When the Fire Starts to Return

Lately I have been thinking a lot about the Boston Marathon. Training starts at the end of the year so it has been on my mind lately. I keep having thoughts like, if it was any other marathon, would I run? Would I sign up with excitement? Would I have the fire in the pit of my stomach to devote myself to training? If you asked me a few weeks ago I probably would have said no.

You see, somewhere in the middle of Chicago I lost that fire. I trained hard, but my heart wasn’t in the end result. I had worked for years for a BQ and after missing a Boston number by seconds the redemption fire carried me all through training and I never lost sight of my goal. Come race day, I knew no matter what I was going to do it, I didn’t care if it was hard or if everything was working against me. I would do it. I decided this long before and honestly I think that mentality was just as important as the training that got me to a 3:20 PR.

Things were different for Chicago. Yes, I wanted to improve, I wanted to run faster, but at Chicago? I am not sure. I thought a 3:15 was the most logical next goal so I went for it and I trained for it, but it wasn’t a goal that was running through my veins. It didn’t keep me up at night and get me out of bed in the morning. It was just there. It was just dictating my workouts.

Even the week before race day, I was more concerned with PR’ing for others than PR’ing for myself. On race day my mind was full of “I can’ts” not “I cans” or “I wills”.  Both of those were red flags that my heart wasn’t in it. I wasn’t truly invested in my goal, at least not then.

Fast forward to now. After Chicago I did a lot of reflecting. I realized I have just been going through the motions with running. I knew this was a sign. I needed time, so I have taken my time getting back into running. I still haven’t done a hard workout since Chicago and honestly prefer it that way. I have been running around 25 miles a week for 3 weeks and will continue for the next 2 weeks, still keeping it easy.

It wasn’t until a run this weekend where I started to feel that fire again. I haven’t felt it since March. It was sunny and around 50 degrees. I decided I wanted to go long, which lately has meant 8 miles. I was halfway through and realized I was averaging 8:30’s and it felt good. Then I started thinking about Boston. How long it took me to get to this upcoming training cycle. How hard I have worked. How awesome the race will be regardless of the result. How many familiar faces will be there on the course and at the finish, including my parents. Even just thinking about it made me excited and determined. The determined part was what I have been missing these past few months.

I am relishing in the slow build to my Boston training cycle, but I am ready to chase some new goals for Boston. Regardless, I am keeping my first goal as to run strong and make myself and my family proud because I know no matter what I will. Other than that, I am hoping to run between a 3:10 and 3:15. Same goal as before but different fire carrying me along the way.

Social media makes it hard to take breaks and ease back in your running and not feel guilty. Stay focused on you and what makes you the best runner you are! This is different for everyone. I see some people go from one race to another and never seem to actually cut back on miles and workouts, that might work for them but that does not work for me. I live for those 25 mile weeks where I can enjoy other things like my friends, my family, gym classes I haven’t been to in months. I live for the weeks of easy runs and no hard workouts. I live for the recovery and reset. Training for a race takes a lot of dedication, don’t sell yourself short, give yourself the mental and physical break you deserve, no matter what that means.


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