After my marathon, I really needed some downtime. Having a job in the running industry is amazing, but my life got a little over loaded on running in the month or so leading up to Nike. Between running 40+ miles a week and working with running on my mind 40+ hours a week, it was getting to be a LOT of running, whether I was actually running, thinking about running, or working on running stuff for my job. So, I needed some "away" time. Didn't run with my running friends, took a few weeks off from running altogether, and made the conscious goal not to talk about running as much as I usually do on my "off" time (my now husband is probably willing to attest to the fact that I think I failed at this goal).
Well, my break lasted until last week when I fell in love with running all over again. I guess absence does make the heart grow fonder. Or maybe I just remembered how *awesome* it was to be outside, running with nothing holding you back. No training plans, no commitments, just running. I think I needed that realization. And the views on my trail runs didn't hurt either:
San Andreas Trail
Yup, trail running is my new obsession. I love it (except for when I fall and almost break myself). Road running is amazing, and it has given me the opportunity to meet some awesome people, but trail runs are just plain old good for your soul. They challenge you, show you where you need to improve, and reward you just when you think you can't go any further. Plus trail shoes are pretty kick ass.
There are some pretty crazy trail runs in the Bay Area, and I am really excited about exploring more of them. My friend and I made a running pact a few weeks ago. We were both feeling out of sorts about running, and we were run/walk-ing a trail in Rancho San Antonio, and we were both feeling the pain. We decided then and there that we would re run Rancho every so often over the next few months to prove to ourselves that we could do it and that we were improving. A couple weeks later, we ran the PG&E trail (one of the toughest runs I have done) along with our run group, and I am proud to say that my friend and I pulled each other through, and we kicked that trail's butt! Ah, the power of peer pressure and friendly support on a tough run... and hopefully I can report back in a few weeks that we are feeling even stronger on the evil elevation of the PG&E!
I've also gotten back into racing, with two races this past week, the San Jose Turkey Trot and Brazen Racing's Quarry Turkey. I was DEFINITELY not prepared for the Quarry Turkey, and decided to do the half marathon at the spur of the moment. I am SO glad I did! It was a great course, beautiful weather, and Brazen as usual put on a top notch event. Plus it was great to have friends there supporting me!
Me, running like a turkey at the Quarry Turkey Half Marathon!
This was an interesting half marathon to run. It was the longest distance I had run since Nike, and I had a big mental block about running a half marathon again. I decided to run it at the last minute, which I think was for the best since I didn't over stress myself about it. I showed up, didn't even bring any water with me, and came with only a pack of chomps. I told myself at the beginning of the race I wasn't going to push it, and that I would walk through every aid station. Well, I followed my plan, and I honestly think I felt better during this race than any other, even a normal training day. I guess I just needed to chill, not build the mileage up so much in my mind, and not have a competition with myself like I usually do. Usually miles 9-10 are the hardest for me. I always approach those miles feeling totally drained and need to walk for a couple minutes. BUT, I powered through!! I was so proud of myself, and felt like I really accomplished something in this run. I need to stop listening to the negative thoughts in my head while I am running! I didn't finish the race with a PR (or even close to one), but I really hit a personal goal on that mile 9/10 and I felt awesome about it.
So, 5 weeks off apparently was what I needed. I'm ready to get back into the swing of things, run with my run groups again, and start kicking off training for my upcoming 50K on Mt. Diablo (yay?). I guess I needed some time to bounce back, and I am so glad I took it! I was getting burned out on running, and I hated feeling that way. I have a few big runs coming up, including a 16 miler in Quicksilver Park this weekend, which I am terrified of. But I will be running with friends, and I know that I can make it (as long as there is a delicious breakfast waiting for me at the end!!).