This year has been all about getting back on my feet and better than ever after ending 2015 with a bout of pneumonia and a cracked rib. I had a breakthrough in the Corvallis Half Marathon this spring and knocked a few seconds off my 5K PR this summer. I had high hopes for the Chicago Marathon but it chewed me up and spit me out. Even so, I came out of it in one piece. It was exactly one year ago that I was at my worst. Today I feel recovered, healthy, and ready to roll into the new year.
This past Sunday I decided for no other reason than wanting to make my week’s mileage a round 45 (okay and maybe to run off some pumpkin pie), that I wanted to run 15 miles for my long run. It was one of those runs that can only be described as perfect. I zipped through the first three miles by myself on a caffeine high then met a friend for the remaining 12. After the buzz wore off, I felt as if I were just floating along effortlessly. As fatigue set in toward the later miles, I felt compelled to sink my teeth into the run more and find my edge. There was something almost primal about it, the way running an unseemly distance through the woods made me feel powerful and free.
The first six weeks or so after the Chicago Marathon, even after a break, I couldn’t run without a new thing bothering me every day. A tight hip flexor, an achy knee, a strained ankle. I told my coach I felt as if I’d aged and he told me he was offended by that statement. OK, poor choice of words- I suppose I felt like a 31-year-old that practically busted her leg finishing a marathon! The best part about my long run, and the past week or two really, was that not an ache, twinge, or ounce of soreness was felt.
Even though it’s just November 29th, I feel as if I’m writing one of those year-end wrap up posts. I think it’s because I can’t stop thinking about the future. I’m hungry for what’s next. But the year’s not over! In fact, I’m heading down to San Francisco this weekend with three good friends for some trail adventures at The North Face Endurance Challenge. For a long time I had been planning to run the 50K. It would have been my first one. However, with recovery not going exactly as planned after Chicago and with all of my big goals for 2017 and beyond, I worried the risk for injury and another long recovery period would be too great. I would have been running the 50K simply to finish, whereas my goals for shorter distances in the new year are much more concrete and meaningful to me. So in place of the 50K on Saturday, December 3rd, I registered for the Endurance Challenge Half Marathon on Sunday, December 4th. Since it’s on trails with some pretty major climbs and descents, I don’t have a certain time goal. My hope is to hone into the same strength and freedom I felt in my run last weekend… plus a little competitive fire for good measure.