My PRs are all old

I set my 10-mile PR in Feb. 2017. I have set one PR since then. Photo by Maine Running Photos

To the right of this post, stuck to the side of this blog, is a list of my personal records. When I pulled up this website this morning I took a look at those times and it bummed me out.

With the exception of my marathon PR, set in 2019, all of my PRs are at least 4 years old. Most of them are 5 or 6 years old. I set one in 2017, four in 2016, two in 2015 and one in 2014.

This tells me a few things.

• 2016 was a pretty good year of running. I set PRs in the 5K and 10K, two distances I don’t necessarily run that well, ran a great race in a distance I’ve never run before (15k), and put together a pretty good effort in the marathon (it was my PR until 2019).

• I haven’t raced a lot since 2017. After the Maine Half Marathon in October 2017, I developed some pretty bad runner’s knee and was on the shelf for months. In 2018 I was focused on putting myself back to together and in 2019 I was focused on staying healthy and getting in the best possible shape for the Chicago Marathon (though I did just miss my 5K PR that spring). Then the pandemic hit and my body gave up, and I have run one in person race in the last two years.

• There are some distances I haven’t raced very much. I have raced the mile and the 15K once, and have raced 4- and 5-miles just a handful of times.

• I’m not getting any younger.

I’m not giving up on chasing PRs, at least I don’t think I am. As I wrote last week, I’m not exactly on good terms with running right now. I did not run once last week and I’m in no rush to get out the door. The weather has been crap, my body feels like shit and I have no desire to even jog around the neighborhood. But I’m not giving up on running, not yet. Hopefully, I’ll figure out what I need to do to feel good again and get back to training hard enough to toe the starting line with the goal of running as fast as I ever have.

It’s actually silly to even think about personal records right now. My longest run since the Chicago Marathon in 2019 was 9 miles and my longest run in 2021 was 5.5 miles. And I have not run a single mile in more than a week.

But I’m competitive and having something to compete against has motivated me to do the work. I am not fast enough to be competitive with other people, so I am competitive with the clock, with myself. Looking at those personal records bums me out because it has been so long since I was in shape enough to chase any of them, but it also motivates me to get back to work.

Maybe those PRs on the right-hand side of his web page will never change. Maybe, like a friend of mine does, I’ll have to break down my PRs by age group or by times in my life. I hope I am able to get back to doing the work, that the pandemic will allow me to get back to some semblance of normal (I haven’t been to the gym in like 8 months, I just won’t risk it), that my body will cooperate and allow me to do the things I want to do, that I will find the desire to do what I need to do to stay healthy.

I’d like to update those numbers at some point, I’m just not sure it is realistic.

Time for some honesty

A foggy run in December. It felt as bad as the visibility was that day

I don’t want to come to this space to complain, to piss and moan about how much I hate running lately. I also feel it is disingenuous to not tell the truth. Social media (including blogs and YouTube) tends to be filled with the highlights of whatever that person focuses on. I scroll my feeds, see people kicking ass, and it makes me feel like shit.

So here it is, the truth about where I am six months after my last post to this blog:

• I’m in the worse shape I’ve been in in my 10-plus years as a runner.

• In the 11 days of 2022, I’ve run six of them, not more than 4 miles, and I’m not sure I will run today.

• Running hurts despite my efforts to fix myself (maybe I need to try harder).

• I’ve had thoughts of just giving up this hobby and trying to find some other way to stay fit (I guess I should say get fit, because I am not fit right now).

Yeah, I just don’t enjoy running right now. I haven’t for a long time. I’m probably covering ground I have covered before (I know I am) but running has been a struggle since I ran my marathon PR in October 2019. I went through the whole physical therapy thing to get my bum knees back to a place where running felt good again, I started to get into a groove, then the pandemic hit and the gyms closed and I rarely left the house and the shit hit the fan.

