Wednesday, January 2, 2019

2018: In Pursuit of the Uncomfortable

Happy new year!

2018 was a crazy running year for me, full of lots of good, and lots of room to grow.

Let's go back to the beginning.

My intention for 2018 running was to "pursue the uncomfortable".  Push myself to things I previously thought impossible. 

I was going to do this by training my mind and body to break 3 hours in the marathon.  I was also going to attempt to run two marathons in one calendar year, something I hadn't done since 2008.  Talk about getting uncomfortable!

Well, as I have blabbed to anyone who will listen, and if you've been reading this blog for the last year, you know that I broke 3 hours, by ten seconds, at Grandma's marathon in June 2018.  I was elated and wrote how really, if I was going to be real and pursue the uncomfortable, I had to dream big and set goals that were more likely to fail than not.  I wrote this blog post declaring I wanted to try for an OTQ (Olympic Trials Qualifier) before the Jan 2020 deadline. It is my favorite blog post that I wrote last year.

Then I got lazy.

I don't mean physically lazy.  Lord knows, I worked my body HARD over the summer and fall months for Madison Marathon.  I added on the miles, using a more difficult training plan than I was used to.  The whole thing was a big pile of discomfort...until it wasn't.  I started running tempo runs FAST.  I was excited about race day.  And, I expected a PR.  I had been PRing in the marathon since Spring 2017.  And I am talking BIG jumps in time.  If I added on more miles, that meant that I was bound for another big PR, right?

We've all seen this in various forms.  I learned this lesson with marathon running already, or so I thought.  I ran a 3:25:50 in May 2015 and thought that if I trained hard, I would easily get a 3:15 in Boston 2016.  I had a terrible race in Boston and managed to squeak out a 3:31:49.  This lit a fire, I committed to the marathon and I came back in May 2017 to run a 3:11:09.  Success is not linear.

Except I didn't REALLY learn the lesson.  Not when I expected that straight shot to success.  What success really looks like is a bunch of setbacks.  Not just one.  I know that a 3:01:58 at Madison is a good time.  But it was far from the time I was expecting.  Another minor setback.

When I say I got lazy it means that I did not keep up with all of the mental work that took me from a 3:25 to a 3:31 to a 3:11 to a 2:59.  I mistakenly thought that my brain was already trained.  Check the box.   Rookie mistake.  The brain needs to train each cycle with the body.  That marathon is a sneaky beast.  Lesson learned, again.

There was a lot of other good outside of finish times that came out of 2018's intent to pursue the uncomfortable. 

Sign up to run a Ragnar Race with people you have never met just a month out from a goal marathon? YES.  The ladies of Oiselle Birdstrike CHI are a FORCE.  Endless inspiration to be found in each one of them. 

Apply to go to Austin with 25 other people you haven't met to do two days of networking, even though the thought makes you slightly nauseous?  YES.  Outside of the fractured rib that I took home with me, it was so fun to meet so many passionate, kind runners.

Not to mention getting to watch my cousin-in-law BQ for the first time; my niece run faster than the mosquitoes in cross country, my kids sprint down the streets of Madison, my wonderful high school cross country and track coach get inducted into my high school hall of fame, running Pettit relays with so many Great Lakes Oiselle ladies, "meeting" a fast lady on Instagram, running a half with her (she smoked me), watching my husband pick up a couple days of running per week in the later months of the year, applying for the 2019 American Development team at Chicago Marathon and getting in, applying for elite status for 2019 Illinois Marathon and getting it.

I ran 1,971 miles in 2018, 271 more than I ran in 2017.  My legs and heart and mind are ready to take on 2019!  The fire is lit.


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  2. Nice post! It's good to see you working on the mental aspects and realizing that progress is not linear. You are set up well to do amazing things in 2019.