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Hunger

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.

Nuvision action image storefront 1692316Thank you MCM and Nuvision Action Image for all the free digital race photos (another perk of this awesome marathon!)

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.

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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.

Hunger.

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).

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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.

KBVCM 2013Source

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.

 

38 Responses to Hunger

  1. You did such a perfect job capturing the thoughts behind marathon training, nice job!

    I also have to say, I ran Philly yesterday with the aim of a BQ. Somewhere around mile 20 I realized I had to pee, but wasn’t sure if I wanted to use my banked time to, so I told myself, “if it gets bad, just let it go” all thanks to you. Turns out I didn’t need to, and that I qualified, but I definitely would have had a lot less confidence if it hadn’t been for your “oversharing” on the internet. So thanks!

    • HA! So happy I could inspire you to just let go if you need to… ;) Congratulations on your BQ (and for making it through the race without peeing)!!!

  2. Good luck with reaching your goal Lauren. If anyone can do it, you can. You are looking physically strong, and I am so glad you are again running mentally tough!! Injuries have a way of sapping the joy out of running and leaving a mental scar of complacency on past successes.
    Oh, by the way, who do you run for again??? Oh that’s right…ha ha…..you look like a running billboard!! I hope Saucony is pleased at how well you wear their name! I love you and can’t wait to see you!!
    Love, Mom

    • I was trying to be subtle…do you think I pulled it off?? ;)

      Evan told me this was his favorite race outfit that I’ve worn – he could see me from a mile away.

  3. Congrats on signing up for Vermont! You are going to rock it and I can’t wait to read about your progress and training!

  4. Good luck!!

  5. I’m so jealous! That was supposed to be my first marathon last year and I was so pumped for it until I got a stress fracture three weeks before. I still went to watch my friends though and it was such a good time, so much positive energy. You’re going to have so much fun!
    Jean´s last post ..Coastal Trail Fun and a Yaktrax Question

  6. I am new to your blog, but from what I have read so far – I have all faith that you will beat your 3:18 time in Vermont. Good luck with training!!
    Cassie´s last post ..The big G.

  7. Good luck with your goals, Lauren! From what I have read of you on your blog, I have complete faith that you will achieve them :) I’m looking forward to hearing about your training over the winter.

    PS -any chance that you could do some posts on your winter running – how you get motivated to get out the door, what happens when it snows etc? I live in Australia, so I guess our winters are pretty tame in comparison ;) but it still gets pretty chilly and dark and it’s difficult to get out there!

    Anyway, so glad you found your fire for running again!

    • Yes! I’m sure I’ll be doing a lot of posts on winter running. I’m a little nervous how things are going to be this year…and I’m sure there will be many days when I lack motivation to get out there in the dark/cold/snow/etc.

  8. Yay!!!!!! I am so glad you are on board for Vermont!!

    So looking forward to kicking butt with you next spring!
    Steph´s last post ..Queens 20 + Philly Half Goals

  9. Oh man, This is the spring marathon I am going back and forth on whether or not to run it – if I do one, this will be it, but there is a half marathon the week after that I run every year and this year I want to race the heck out of it. But part of me wants to run a marathon just to stay in the groove, use it as training, then run a fall one as my next goal race. This might be the push I need to just sign up and do it! Everyone says its an amazing marathon.
    You are going to kill that 3:18!!:)
    Katie @ msfitrunner´s last post ..Taking a Break

    • Yes! I keep hearing great things about the course, the fans, the organization, etc. I’m really excited to finally run it. Let me know what you end up deciding!

  10. You’re going to trash 3.18, I can feel it in my bladder ;)

    Seriously, I love this post. Sometimes, we do get fed up with running and just tired of it and we need something to fire us back up. Same with many things that I can think of. I’m so glad a fire’s been lit in your legs…means the rest of us get some inspiring blogging to read!! Excited for Vermont for you!!
    Cathryn Ramsden´s last post ..A Random Running Round-Up

  11. “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.”

    Yes yes yes! The masochist in me loves this paragraph. Go get it. I’m excited to follow along on your blog.