I would say running started to take a turn for the worst sometime in July or August of 2020. There were no races to train for and I was struggling to find motivation. Determined to give myself a kick in the ass, I decided to do a run streak, at least 3.1 miles every day for the entire month of August. I finished that streak, but my body started to hurt. My left ankle/Achilles were sore and my IT band was almost always tight. Yeah, I ran a lot, but I didn’t do much else and it bit me in the ass. I spent way too much time sitting in my office chair in my bedroom, with my feet up on my desk, and my body started to reject it.

There were some good moments after that. I ran a decent virtual 5K in Oct. 2020 (22:58 running by myself on mediocre training), but took a break in December because nothing felt good. Then I started to training toward the end of January 2021 and I was starting to enjoy it again, until I strained my calf in March.

It has been mostly shit since then.

Every time I feel like I’m turning a corner, something starts to hurt. I went through physical therapy for my calf and started to ramp up a little bit in May and June, then my IT band and hips started hurt. I started to see a chiropractor/physiotherapist for that and when I started to feel better, I did the Couch to 5K program and running didn’t feel so bad. I continued to run, doing a fair amount of run/walking, but for the last couple of weeks, my ankle/shin/calf have been bothering me and I dread hitting the road because it fucking hurts.

So, I’m not running.

It’s frustrating. It’s a little depressing. I’m trying to learn to deal with it.

It’s hard. For so long, running has been a BIG part of my identity. I woke up in the morning knowing that five or six days a week I would be getting some miles in. Vacations were planned around races. Running was what I did, it was who I am.

I’m not saying those days are over, but lately I’m starting to wonder. I don’t want them to be over, but I also don’t want to keep doing this if I’m going to feel broken all the time. When every run hurts and every run is frustrating, it’s just doesn’t seem worth it. When running is something I dread, not something I look forward to, maybe it’s time to pull the plug.

I’m not giving up yet. Running has given me way too much. I will keep trying and maybe, I’ll find that groove again. Maybe my body will start to cooperate. Maybe I’ll figure out exactly what I need to do to stay healthy and enjoy running again.

It has been six months since I posted to this blog. Running hasn’t been a lot of fun for a while, I haven’t been racing, and I didn’t feel like I had anything to write about. But posting only the good shit isn’t being honest.

So here I am, trying to be completely honest with myself, and trying to work through these emotions. I hope it doesn’t take six months for me to post again, and maybe (HOPEFULLY) I’ll have something good to write about down the road.

I just want to run

I have avoided this space for nearly two months because to sit here and write about running feels phony. Who am I to write about running when I haven’t run more than 17 miles in a week since the end of March and, frankly, I don’t really like running right now?

It’s frustrating, but running hurts and isn’t any fun. Running has hurt – and I don’t mean because I’m not fit, I mean because I’m injured – more often that not for a year and a half. Runner’s knees, a hip flexor strain, tendonitis in my left ankle, shin splints, and a calf strain have all made me want to throw away my running shoes and find another fitness hobby.

I was seeing a physical therapist for treatment, some form work and strength exercises to alleviate my calf pain. For a month, I was in the office once or twice a week trying to make running bearable again, and I was making progress. Sure, my fitness was shit, but every step didn’t hurt. I thought I’d be training for a race in the near future.

Then I took a step backward. Last Thursday on a lap around the Back Cove, my ankle started to hurt. Saturday at the end of a few 1.5 mile jogs, my lower calf started to cramp. Tuesday, within 3 minutes of jogging, my calf was tight and hurt.

It’s hard not to give up. I’ve been battling some of this shit since last August, and been battling this calf since the end of March. I can’t remember the last time I ran more than 4 miles.

The fact that this is all coming after the best training cycle of my life in 2019, when I was preparing for the Chicago Marathon, makes it even more frustrating. During that cycle, I was doing thing I didn’t think I was capable of. Now, I can’t do things I could do a month into Couch to 5K when I was 50 pounds heavier 10 years ago.

