Sometimes you need to get off the beaten path, and change the pace. By the time I made it to the end of my last training cycle I was exhausted. I had been sick for almost a month, working retail in a run speciality store in the middle of holiday madness, and taking care of my parents after my Dad’s back surgery. Before I even made it to the start line in Jacksonville I knew the next thing I needed was a break. So, my goal for the new year didn’t focus on goal race times, finally getting a BQ, or races at all. Instead I just wanted to have some fun.
For months I had talked about wanting to go out on trails. The Mayor’s Midnight Marathon has had a lasting affect on my thoughts on trails. After several grueling miles on a gravel tank trail runners are rewarded with a beautiful single track trail through mountain meadows before climbing up to the peak. It is one of my favorite race memories ever. I knew I wanted to get back to it. I am tired of taking my life in my hands every time I go for a run in Atlanta. Fast, and distracted drivers quickly take the fun out of nearly every run. The holidays only seemed to make everything worse. So, I strapped on a pair of trail shoes given to me by a friend, bought a park pass, and headed to the river to explore the single track trails.
There is something about trail running that is incredible freeing. There is no worry about pace, traffic, or anything other than what the footing is for your next step. You can jump over puddles, speed down hills, and hop over roots and rocks. It’s something I plan to do every week no matter what I decide to train for. I feel stronger and happier every time I hit the trails. Sometimes the best training plan is to scrap the training plan and rediscover why I love running. So far I have to say it’s working wonders. Time will tell what it brings.
Zip. Zero. Nada. None
That’s what my 2014 racing schedule currently looks like, and I have to say it feels kind of awesome! I took a week off of running to try to get over the germs I just can’t seem to shake. It was a week to attempt to relax, and catch up on sleep. I kept thinking of ideas as people kept asking what was next. And while I liked the list my heart was really in it. Really the list just kept stressing me out. It meant jumping back into training. It isn’t that I dislike training, but I’m just tired of training. All I ever do is jump from one training cycle to the next. All I had was a list of races and no desire to run. So, I made a quick call to my coach, and told him how I really felt.
So, out went the list. It was freeing. It made me happy. I started talking to a co-worker about some places i wanted to check out, and I started getting excited. I started running for me 7 1/2 years ago. It was supposed to be a way to get healthy, and de-stress not something to cause stress. Something needed to change. I get to take a month or so and just see what I feel like. I don’t know what I want to race, and the be completely honest it’s hard to think past July anyway. I want to do things like run on Saturday’s maybe even with friends if my work schedule lets me. I want to explore some trails and just have some fun without worrying about pace or how long I’m running. I want an off-season!
So, no races for the foreseeable future. It’s a pretty awesome plan so far 🙂
Truth – I wrote this post back on April 15th while watching the Boston Marathon. A lot has changed since that Monday. It was a big high for me. That is until a few hours later when everything changed. It doesn’t change the plan, or my dream. This is just to give some perspective for this post. For awhile I thought I wouldn’t post this, but then I realized that the actions of 2 people haven’t changed what I want to do as a runner.
Be careful what you say. Or maybe be careful where you say what you say. Monday morning I mentioned I had race envy of friends running the Boston Marathon. Coach Glenn, who has started helping Jeff with my training schedules, was listening. Over the next 30 minutes we discussed how I could get there. And by there I mean the Boston Marathon.
For those not familiar with the Boston Marathon you have to achieve a qualifying time to be able just to register. Fortunately, I move up to a new age group in 4 months, and get an extra five minutes. So then I just have to run a marathon in 3 hours and 40 minutes. Talk about daunting. Ah, yes the head and the heart are once again disagreeing!
How do you know where you can go if you never try? Some of my co-workers have mentioned that I don’t run to my potential at all. So, back to that conversation with Glenn. I’m going to do some things that might scare me a bit. I’m going to push through when my head tells me to stop. I’m not going to hold myself back anymore. I’m ready to see if I can get to that dream goal! A few racing plans are changing as well as some fueling things, but it’s all for a purpose. It’s the BG to BQ plan as my co-worker Cheri has nicknamed it.