Remember how 2009 was going to be the season of not racing? Or, at least, not racing seriously? Well, somehow that year never really ended and morphed into 2010… now deemed The Second Season of Not Racing Seriously.
Mostly, my mojo never really returned. I had signed up for IMWI but couldn’t up my training even to the most basic level required to start the 20-week program. And so, shortly after making the official decision to be IM-less in 2010, I stopped doing much of anything.
That’s not to say I was a complete couch potato. I did actually do some racing … but I’d term it more “Social Racing”. I did a sprint triathlon in June with the girls and had a blast. Did the Horribly Hilly Hundred bike ride that I was utterly unprepared for (apparently, a half dozen bike rides, the longest of which was 25 very flat miles doesn’t actually do much to train you for 70 miles of HILLS) and while it was a sufferfest, I enjoyed the challenge of it (though, my riding partner was probably ready to ditch me for all the whining I did!).
Along with that, there was a duathlon, a half marathon and a few 5k’s here and there, just to keep things interesting. And I wasn’t trained in the least for any of these things. But that wasn’t the point — I was out there to have fun, and that’s exactly what I accomplished. Go, me!
And in the here and now, I’ve discovered the secret to making myself a fun, motivated, productive member of society (it’s easy: get enough sleep!) and along with that my mojo ambled back into the picture. All of a sudden, I WANTED to run. WANTED to train and get faster and even hurt a little along the way. Big change.
Along with that came the ability to put down and step back from the cookies and ice cream and clean up my diet (which, will be a post in the future, undoubtedly). And this might seem a little unbelievable, but I swear it’s true: dropping a few pounds can make running a little less painful and aggravating! Yes indeedy, lessons are certainly being learned in these parts.
So, basically, I’m eating right, training hard and actually – honestly – remarkably – enjoying the experience and effort.
Since I’m training, there must be something out there that I’m training for, right? I mean, really, anyone who knows me understands that I rarely take up this kind of thing without some sort of goal in mind.
And this case isn’t any different: I’ll be heading to Vegas in December to race the Vegas Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon! When I first signed up for it, it was strictly an excuse to head out for a weekend of gambling, drinking and other debauchery. Sure, there was 13.1 miles of running in there, but I had already proven that I could do that while still drunk, so I was covered in that respect.
Then, when things took a turn for the healthy, I started having thoughts: what if I trained a little? Perhaps did some speedwork? Log a decent amount of miles? At some point, I turned the corner from “YAY! Drinking and gambling!” to “YAY! Drinking, gambling AND racing the half marathon with a definite time goal in mind!” It’s a sickness, I tell ya. I can’t help it.
I’ve picked out an aggressive half marathon training program that will have me out on the streets 5-6 days a week. One thing I’ve discovered: I used to think that running caused injuries and so I would try to smash more miles into fewer days to give myself more recovery time. This time around? I’m running the same kind of mileage, but spread over more days. And you know what? My body seems to like this better. Amazing. And whether it’s partly the new diet (and weight loss) or the muscle gains (from my continued strength training) or the long-ass recovery time I’ve had since, say, 2009, who knows. What I do know? Not only am I running with less pain, but I’m enjoying it more as well. Put THAT in your pipe and smoke it, why don’t ya.
So, aside from working on my blackjack skills, I’ll be spending the next few months running my little tail off. And I’m waiting until that race is in the books before I make any decisions about next year, but I’ll clue you in on what I’m thinking: 2011 just might be The Year Of The Marathon! Of course, this is all dependent on how this whole half marathon thing goes, but next year just might be the year that I make friends with 26.2 miles.
If nothing else, it should be an interesting journey…