Part of me wants to quit. This isn’t what I signed up for and isn’t something that brings me any joy. It’s just painful and frustrating and feels like it is not worth the effort.

But I want to run. I don’t want to buy a bike and sit in the seat for hours. I can’t swim and I don’t want to learn. Those virtual exercises classes (Peloton, Apple Fitness) with a couch yelling at your for 45 minutes sound like a special kind of hell. I JUST WANT TO RUN, not do any of those other things people have recommend I do instead of running.

So, I not going to give in yet. I’m going to lay low and keep my running to a minimum right now. Walk instead of run. Do my strength work and stretching and soft tissue massage. I will probably try to get back in to see the physical therapist.

It’s no fun. This shit sucks. I just want to run and not hate it.

Is that too much to ask? (Apparently so).

10 years later, running is awkward again

10 years (well, two days shy) of my first “run” I went for a similar run.

I don’t remember exactly how much distance I covered on foot during my first “run” on May 29, 2011. I’m not sure if it was more or less than what I covered on my “run” Thursday afternoon. I know that it was close, and they both felt super freaking awkward.

In 2011, running felt awkward because I hadn’t done it in so long. In high school I jogged during preseason soccer practice and logged some miles (more like a mile) before baseball practice started trying to work my way into shape. I jogged around campus once or two with my roommate my freshman year of college, but got most of my physical activity on the basketball courts in the field house. After graduate I played some pick up basketball and a few years of men’s league baseball, but running wasn’t something I had much interest in. I ran the trails at UMA a few times with my work colleagues, but it wasn’t something I ever really wanted to do.

But in 2011, my weight had climbed to close to 240 pounds and I had to do something differently. I joined the gym on May 3 to start my journey, and started to run on May 29.

My first race in June 2011.

It took a long time before running felt like anything but awkward. I was carrying a lot of weight, I was running in worn-out cross trainers, baggy basketball shorts and XXL cotton T-shirts. Eventually, weight came off, I was fitted for running shoes and bought running clothes.

And running became a part of my life. I broke 30 minutes, then 25 minutes, then 22 minutes in the 5K, I broke 1:45 in the half marathon and 3:50 in the marathon. I’ve run races in New York City, Boston and Chicago, made a few friends, and jogged with some friends who had always been runners, but never convinced me to hop on board.

Almost 10 years later, running feels super awkward again. I’m running just a few days a week, I’m doing some walking during those runs, and I’m carrying around too much weight (though almost 50 pounds less than when I started).

Running is awkward right now because I’ve been injured, I’ve developed bad habits, and I put on weight staying at home trying to survive the pandemic. Running is awkward because I’m trying to break those bad habits and because of those 20-plus pounds I gained during the pandemic. Plus, I’m not completely over those injuries yet.

But 10 years after that first run, I am still a runner. I am not the runner I want to be, but I am absolutely still a runner. I am going to physical therapy twice a week because I want to be able to run, I want to be able to run pain free, and I want to enjoy running.

I’m not happy with where I am as a runner right now, but I am happy that I am still a runner.

Starting a long journey to getting better

Working on a form drill I just couldn’t seem to execute. It was until I watched the videos this still was grabbed from that I realized just how out of shape I am.

I heard the instructions and saw what I was supposed to do. Still, my stubborn brain wouldn’t send signal to my stubborn legs and I couldn’t figure out to to execute a simple drill that required me to scuff my foot along the floor. This drill to help me improve my running form made perfect sense to my eyes, but not the rest of my body.

I had my first physical therapy session to work on the issues in my left leg today and it was eye opening. My left calf/ankle/shin/everything issues appear to be caused by tightness in my right hip. That tightness likely is related to that injury I suffered training for the Chicago Marathon. I rehabbed that injury, but it has been a year and a half since I rehabbed it, and since I haven’t kept up rehabbing it, it is causing a bunch of other issues.

