Last winter I was training for the annual St. Patrick's 10K Road Race in Holyoke. I was newly recovered after a combination of hip and back injuries and was feeling optimistic. I had run my course PR and kept my targeted pace throughout the course, not to mention that I unexpectedly sprinted the final .2 miles. I felt strong, motivated, and back on track.
Upon returning home, I looked at the calendar and realized that I was on course to run the very half marathon where I was scheduled to volunteer. With the support of my family, boyfriend, and last minute volunteers I was able to register for the Wallis Sands Half Marathon in NH. As a Valentine's gift, Tim paid for my registration fee. This time I smashed my 13.1 PR by 5 minutes. I decided here that the half marathon is my favorite distance to run, but the possibility of running further had creeped into my brain.
Using the money I had received from my April birthday, I signed up for the Smuttynose Brewfest Marathon, also in NH. I wasn't sure what exactly I was getting myself into at the time, but my running partner had completed her first marathon just six months earlier, so I knew that my goal was within reach. And the rest is history.....
Now, what's on tap for 2014? I expect this year to build on my experiences from last fall – the theme of new challenges is still in the air. It's exhilarating and terrifying all at once, which is why I have chosen “Just do it” as my mantra (thanks, Nike!).
|Walking billboards! Tim's mantra: Underarmour = stay warm|
While last year was an absolutely incredible time for me athletically, I now have to focus on school and take advantage of the opportunities that present themselves. Thus far I have applied to 12 summer internships, applied for my passport, spent a long weekend in NYC and decided to run the Boston Marathon on April 21.
Yes, you read that right...I will be running my second marathon only six months after my first. At first I wasn't sure about this prospect – Could I do it? Would I want to? But with a summer research internship comes the sacrifice of triathlon season and fall distance events. Alas, what's a girl to do?!
My decision to run Boston also serves a larger purpose as I will be running with the group Griffin's Friends, an organization which supports families as their children battle cancer, and my boyfriend – a cancer survivor – will be running alongside me. We have recently set up our fundraising page which you can find here.
We began training around Thanksgiving but were reluctant to make a public announcement until potential injuries were put aside. At this point we are preparing for a 12 mile group run on Sunday and have logged quite a few miles together outdoors, on the track, and on the treadmill.
This training cycle is much different from anything I have ever done before: my running serves a purpose beyond myself, I'm training with my non-runner boyfriend, and I'm working toward this goal as a member of a team. The dynamic is so different from what I have experienced before, and I have learned a lot about myself already. Most importantly, I have learned how to break down my self-imposed boundaries and enter my dis-comfort zones. It has not always been easy, but I am ready to leave stagnancy behind and move forward with my life. This is just another part of the journey.