  12. i grew up in VT – VT City is my FAVORITE race ever and if you get a chance this fall run the unplugged half (which is partially on the marathon route – starts in colchester and ends at oakledge park) both races were PRs in my marathon and half.

    Get it girl – i’m excited to follow your training since i’m sidelined til summer, it’s bloggers like you that are inspiring me and getting me anxious to get back in the racing game :) :)

    • Love hearing this kind of thing – makes me even more excited about the race! I will definitely look into the unplugged half…I really want to focus on more half marathons next year as well.

      • and by fall i mean spring :) But there are a number of half marathons up in VT that i’ve heard amazing things about from people i went to high school with/ran track and xc with like…ten years ago hahah :)

  13. The Burlington Marathon is on my list! I will be training all winter in VT and Mass for the Boston Marathon. I will be in VT on weekends, running the snowy, hilly back roads! It should be cold but good terrain for Boston!
    Mattie @ Comfy & Confident´s last post ..Take A Break

  14. This makes me so excited for you! May your training runs be filled with hunger and desire, and when you question your sanity just re-read this post! Good luck!

  15. I can’t wait to see you crush 3:18!! I know you can!

    And I agree with your mom, you wear Saucony well ;)
    Jamie @ couchtoironwoman´s last post ..Cheribundi Giveaway Winner

  16. Man oh man, if you run a 3:18 marathon fueled by dread/fear, I cannot wait to see what you do when you’re HUNGRY.
    Kimra´s last post ..How I’m Following Run Less, Run Faster (And a Recap)

  17. Wow! I love your motivation!
    Blogging Runner´s last post ..How Fast A Year Goes By

  18. that’s the vermont race i want to do! depending on how things go with eugene-i just may see you :) so excited for you!
    elizabeth´s last post ..Coaching, Mail, and Blogger Stuff

  19. I am so happy for you Lauren…that you found IT again… I hope the training will go well and that you will be healthy and injury free and that May 26 will be YOUR day
    Caroline´s last post ..knock knock…who’s there…

  20. Hooray!

  21. Awesome post – very motivating! I have no doubt you will crash the 3:18 before you turn 29!

    Happy running and looking forward to hearing more about winter training (As I am typing this, I am already thinking about how to pack for running in Calgary next week).

  22. Woohoo! I am running VCM next year too as my first marathon! It will be a little easier training here in DC but I can’t wait to read about your snowy training endeavors. Good luck and I’m sure you can PR, I’m continually impressed by your speed!
    Carrie Shaw´s last post ..Philadelphia: Pre-Race Exploring

  23. I definitely thought this post was going to be about how much food you have eaten since MCM and Ragnar :) But of course marathon hunger is MUCH more fun to read about!! I am excited for you to chase your goals this spring! And beyond happy that I get to see you in April!! You have big marathon things coming to you! I know it!!
    Corey´s last post ..Lululemon Run Club

  24. Glad you got your marathon mojo back but completely understable why you may have lost motivation for a while — you had a very busy 2012!!!

    3:18 is gonna bite the dust…
    Meggie´s last post ..Santa’s Gonna Need A Big Sleigh

  25. You put this so perfectly! I’m still chasing the BQ but have been struggling with motivation a little this cycle. Hopefully I’ll pull it together since Houston is in 7 weeks! I’m pumped to watch you crush that 3:18…and also that I’ll get to meet you in Eugene! :)
    Holly´s last post ..HMSA Classical 25K Race Report

  26. SO happy I came across this blog from a fellow Vermonter!! I have been going back and fourth about running this same marathon and this post has helped factor my decision to also participant! Looking forward to reading all about your winter training to get some ideas and motivation on the upcoming snowy/cold runs! Cheers!

    • That’s awesome news! So glad I could help give you the push you needed to sign up! This will be my first VCM and I’m so excited…I know it’s going to be a great race.

  27. YAY You will love VCM! It was my first (and only) full marathon I have ever done and I have done both first and 2nd halves of it in the 2 person relay. The crowd support is amazing and very well organized!

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