I won’t get too specific into everything I learned at physical therapy today because I am not smart enough to put it into words. Basically, I need treatment on my hip and my calf, I need to make some tweaks to my form (land with my weight under my body, not out in front), and I need to be consistent with stretching and rolling, drills and strength.

Honestly, my appointment this morning was pretty intense. I didn’t work very hard, but it was a lot to process. Not in a bad way, I understand everything we discussed and I wasn’t over burdened with things to do or think about. It’s overwhelming because it feels like there is a lot of work to do to get back to being the runner I want to be.

But, that is what I signed up for. I haven’t been doing the work I need to for a long time and that is a big part of the reason running has sucked so hard for the last year or so. It’s going to be a slow process, it’s going to take a lot of effort, it is probably going to suck sometimes. I know, and I have to remember, that it will definitely be worth it.

This is the start of Redesign. Rebuild. Reclaim. Take 4. I have to rebuild my body (lose the 25-30 pounds I gained during pandemic/quarantine/work-from-home and regain the strength I lost) and I need to redesign my form (they are small tweaks, but I can tell already it is going to be difficult for me to implement them). Then, hopefully, I can reclaim the joy of running.

Getting control of my blood pressure

For a multitude of reasons, I have spent more time visiting the doctor in the last year and half then I have in the previous 45 years combined. Asthma, allergies, skin infections, eye irritations, running injuries. I feel like I’m visiting a medical facility a couple times a week (in the last week of April and the first week of May, I was at a medical facility six times).

At most of those appointments, I have my vitals taken. Temperature, weight, blood oxygen level, blood pressure. And at nearly every one of those appointments, my blood pressure has been too high. Typically, in the doctor’s office, my blood pressure is 140 to 150/85 to 96. 

I have been on blood pressure medication since 2017. In 2019, when I was deep into training for the Chicago Marathon and newly sober, my BP at my annual physical was 132/84. Still high, but moving in the right direction. My doctor was encouraged, even with my BP still a little elevated, and said if things kept trending in the right direction, I may be able to ditch the meds. 

Clearly, they have not. 

In the nearly two years since that discussion about ditching my meds, I have been injured a few times and picked up some pretty bad eating habits. I’m not as active as I was in 2019 (I’m still sober though) and I rediscovered a love for salty chips, frozen pizza, and ham and cheese sandwiches. I did not stop taking a pill every morning for my blood pressure, instead I’m taking two (I was taking 5 MG of lisinopril, that has been increased to 10). 

There is a good chance, because of my family history, that I will be taking meds for my blood pressure for the rest of my life. My doctor told me I may not be able to outrun my heredity. 

It is because of that family history that I know I need to take this seriously. Being healthy isn’t just a matter of wanting to be a good runner, it is about avoiding heart disease that has touched too many people I love. If I don’t change my diet, stay on my meds and lower my blood pressure, I’m facing a future of heart problems I do not want to think about. 

I’m trying to do better. I no longer buy chips when I do my weekly grocery shopping and I don’t eat ham and cheese sandwiches every day for lunch. I’m eating more salads, more oatmeal and I’m trying to make my snacks healthier. I’m also trying to be more active. That should improve once I start physical therapy and once I’m fully vaccinated (May 14) and feel comfortable enough to go back to the gym. 

This will all help me be a better runner and being a better runner should help me get healthier. When I’m feeling good and able to train, it is easier to keep my diet dialed in (though it has always been a struggle), and hopefully keep my blood pressure in check. 

I’m 47 years old and I can’t ignore this stuff anymore. I spent the better part of my 20s and 30s treating my body like shit. I just can’t do that anymore.

Redesign. Rebuild. Reclaim. (Take 4)

This is the origin of my oft-used (because I’m oft-injured? or lazy? both both) motto.

Running hasn’t felt good for a while and I have a few answers for why.

Wednesday morning I spent about an hour at a orthopedist, answering questions, getting examined, and even under going an ultra sound.

The initial diagnosis is way more complicated than this, but the doc said, basically everything in my left leg is not very happy.

