six Marathon Majors in the world before I retire from marathoning.

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In 2014, with a stroke of good luck, I was able to run the 1st of the Big 6.  Chicago!  Big city marathons are a production.  Thousands of runners, millions of spectators.  I sort of fell in love with the grandeur of it all.  I checked that one off the list.  When I decided to run New York City this year for charity, it meant that I would be running my 2nd of the Big 6.  Again, an epic race and experience.  Finishing NYC a few weeks ago meant that I had completed 1/3 of the Marathon Majors.  I kinda like this gig!

So, it begs to question…. where to next?  There are four remaining races that I need to run to complete this goal.  The last four are London, Tokyo, Berlin and Boston.  All require travel, and trips abroad, to boot.  Expensive!  Then there’s Boston.  Maybe the hardest one for me to achieve.  Those damn qualifying standards!

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Recently, on a whim, I decided to enter the Berlin Marathon lottery.  The race isn’t until late September in 2016, so if I get in, there is plenty of time to plan the trip.  An epic trip it would be, too.  I’ve never even been abroad.  Never been to Europe.  Wouldn’t that be just an amazing reason to travel to another continent for the first time?  I should know if I get in or not in another few weeks.  The lottery drawing occurs the first week of December.

Curious to know if anyone out there reading this has run the Berlin Marathon in the past?  What did you think?  Would you run it again?  How about anyone out there that has run Tokyo, or London?  Which was your favorite?

I am excited, and a bit nervous to hear the results of the lottery.  If I’m chosen, the journey continues.  If not, which direction, which race will be next?  I’ll be sure to keep you posted.