So where am I now?
Getting back to normal! It was a slow mileage buildup and I'm finally no longer wary of speed. I'm busting my butt as much as I can to get back into shape while still being cognizant of my hamstring. It'll be awhile before I'm back to pre-injury cardiovascular endurance shape, but I will get there. I closed out November with 113 miles and December with 152 miles. Those are pretty big numbers considering I only ran 29 miles in October. December was my third highest mileage month of 2018. I'm up to 40 weekly running miles, with 5 or 6 days of running. Considering I used to top out around 40-45 miles for marathons a few years ago, I'd say I'm doing well with 14 weeks of training to go. In my peak week I'll be at 60 miles, which is plenty for me.
In a little over two weeks I will be running my first half marathon since 2017 and the first time in six years that I will legitimately try to run a personal best. I had hoped to PR during my 2017-2018 marathon training cycle, but bad weather convinced me to turn a planned race into a good training run. Houston is usually pretty good on weather in January so I'm hoping for the same. It will also be my first race in my new 45-49 age group!
As the Boston Marathon gets closer, I'm getting more and more excited. A very close friend of mine who was my running buddy until she moved to the Boston suburbs is going to be running it as well. I'm hoping for some pre-race Athlete Village shenanigans before the super fun sufferfest begins. Yes, I said "super fun sufferfest." It's a thing and people like us love it. I even bought my very first Boston 2019 running gear.
This coming Sunday will be my longest training run since September, at 15 miles. This past Sunday I ran 14 miles with 5 of them at marathon pace. My pace miles were not as speedy as I had hoped, but they were still close to BQ pace, I felt great so I didn't push it any harder, I ran them in one 5 mile set, and considering I was running in 35 degree drizzle, I'm quite happy that I managed a solid training run at my longest distance in this new training cycle. It helped that the husband met me at mile 8 to run the remaining miles with me.
On the non-running front, I've been reflecting a lot on 2018 and how it differed from 2017. I felt a lot more peace this past year than I have in a long time. My daughter, who has battled depression and anxiety and has been in treatment for three years, seems to have turned a big corner. She will be turning 14 next month, and with that maturity and a change in schools for 8th grade, she seems much happier with herself. She has a newfound confidence that is beautiful to witness. She has learned to play the violin and ukelele, has been singing a lot, is continuing her incredible journey as a talented artist, and is enjoying her theater class. Her talents in the arts really blow me away and I'm thrilled she has found the right outlets to gain confidence in herself. It hasn't been perfect. As anyone who battles mental illness, it's not linear. There are ups and downs and really terrible days. But overall, upon reflecting on the year as a whole, I'd say she's made great strides.
As for me, as I alluded to in my last blog post, my eyes have been opened to many things that I was previously trying to bury because I just couldn't deal well with them. I have a new confidence in myself similar to my daughter's. I am more in tune with protecting my happiness and what that entails. I have let go of so much negativity and it's a refreshing change. My relationship with my husband of nearly 20 years has grown and as we enter this milestone year, I feel more than ever that we are on the right page with our values and our future dreams. Learning to live with someone and committing to that for a lifetime, despite ups and downs and frustrations, is rare in today's world. He's my best friend and I'm going to keep him!
I am continuing to pursue the things that I love. Besides running, I am doing some home remodeling. My newest project is repainting my kitchen cabinets, a huge endeavour but one that is actually pretty fun to tackle. If I am going to continue to be the stay-at-home parent, then it's important that I find ways to be productive and save our family money, and I enjoy the challenge of teaching myself how to do this stuff well.
On the exercise front, I'm thankful that I found a good therapy outlet with running, as this works well for me to navigate life's stressors. I was talking to a friend yesterday about marathon training and how, while I prefer the half marathon distance, committing to 26.2 is better for my mental health. It requires a focus and commitment that is very different from 13.1. I enjoy the challenge, I prefer something that requires such a high level of commitment and focus, and that's why it's become my go-to distance these last couple years. There will always been something magical and exhilarating about completing a 3-hour training run and about crossing the finish line after racing 26.2 miles.
I've been constructing my race plans through 2020 and I think I'm in for a whole lot of fun. Besides Boston and CIM this year, I'm planning to attend the Olympic Marathon Trials in Atlanta next year. I watched them in Houston in 2012 and it was incredibly fun and inspiring to witness. I want to add another marathon besides Atlanta (it will be held the day after the Trials), and Chicago is on my mind. But I'm still open to other ideas for a fall race. I've run 10 Texas marathons, so at this point I prefer traveling to other parts of this beautiful country. There are so many great races and places to visit that I need to branch out and experience them!
So, on this 2nd day of 2019, I have a lot of hope, peace, and love. May it continue throughout the year for me, my family, and my loved ones.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit
- Romans 15:13