That calf pain I talked about in my last post turned out to be a from a small tear, which showed up quite clearly on the ultra sound, and is healing. It also looks like I have some tendonitis in my ankle and shin splints (mild posterior tibialis tendinitis and medial tibial stress syndrome).

Basically, my left leg is not happy.

The good news is, I start physical therapy soon and I’m confident that if I am willing to do the work, I’ll be running pain free at some point in the near future. The bad news is, running really sucks right now.

I wasn’t running a ton before the injuring my calf, in part because my ankle was hurting. I just started to get out from some jogging last week after my injury, but it doesn’t feel good. My left leg hurts every where. The doc thinks something off with my biomechanics, likely because I’m compensating. So right now, I just don’t feel like running.

I planned to jog a few miles Thursday, knowing that I will likely be laid up this weekend after getting my second dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine on Friday (the first one crushed me, but I was also dealing with a Staph infection, so maybe I’ll get off easier this time … either way, I’m super excited to get that shot). But when I left the house, I didn’t feel quite right, so I just walked 3 miles and was OK with that.

I’m not starting over, but I have a lot of work to do to be able to do the type of running I want to do. The good news is, I know I can get there, because I’ve done it before. I was forced to take time off at the end of 2017 when my knees flared up, and I worked my way back to just missing my 5K PR early in 2019. Later that year, while training for the Chicago Marathon, I strained a hip flexor, and was able to rehab in time to PR in the marathon a few months later. The marathon took a toll on my right knee, but after months of PT, I was getting back into regular training before the pandemic shut everything down and stole my running mojo.

I’ve talked a lot on here about my motto Redesign. Rebuild. Reclaim. That started 2017, when my hamstring was achy, but then my knees shit the bed and I failed on that mission. In 2018/2019, I actually did rebuild and redesign myself, dropping about 25 pounds (I’ve gained them all back) and reclaimed my love of running.

Now, though, it is time to really embrace that credo. If I want to run the way I want to run (training and racing and enjoying it), I can’t slack off. I have to do the work to rebuild my body, to redesign my habits, if I want to rebuild myself into the runner I want to be.

But just as important is to listen to my body and cut myself some slack. Forcing myself out the door when I feel like crap, isn’t going to help. Feeling bad about not getting out the door because I feel like crap is going to send me spiraling. I’ve felt like shit enough in the last 14 months, dealing with isolation and anxiety related to this freakin’ pandemic, I can’t add to that by feeling bad about not running.

I’m excited to get going. I’m excited to do the work. I’m also ready to take it slow and give myself some grace.

A forced break closing in on a milestone

One down, one to go.

The 10 year anniversary of the day I became a runner is a month away, and I haven’t run for 11 days. There are a handful of reasons I haven’t run, and I’m not worried about falling out of the habit, I just wish that when I celebrated 10 years, I would be in a better spot. 

My running break started last Wednesday when I tweaked my left calf during a speed session. My left Achilles/ankle has bothered me off and on for months, and Wednesday that pain grabbed my calf and forced me to stop running. Unfortunately, I was 2.5 miles from home. It was a long walk because every step hurt. 

My calf feels better now and I am scheduled to get some professional help with the issue soon. But other issues cropped up to keep my from running. Specifically, I have a painful infection on the back of my leg and I am experiencing side effects from my first COVID-19 vaccination dose. The past week has been kind of a shit show. Sitting hurts, my whole body is been sore, and I’ve had a fever the last few days. 

I want to run. I feel miserable being stuck in the house, physically and mentally unable to get out the door to even jog a few miles. As I wrote in the last blog, I was just starting to ramp things up and feel better about myself after struggling with motivation and other health-related issues during the pandemic. That desire to run is why I am not worried about falling out of the running habit. I’ve stuck with this for 10 years, I’m confident a little bit of forced down time isn’t going to derail my running habit. 

