Saturday, June 29, 2013

Where I've Been and Where I'm Going, v2.0

This time last year--almost one year to the date, in fact--I wrote a blog post titled "Where I've Been and Where I'm Going." In it, I detailed a lackluster spring, a nagging injury and an abysmal showing at the US Half-Marathon Championships in Duluth (sound familiar?!), but--and here's where I finally get to the good part--it also served as a preview of sorts for what was to become a simple, beautiful, uncomplicated, flawless summer of training. Though I didn't know it at the time, the following Monday I would embark on a virtually uninterrupted streak of 14+ 100-mile weeks, culminating with a two-minute PR at Philly Marathon in November. 

I was standing on the precipice, full of some paradoxical mixture of uncertainty and resolve, determined not to look back at the failures behind me but, rather, to the scarily intangible potential ahead. I was prepared to put my full energy into the pursuit of an uncertain outcome, trusting that the only possible direction to go was forward, and with abandon.

Flash forward to a year later, to now. This spring has been an unequivocal bust, comprising one great race and a handful of objectively underwhelming ones. My trip to Italy was amazing, but instead of returning fit and healthy and poised to execute a quality segment of training in preparation for this year's Half Champs, I limped my way through a few miserable, discouraging months. My work travel, often a hurdle that proves challenging when I'm in the thick of a training cycle, this time served as a blessing in disguise. In the past 28 days, I've visited--and by that I mean conducted legitimate business or spent significant time in, not just passed through the airport of--Chicago, Madison, Edmonton, Calgary, Denver, Minneapolis, Duluth, San Luis Obispo and Huntington Beach. There were plenty of days when I couldn't have run even if I'd wanted to--and with a throbbing shin and a woeful lack of fitness, I wasn't exactly dying to hit the pavement. I still went to Duluth, the travel locked in and the girls' weekend planned long ago, and I don't regret it for a second even though it meant dropping out of my second consecutive national championship race. Unlike last year, I didn't leave feeling as though I wasn't good enough to compete among those women. Instead, I felt a renewed sense of determination to replicate last summer's archetypical training and translate it into another successful fall marathon, to prove myself yet again, even if I'm the only one taking notice.  

hold your own/know your name/and go your own way

So, here I am once more, on the precipice. I'm far from fit, but finally healthy. My sole goal for the remainder of 2013 is to come away with the "A" standard for the 2016 Olympic Marathon Trials, which is 2:37:00. Even if this doesn't happen right away, I'll still have two years to chase it, but that's not my desire. With each marathon I've run, I've cut large chunks of time off the previous one, and I have to trust that the same kind of training will produce commensurate results this time around. As I said after Philly, and mean even more today: I've done the work before, and I'll do it again, and everything from here on out is a step toward the marathon trials of 2016. 

Oh, and if nothing else, I totally hung out in the hot tub with Meb.

This happened.

Reunited with Laurie, Sarah and Caitlin at the US Half Champs

One year later and I'm still getting tipsy on a stationary train in Duluth. Good times.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Week in Review

75 miles
0 days off
3 doubles
2 workouts
30-minute massage
6x10 mins. core

In a classic case of life imitating...nature, last weekend's stormy, tumultuous, downright depressing weather coincided with the nadir of my mental and physical state regarding my semi-injury. I took the entire weekend off and tried not to focus on my leg (while simultaneously focusing on doing all the right things to ameliorate its condition), hoping that the literal and metaphorical sun would rise on Memorial Day and banish all the negativity.

It didn't happen quite that poetically, but pretty damn close.

This week, I managed to run relatively pain- and discomfort-free every single day, including back-to-back reasonably hard efforts on Wednesday and Thursday evenings (short intervals Wednesday, 5k at the Wicked run Thursday). On Saturday and Sunday I (barely) survived the now-record heat with 80- and 90-minute outings with Jordan, and for the first time in weeks didn't spend every single minute of the run counting down to when I could finally stop. Things aren't perfect, but it's a start.

The best part about living in New England! Marblehead harbor in the background and the ocean in front of me. 

Tomorrow, I embark on the first leg of what will be a month of non-stop work travel. I'll be sleeping in a bed other than my own for 26 days this month, which is sure to make training a bit of a logistical challenge. Fortunately I'll be crashing with my running buddy Jill in Chicago for the next five days, and she's been known to hit the lakefront path well before sunrise to put in the miles before work. With her help, I hope to capitalize on this recent upswing in health and churn out a few solid workouts in preparation for the US Half.