It’s hard to believe I ran Erie three weeks ago. I was so focused on it for so long, I can’t really figure out how I feel about it. On the one hand, I’m glad it’s over and that it went well. On the other, I find myself a little jealous of everyone tapering getting ready for Marine Corps in a couple weeks. There’s just something about the nervous excitement you feel gearing up for a big race. I picked Erie in January right after I found out I was going to need foot surgery and miss Boston. So literally every workout since then has been with that race and goal in mind. But having it behind me is also freeing. I’m back to running because I want to. And if I don’t feel like it, I don’t. It’s made me remember just how much I love to run. Especially in the fall. I could not possibly love this time of year any more than I do. There’s something about the feel and smell of the air that calls to me. I literally feel a pull to run long and far in the fall which, when thinking about it, might be why I’ve ended up with so many spring injuries. It’s hard to reign myself in this time of year and I usually pay for it sidelined with one injury or another.
I’m trying to train smart this time. After almost every other marathon I’ve run, I’ve done a race immediately following it because, hello, I’m in marathon shape and might as well go see what I can do. Brilliant. In 2012, I raced MCM, the next weekend I raced a 5k, and the weekend after that I raced Richmond. I PR’ed in each race and felt pretty darn proud of myself but we know how that ended. This time around, I’ve taken it pretty easy. Running 26.2 miles is hard on your body and if you don’t respect that fact, your body will let you know. I ran 16 miles in the week following Erie. And in the weeks after that, each run has been pretty easy and low key. Today, I added some 20 second strides for the first time and it felt good to spin my legs a little again but I won’t do any real workouts for a couple more weeks. I think what I’m starting to learn is that there’s no rush. It’s much better to take my time to establish a solid base before I start adding more than to try to cram everything in at once. It may mean that I’ll have to wait a little longer before I see any PR’s but I’m confident that my fastest races are still in front of me so it’s more important to train smart and stay healthy.
So I’m supplementing my running with classes at the gym and cross training and I definitely feel like I’m a lot stronger and hopefully less fragile than I was before. I guess time will tell. In the meantime, I’m just enjoying running with my group again. I’m excited to be able to plan races with friends again. And I’m just happy to be where I am. It’s been a long road to get here.