The whole thing is just super frustrating, but I have to pause and remember to be grateful. I’m grateful I’ve been able to do this for almost 10 years and accomplish things I never even considered before I started running. I’m grateful I have the means to take care of these things that are keeping me from running. I’m grateful that I’m having a few side effects from a vaccine for COVID-19 rather than dealing with the disease itself.

At some point before I celebrate my 10 year anniversary of that first run I’m sure I will log some miles. I won’t run much and I’m sure it will be super slow, but I’ll be sure to enjoy every step. I look forward to the day when I can actually train, when life returns to whatever normal is post-pandemic, when I have goals to chase and I’m able to get myself out the door to chase them. 

Until then, I’ll do what I have to do to clear up this infection, wait for these vaccine side effects to subside, get my calf taken care, and be grateful for all running has given me. And I’ll look forward to the day when I’m back on the roads, reaping running’s benefits. 

A workout to get back in the swing

I left the apartment Wednesday morning hoping I could convince myself to do some kind of hard effort. I started my warmup in the direction of Prospect Street, knowing that if I ended up on either side of it – Deering Ave. or Stevens Ave. – I had a good spot to do some hill repeats. I ended up my warmup on the Stevens Ave. end of Prospect and took a few minutes to do some dynamic warmup exercises and to talk myself into doing a little bit of work.

I had skipped doing any type of workout for most of the month of March. I threw in a couple of progress runs, but mostly I just tried to build my mileage a bit and not hate running.

But you know what? That is freaking boring. Don’t get my wrong, I’m happy to be logging some mileage, especially while we are still in a pandemic, I am still a few weeks away from being eligible to be vaccinated, and I’m trying to stay home as much as possible to keep from getting sick and getting other people sick. I don’t leave the house unless I have to. Those 35-50 minutes I get out of the house to run, even if I’m just going for a jog, has helped me hang on to the edge of sanity.

Still, I feel better as a runner and in general when I am pushing myself, even just a little bit. So Wednesday morning I did indeed talk myself into running some hills. The first rep, I wasn’t so sure how it was going to feel, so I did a hard 30 seconds. My breathing was a little labored, but I felt OK, so after a minute and half of recovery, I did 40 seconds on the next rep. I took a little effort to get my legs turning over, but again, it felt OK, so after another 1:30 recovery, I tried 45 seconds. Phew, this was getting hard, but I told myself to keep going. I did another 45 seconds rep, then another, then another.

I lost track of how many reps I had done, so I did one more 45 seconds rep, thinking it was eight total and decided to call it a win. Turns out I only did seven reps, but so what. I was happy to have done a workout. My legs were a little sore, especially my left calf/Achilles, but I was still in one piece. My breathing was OK, my asthma felt like it was under control. I was encouraged.

I threw in another workout on Saturday, doing 8×1 minute hard-ish (probably 5K effort) and, again, I ended it mostly in once piece. I ran in my neighborhood, on the severely cambered roads, which disagreed with my Achilles, and my hamstrings were a little tight, but I was able to run 6 miles the next day and, after a rest day on Monday, 5 more miles on Tuesday.

It feels good to be back on the horse a little bit. I have to be careful that those little barks in my Achilles and hamstring don’t flare up into something worse, but I really have enjoyed doing some harder efforts, getting my legs moving and getting a little uncomfortable. I have a long way to go to feel as good as I did back in 2019 when I had maybe my best year of running ever. I followed that up with probably my worst year of running, so this year I’ll be happy with mediocre.

It’s not much, but it is a start. I’ll see what I can do tomorrow.

A goal far off in the distance

In search of these kind of vibes

The final 10K of the 2019 Chicago Marathon was a painful experience. My right knee was creaky and hurt with every step and my left hamstring ached constantly. I finished the race with a new PR, a huge sense of accomplishment and thinking that my days of training for and running marathons might be over. 

I fell short of my goal (3:47) in that race, but I was still thrilled with how the race went. I ran a great 20 miles or so, finished faster than I ever have (by 11 seconds) and, despite the pain, enjoyed the experience. 

