|November 19, 2012||Posted by Lauren under Motivation, Running|
I had absolutely no intention of signing up for a spring marathon.
In fact, after a frustrating summer of feeling like I was doing “too much, too soon” and in which I dreaded every single long run, I vowed to give myself a break. Marathons are great and all, but I just wasn’t into them anymore. And if I’m being completely honest with myself, it had been awhile since I truly was.
Truthfully, the last time I really invested in marathon training the way you’re supposed to was spring 2011. The Boston Qualifying process had just changed, giving me a new goal: I wanted to run a 3:20 marathon. Despite a crazy winter that dumped tons of snow on RI, I worked so hard that training cycle. I hit my goal paces, I loved my speed workouts. I could feel every single run making me stronger. The National Marathon was my reward for all that training — a race I went into knowing I had done the best I could to prepare.
That was the last time I really had that essential trait that makes marathon training and PRs possible: hunger. It’s hunger that drives you to put everything on the line. Hunger that enables you to push your body to the limits in order to see a faster time on the clock. Hunger that makes the hurt worth it.
I tried to reclaim those feeling that summer during training for Marine Corps. But I felt burnt out. Tired. Unmotivated. Slow.
Then I signed up for Boston, the reward race for all that training the previous spring. And a month from the race, I got the knee injury that has plagued my 2012 running.
It seemed like all the signs were pointing to change for 2013. After all, marathons are not the be-all-end-all of distance running. And it’s pretty tough to train for one if you’re dreading long runs (i.e. the cornerstone of training). At this point I’m sort of beyond signing up for marathons simply to complete them. There’s nothing wrong with that, of course, but crossing the finish line just isn’t motivating me anymore. And there are so many other races to run, so many new PRs to go after.
I went into my marathon + relay weekends with the idea that this would be it for awhile. My main goal for the marathon was to BQ…just to have the time in case I wanted to sign up for Boston 2014.
But something funny happened in the course of my back-to-back weekends of racing. Something completely unexpected.
Instead of feeling tired, burned out, and in need of a break, I came out feeling something I hadn’t felt in a long time.
I felt happier running MCM than I had all year. And Ragnar just reinforced that. I suddenly felt strong again. Capable. Like a runner. Not the weird, awkward impostor I’ve been fighting against all spring.
The hunger gnawed at me. Got stronger during this past week of rest. Until finally, it became a burning desire deep in my heart that I could no longer ignore.
I want to run another marathon.
No…I need to.
I need another chance. A chance to push myself harder than I have in a very long time. To prove to myself that I am not destined to be a 3:18 marathoner forever (because seriously — after 3 races, it’s getting a little ridiculous).
Which is how I found myself staring at the Vermont City Marathon registration page. I weighed the options. Thought about alternative, faster marathons. Marathons where the course lends itself more to a PR.
But something feels so right about VCM. It’s a race I’ve been wanting to do for a long time, and the fact that it’s in my home state takes off a lot of the pressure around traveling. I could stay in my own bed the night before. And, more importantly, Evan could be there. If I’m going after a PR, I want it to be close to home. The fact that it’s the day before my 29th birthday sealed the deal. I can’t really think of a better way to end my 28th year.
So this winter — my first ever in Vermont — I will put in the miles. I will train through snow, freezing temperatures, and who knows what else. I know it’ll be hard. I’m sure I will struggle with motivation. I will probably question my sanity on multiple occasions.
But on May 26, 2013 (barring injury or other life crisis), I will run my 8th marathon. And I want to stand on that starting line knowing that I did everything I possibly could to run my best race.
Goodbye 3:18. Your days are officially numbered.