Following the great debacle that was the Houston marathon, I almost completely stopped running. I might get 10 miles in during the week. I had fallen out of love with running. The infamous injury of 2011 left me flat, and I almost didn't want to put forth the energy to get back into run shape. After forcing myself to do try and limping through Houston, I was done. Many Saturday mornings were spent in my cozy bed and not on the pavement. And did I care? Nope! It was not a bad feeling!
This last year has taught me something. I realized I don't have to feel guilty or like a slacker for doing things differently. I started biking more as a group of us have signed up for the Shiner G.A.S.P. century ride that travels from Austin to Shiner, Texas. I've logged quite a few long rides, but no major run mileage. I am learning to have fun with my training and try new things. I've also started a Versus Strength and Conditioning Athletic Training class in the afternoons. The group meets on Tuesday and Thursday in Petal. So far, I've only been going on Thursday due to my indoor cycling teaching schedule, but next week that changes. My class schedule has been adjusted so that my Tuesdays are free. I've really enjoyed this and am enjoying the positive changes I am seeing from this new type of workout.
In the last couple of months I have begun to slowly rebuild my run mileage. This time it's on my terms and not those of the marathon or peer pressure (it's me who pressures based on what others are doing). I'm slower than I used to be, and not the queen of the long run either, but I'm having fun. My friend Jenny, who recently completed her first half marathon, and I have been adding in some extra runs to our current schedules by going on a few runs during lunch. We both want to up our weekly mileage so a day or so here and there of running at lunch helps us both. The days here aren't so warm yet, and our temporary location (thanks to the Feb. 10 tornado's destruction to my office building on campus) allows for some great places to run. I have enjoyed running with her and seeing her runs improve, and it helps me to be more motivated and push a little harder again.
I have no goals, no races, no anything in mind when it comes to running. I'm doing it strictly for fun right now. Maybe I'll do another marathon, maybe not. I do know that I am riding my first century ride in May, and I'm going to get in great physical condition through Versus. Those are my goals, those are my plans, and everything else is just icing on the cake. Cake that I am not eating, by the way, because I'm also paying a lot more attention to my diet.
So, it really is a small reinvention of myself. For so long I have been defined by the run only. One day, I do hope to be back to a strong, faster runner again, but I'm not putting any pressure on myself or spending too much time focusing on it. It will happen when I'm ready for it to happen. Until then, more kettle bell swing, burpees, push-ups, bike miles, lunchtime runs, and a guilt free Saturday morning of late sleeping here and there.