It wasn’t that I didn’t get what I wanted out of the marathon, I just wondered if all that pain was really worth it. I limped around the rest of the day, re-living the race and talking about how I didn’t think I ever needed to do that again. 

In the year and a half since crossing the finish line at Chicago, running has been a challenge. I worked hard to get over those knee and hamstring issues, built my mileage back up and started doing workouts again. Then the pandemic hit and eventually my motivation to do anything other than jog 3 or 4 miles went to shit. I’ve struggled with asthma and allergies, my body has been a little dinged up, and I just haven’t felt like putting in the effort. 

Training for and running a marathon hasn’t even been a thought because there are no marathons to train for, I haven’t run more than 9 miles since Chicago and in the last three months I’ve struggled to run more than 20 miles a week. Not exactly a recipe for marathoning success.

Yet, while jogging a slow, sluggish 3 miles Friday morning, with snow falling around me, a surgical mask covering my face making breathing even more difficult than my asthma, I started thinking about the marathon. I started thinking about the training I did in 2019, training that was harder than anything I had done before and went better than any marathon training cycle I’d ever put myself through. 

And I went back to my goal for Chicago, which has been my marathon goal since Oct. 2013, when I ran my first marathon in 4 hours, 47 minutes. During that slow-ass 3 miler Friday morning, I asked myself if I was ready to give up on my goal of running a marathon an hour faster than my debut. I fell two minutes shy at Chicago, and in the aftermath of the race, I decide I was OK with that.

I am OK with that, however, I still think about that goal. It is still written on the chalk board that hangs in my bedroom/office/gym. If I never ran another marathon, and 3:49:45 is my marathon PR for the rest of my life, that’s cool. There are other distances I probably enjoy more, plenty of other goals to shoot for.

A part of me wants to take another shot at it.

Not because I’m unsatisfied with my PR. I don’t stew over those two minutes at Chicago the way I did when I finished nine minutes shy of that goal at Chicago in 2014 or three minutes shy at the Maine Marathon in 2016. 

I think I want to give it another shot because 2019 was the most fun I’ve had running since 2013, when I was doing track workouts weekly and running 5Ks almost every Saturday. Both of those years I was training with purpose, pushing my body to new and different places, and doing it with rad people. 

During that run Friday, thinking about the marathon while struggling to make it through 3 miles, I gave myself a goal: Run that 3:47 marathon in October 2023, exactly 10 years after that 4:47. 

Why so far away? For a few reasons: 

  1. Two and a half years gives me plenty of time to get in shape. I’m overweight and undertrained right now, rushing into a marathon training plan is a sure fire way to get hurt and hate myself. 
  2. I don’t really love running right now and I want my focus to be on enjoying the miles I am able to run. When running feels better and is something I look forward to (I know it will be some day), I can start training harder. 
  3. Who knows when there are going to be marathons again. We are still in the neck deep in the pandemic and life won’t be anywhere close to normal for a long time. Virtual races are fine, but I have no interest in running a virtual 26.2 miles by myself, thanks.

Two and a half years is a long time. Maybe I’ll change my mind (I’ve already convinced myself this is a dumb idea two or three times). Maybe I will say to hell with running and find another way to work on my fitness (I’m almost 10 years into this running habit, I think/hope it is a part of my life for good). Maybe I decide that the 5K is my race of choice and focus on beating that PR that is about to turn five years old. 

This is where my head is at right now, though. I want to get back to that place I was in 2019, when the thought of running a 90-minute steady state run on a Wednesday is intimidating but also exciting. I miss the way I felt while training for the marathon that summer. I miss running the miles, I miss the camaraderie of training with friends, I miss being fit and feeling good about myself. 

It’s a lot of work, work I haven’t been willing to do lately, but hopefully it is work I eventually look forward to. For now, I’m going to go jog a few miles, during which I’ll probably talk myself into and out of this goal four or five times.