In my head, I really want to write out your run-of-the-mill “Goals for 2014” blog post. There are two problems with doing that though: 1) I’m goal-less, and 2) I’m a little unsure of what this year will look like, and don’t want to set myself up for disappointment.
Neither of those things are a solid recipe for a motivational “Hell ya let’s do this 2014!” post.
Truth be told, being unsure about the future scares me less than feeling like I don’t have any goals. If the end of 2013 taught me anything, it’s that you never really know what life will throw your way. Admittedly, I’m a little scared to put my all-in ambition out into the universe just yet, because I was knocked on my rear pretty hard not too long ago. In the same breath, while I am definitely recuperating nicely and feeling more and more like my old self, I also know that there are some changes coming up that will put a wrench in any plan-making. Therefore, it’s hard to think of setting goals in a somewhat unpredictable environment.
*Cryptic blogging, I know. Sorry.*
But as I said, those changes and uncertainties regarding my health and life in general aren’t actually what’s getting to me. In fact, I feel a certain sense of resilience when I imagine all the unknowns, and in a weird way I feel more ready for them.
What is digging at me is how directionless I feel.
For so long it’s been all about dedicating a training season to a new distance, a certain time goal, or a qualifying standard. While there are plenty of those options still available to me, for whatever reason I am just not feeling inspired by much of anything. Perhaps it’s because I’m so gravely out of shape (strong likelihood), or perhaps it’s because I’ve been so out-of-sorts for the last few months. Either way, it’s irking me that I can’t seem to get excited about anything.
I’m sure it will come, and I realize it’s only 1 week into the new year, but in the mean time I’ve decided to just focus on the next upcoming months of rebuilding, restrengthening, and (if I’m lucky) getting myself across the Boston Marathon finish line.
So, in lieu of shouting a big sparkly goal time from the rooftops for Boston and proclaiming all the magical sweat-filled things I want to do in 2014, I’ve instead settled upon a step-by-step road map of sorts for getting myself from a wheezing, calf-less, cheese-binging girl-on-the-mend to a Boston marathon finisher. And please note, finisher is the operative word here.
This month is 100% devoted to building back my endurance, strength, and generally learning how to run again.
I’m optimistic that my IT band injury is on the way out the door, but that doesn’t mean that it’s ready for full-clearance. Generally, my entire right leg seems to have a mind of its own nowadays. Even on days when I do absolutely nothing at all, it seems like a new area is irritated for no apparent reason. I’m going to have to match my “rebuilding” ambitions with equal amounts of TLC to ensure that I don’t sideline myself even further.
I’ve also very intentionally decided that getting back in shape does not need to be exclusive to running. And in fact, it shouldn’t be. Lots of swimming, elliptical (bleh), spinning, etc. will all be incorporated in attempts to reestablish my endurance. Running will be very purposeful and tactical throughout this process. I.E: my runs will be spaced out, will be done only when I’m feeling good, and will be built up slowly and steadily.
I’m also trying very hard to ignore the fact that most people running Boston have already started their training. I would have started by now too should conditions have been different. But, this is the hand I’ve been dealt, and instead of focusing on the miles and paces that shoulda, woulda, coulda…I’m going to keep focus on what I can do right now.
So, January is about recuperating while still getting some fitness back. And I am very intentionally not starting “Boston Marathon training” yet.
Should things go well in January (running without pain, not wallowing through every single workout, happy intestines), I will “officially” being training for Boston on February 1. I don’t have any idea what this training will look like, other than I’m fairly certain it will not resemble marathon training of the past. At this point, I’m going to be focused on getting in the long runs and generally building mileage. That’s about it, running wise. Maybe a miracle will happen and I’ll be inspired to get all tempo/goal pace/mile repeats crazy…but I’m doubting it. And that’s fine.
In December, in the midst of failing health, I decided that should things turn around and should I be able to get myself to Boston, it would be for the finish, and not the clock. At that point, getting out the door seemed like a success, so the idea of even getting to Boston felt like a reach goal.
Now that I’m (hopefully) able to try and pursue that goal…I want it to be without pressure or chance of disappointment. At the same time, this is going to no doubt be a special year at Boston, and I’d like to soak as much of it up as I can, should I make it there. This is the same mentality I went into Chicago with…no pressure, just enjoy the race…and I had the most enjoyable marathon of my life, easily.
So, in a perfect world, I will start training and building mileage on the 1st of February, giving me 12 weeks to get myself marathon-ready. If I were at my normal level of fitness, I would feel fine about this. However, given my current state of patheticness, I’m much more nervous. Rediscovering just how hard running (and marathon training) really is is not exactly what I’d been hoping for in training for Boston.
But, it is what it is. And ultimately, I’m grateful to even having the ability to make a “training plan,” given the unfortunate state I’ve recently been in.
As for March and April, ideally, I’ll be carrying on per standard marathon training procedure. It will all be very dependent on my body’s temperament, but overall I’m planning on getting myself in shape to run a marathon and enjoy it. No killing myself with workouts for the sake of a certain time this time around, and I’m fine with that. And to tell you the truth, considering my current “pace” is MINUTES slower than I regularly run, I know I’m no where near ready to even think about my time, training wise and race wise. And that’s okay.
So, the name of the game for the next three weeks is to get myself back into shape. Run some, swim some, stretch a lot, roll a lot, and generally let my body be my guide. Should all go according to plan, I’ll be looking at 12 weeks of prep to get myself to the Boston start line. It’s not going to be pretty, and it won’t always be fun, but if nothing else…I’ve got determination on my side. I fought hard for my BQ last spring, and I am going to be relentless in ensuring that effort is rewarded in April.