I’m a runner, and I love the sport. My happy place is Chicago’s lakefront trail—just me, my running shoes, and sometimes my headphones. I like running stairs, hills, intervals, fartleks, and long slow distances. I even like watching running events, especially track, both on television and in person. I have a special place in my heart for the 1,600 and the 5,000 because I competed on the track and cross country teams in high school. However, training for a marathon has given me an appreciation for the effort it takes to complete 26.2 miles, and now I also enjoy watching coverage of Boston, the U.S. Marathon Trials, and a variety of local long-distance events.
I think most of us who run have learned something about ourselves while logging miles. Long-time runners have faced both joy and adversity. They have felt on top of the world after a killer interval workout or fast race time and completely discouraged after bombing a tempo run or missing their goal PR on race day. Every training plan brings a roller coaster of emotions, along with sweat, blisters, sore knees, and tired feet.
A couple of years ago, I set out to break the two-hour barrier in the half marathon (my PR is around two hours and five minutes). Training went great, and I was confident as I entered the corral on race day. Between mile eight and mile nine, something went wrong. I hit a brick wall, slowed way down, and I didn't break two hours. I didn’t even run a personal best.
I was disappointed and angry. I’ve raced since then, but I haven’t invested in a serious training plan to meet a serious goal. But this year, I’m ready.
I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’ll never be as fast as I was in high school. But, I’m on a mission to be faster. I want to break two hours in the half. I want to qualify for Boston, eventually. I want to feel the way I felt in high school when the girls track team won the 1999 Wake County Championships and collapsed in a pile in the infield laughing and hugging each other, full of joy and accomplishment.
Let’s lace up and head out. Join me on my journey, and feel free to tell me about yours.