Happy Marathon Monday everyone! Good luck to all of the Boston Marathon runners today! I hope I can follow along as much as possible during the race. I remember last year it happened to fall over spring break and I was able to take the day off and watch the race from home. It’s definitely one of my favorite days! I especially want to wish good luck to those of you who I have followed throughout your training- Nicole, Amber, and Laura!
Every year I get very inspired watching the race, wondering if one day I will be there. Even last year I had my doubts- it was right after I struggled to run a 4:01 marathon and I felt like I would never break that 4 hour barrier. Then last summer/fall my training really took off and I began to realize that I definitely could make it to Boston. I cut 15 minutes off my marathon time and felt like I had the potential to have run faster if my body had cooperated on race day. Still, I knew I had a faster time in me and decided I would do whatever it would take to get healthy.
However, as the months following the marathon went by I did not recover as expected. Despite taking time off and cutting back on my training significantly I was not back to feeling 100%. My body continued to fight against me, and various chiropractors and physical therapists weren’t able to give me any sort of clear explanation.
In early March I told my physical therapist that I was going to stop running to see if that helped. (Yes, it was my idea- no one I have worked with had actually told me to stop running). Well I guess I figured out why they didn’t tell me to stop running because it really didn’t make anything better! So I slowly started running again (on the Alter-G when possible, and outside when I was feeling good).
I have learned that a return to running is extremely humbling. A few months ago I could head out for an hour long run and not think twice about it. I had the endurance to run for hours without really getting out of breath, as long as my pace was easy. Now, 3 miles at any pace has me out of breath! And in my new neighborhood I have an element that is somewhat new to me: HILLS!
This huge setback has definitely increased any doubts I have about making it to Boston one day. It’s hard to imagine running a qualifying time when I can hardly hold that pace for one mile these days. I also now have doubts about my body being able to sustain marathon training. I wish I could say that I learned how to do things “better” next time. If nothing else, I have learned that there will probably never be one “right” way to do things.
Runners are strong. For me, I have never really struggled with pushing myself during workouts or getting the miles in or even keeping up with my core work. I will know that I have gotten stronger when I can get to a place where I understand my body, it’s limits, and what it needs.
When it comes to our running and training, we may make progress and then fall back again but we always have the potential to come back stronger than before. Stronger doesn’t necessarily have to equal faster, either. It all depends on your goals and priorities. For me, I will feel “stronger” when I am no longer nervous before a run because I worry that something will feel “off”. I will feel “stronger” when I know that my glutes are working like they are supposed to. I will feel “stronger” when I am able run with confidence again.
So today, while some runners line up to race the Boston Marathon, runners everywhere else may watch, or think of those racing, or possibly envy those who qualified. I encourage those runners to find your “strong”, whatever that might be right now. Recognize your strength and never forget what it takes to reach your full potential.
Run strong, Boston runners. Good luck and enjoy your day!
What does “running strong” mean to you?
Have you ever run the Boston Marathon? Is qualifying a goal of yours?