Last Updated on January 29, 2015 by Heather Hart, ACSM EP
It’s been 4 days since the treadmill marathon, and surprisingly…I feel fine. No soreness, no limping, none of that “why can I feel this random bone in my foot that I’ve never noticed before” type of pain. Nothing. This both excites me and terrifies me.
I’m excited that I’ve been training hard and my body responded accordingly. Alright, technically I didn’t train to run a marathon. There wasn’t a 16 week plan that included tempo runs, Yasso 800’s, and increasing long runs to be dutifully completed every Saturday morning. No, there was just a whim and a girl who can’t say no to ridiculous adventures. BUT, over the last few years there has been a drastic increase in training, period. The weight room has become my second home. Hill training, something that was a foreign concept when living in South Carolina, has become a not only a regular occurrence here in Vermont, but something I seek out for fun. I don’t run a ton of miles every week, but I do some sort of cardio nearly every day. I’m nowhere near my peak, but I’m stronger than I’ve ever been. And please don’t get me wrong here, I understand the importance of actual training periodization. But it’s exciting to think of what I’m potentially capable of with increased, focused training.
I’ve laid low on posting specific race goals in a LONG time. Mostly because in the chaos of life the past few years, I haven’t been able to follow through with any of my goals. And that’s fine. But over the past few years, I’ve realized my running goals are vastly different than what they once were…or what I once thought they should be. When I first stepped foot into this endurance world, the goal always seemed to be “faster, faster, faster”. And then of course, there is the holy grail of running, the coveted Boston Marathon qualifying time. I naively assumed that since I could easily crank out a fast 5K time, a fast marathon time should quickly (pun totally intended) follow suit. Needless to say, it didn’t. I found back then that what frustrated me the most about running was training with such specific purpose. You MUST hit these split times, you’ve got to do speed work day, and then of course the frustrating disappointment when you don’t hit those times. I ran myself into the ground with missed expectations when all I really wanted to do was run.
Because simply running makes me happy.
Over the past two years I’ve been introduced to a whole new world of endurance. The kind of world where it takes you significantly longer to cover a specified distance than it would in normal situations. The world where the
suck fun doesn’t get started until at least the 7 hour mark. It’s not fast. It’s not pretty. But I strangely, sadistically like it. I like entering that zone where it doesn’t matter how fast I’m going, and how that compares to everyone else. All that matters is not quitting.
Running, for me, has been a journey. It started with simply making it to the 5K mark without wanting to puke. Then came the Marathon Maniacs obsession (I already forgot what number maniac I am.) Then came the obstacle racing, which I still adore. And now, my love for trails has taken over. It’s an evolution, and the journey, rather than perfecting one running niche, is what I enjoy.
Point being: in 2015 I want to run really far. Really, really far. Not simply to say I did, but more so to prove to myself that I can. The ultra world has always seemed like a huge stretch to me. But more and more I’m learning that we will never know what we are capable until we let go of those preconceived limitations we put upon ourselves and go for it.
So this year, I’m going for it. Just to see if I can. I fear it’s going to be difficult, but more so, I’m terrified that I’m going to really like it.
Official “what I’ve got up my sleeve” calendar coming soon…as soon as the doctor tells me on Friday how soon they are going to cut me open, stitch me up, and let me get back training…