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Friday, November 12, 2021

Making the Case for 2024

This past week, my social media has blown up with memories from two years ago.  More specifically, pictures and snippets of my training for, and on race day at, the 2019 Indy Monumental Marathon, where I was targeting a 2:45 Olympic Trials Marathon qualifying time.  Depending on my current mood, seeing each one yields a different emotion, the biggest one feeling like, well, a dagger in my side.  Ouch. 

I get excited and full of pride.  Like, "I was targeting something epic."  I get mad.  Like, "I wasted so much time of my own, and that of my family, for what?  Nothing to show."  I get mad at my current self.  Like, "I was so driven then.  Put down the Doritos, and get back at it, will ya?"  I want to avoid it.  But I also want to relive it.  I can't explain it.


Since that day and dropping out at mile five with what an MRI would later reveal to be a calf tear, I've struggled to find a goal as, for lack of a better word, "worthy".  It sounds dumb, but attaining that 2:45 Olympic Trials time essentially would have been my Olympics.  I had no delusions of grandeur of actually then making the Olympic team.  A Trials qualifier felt like the pinnacle for me, as if I would have capped my running career with the ultimate accomplishment.

In some ways, I now feel like a ticking clock.  I'm 41 years old, and while I'll always be the first coach to say that age is just a number (side note, a 41-year old not only won, but PR'd by nearly two minutes at Indy this year!), it's more where I'm at in my life with a business and young kids and no patience that oftentimes leaves me feeling depleted.  I find myself saying, "Well, what's the difference if I've run a 2:51 or if I run a 2:45 now?"  The 2:45, other than lowering my PR, doesn't equate to a Trials qualifier anymore, so does it matter??

This is where I want to make the case for the 2024 Olympic Trials standards...

USATF has yet to announce the new standards, but rumors are swirling that the men's time will become 2:17 or 2:18 and the women's <2:40.  ...to which, I feel defeated.  Look, I'm a realist; 2:40 ain't in my cards.  In 2019, I knew in my heart I could have run that 2:45, but I was stretched THIN (figuratively and literally 😛).  Even if my calf had cooperated, it would have been close, and honestly, I don't think I could have trained any harder or better.  This was a big part of the excitement actually...it was a goal that was in my realm of possibility, but it certainly by no means was a given.

In any event, I digress.  I want something to chase again, but I feel like I don't have anything.  And my guess is that a lot of the women (and men!) who had my same OTQ goal are feeling the same way right now.  If the standard goes below 2:40, this cuts out about 80% of the field from 2020.  There were also a lot of women between 2:45 and 2:50 that just missed the standard too.  Why not keep boosting our sport and give them a reason to want to keep dreaming and chasing?  Because I know for me, if the standard goes below 2:40, I'm more likely to target Doritos for a modeling gig than to target that.  If it were to stay closer to 2:45, mayyybe even 2:43-2:44, I would 100% go for it again.  

I'm sure money is a big reason, but for all the money spent on athletes in the Trials race, I would also think the economic boost for the host city has to be pretty stellar.  I also understand that qualifying for such an event is, in a way, "exclusive" ... like, it's meant to be a smaller group, the cream of the crop per se... so perhaps the fields shouldn't be that big.  But I don't know...as we work harder and accomplish such feats, it almost feels oddly like a punishment or something to have such a drastic drop after the fact.  In a way, it makes me a little sad for the sport, and I'd actually be curious to chat with other women or men in my position to see how they're redefining their goals now, or if they even are at all. 

Ultimately, at the end of the day, and like I've said a bazillion times, I'll always run, as it's simply what I love to do.  ...but to chase and daydream about something so amazing just puts it on a whole other level, and I'm really missing that right now.

Happy chasing!


Thursday, October 7, 2021

Me (and that's ok)

 I feel like I have so much to say and nothing to say all at the same time.  <--- I wasn't really sure how to start this blog since it's been so long since writing, so there we go, I just wrote out what my brain was thinking.

Ahh yes, here we are, still in the land of a pandemic.  Remember when we thought it would be over in two weeks when it started in 2020?  HA!  That's funny.  Not really.  My two boys and I got sick this week, and what was the first thing we did?  Freaked out we had Covid.  Got tested.  Negative.  Remember when colds and shit were normal for this time of year?  Oh wait, they still are.  But we're programmed to freak out now that it could mean something else, creating hysteria.

Okay, enough of that talk.  I will say that I am SO, SO, SO grateful about a month ago that I decided NOT to run the Chicago Marathon this weekend.  Why?  Well, for one, I can't breathe super awesomely right now, and two, it's going to be hotter than sriracha out there.  After Boston, Kiawah, and Myrtle, I promised myself that I would never run another hot marathon.  I've run enough races in my life now; I'm not interested in just completing them anymore.  If I can't compete or try and better my time, meh, no need.  Too much other crapola going on to deal with that mess (look at me all spoken like a true old wise person and stuff!).  Okay, but really, best of luck to everyone in Chicago.  Like seriously, start off slow cuz that second half will suck if you don't.

I'm still in my "FUN" running mode.  Full disclosure, I go through highs and lows of wanting to compete.  I get PUMPED, sign up for a race, and then the next week think, "well what the hell did you go and do that for?!"  I know I can hold my own at any point, but I'm definitely not in any kind of tip top race shape.  I did sign up for the sub-elite race of the USA Half Marathon Championships in December (any male having run under 1:25 and any female having run under 1:35 can compete) and am having thoughts of a spring marathon, but I'm still allowing myself grace and living in the moment of where my heart takes me.  For example, as I write this post, my heart took me into a bag of cheese Doritos...  


Ran another relay with my winosaurs team; had another blast!

My heart also took me to starting my own business in July!  It's official and going so much better than I could have ever imagined for the first few months.  In Pursuit Running (I PR) offers one-on-one and small group worldwide coaching, as well as a free community group run on Thursdays for those in the Triad, NC area.  I've already learned so much through the process, appreciate the amazing "village" of family, friends, and professionals that have helped me make this happen, and am just so damn proud to have created something that helps fuel other individuals' fires and desires.  Because in today's world, especially in this pandemic land, it's crucial to take care of ourselves first (think of being on an airplane...you must put on your own oxygen mask before helping someone else.  If you don't, you eventually won't be able to help another single person, period.  Roger.  <--- not that I know someone named Roger that needs help, but meaning like, Roger, 10-4, got it.  Oh dear lawd help me).

Furthermore on this point, I read a quote yesterday from one of my favorite professional all-time runners, Lauren Fleshman of Oiselle, that really resonated with me.  For the past eight years, she has coached Oiselle's "Littlewing" team, which is a small group of female professional runners in Oregon.  She decided to leave her coaching role to focus on other professional and personal desires and priorities and said, "Sometimes, doing what we need to do for our health and wellbeing will disrupt stability for others.  It just does.  I hate that part so much."  Gahhh, so true.  It took me so long to go out on my own because I feared how it would affect the runners I had currently been working with.  However, I wasn't taking care of myself and my own needs and that of my family, who are ultimately who matter most.  I'm trying to stay true to my vision for my business with this same mantra too.  It's hard when you can't make everyone happy, but we need to accept this reality in order to protect ourselves and those closest to our hearts.  By doing so, I'm so excited for what I PR is already becoming!

I PR and the Jesse Wharton Elementary Run Club

An I PR Thursday Run

On another completely random topic that I can talk about because it's my blog and I can do whatever the heck I want here.........do any other moms (or dads) feel pressure to put their kids in 6,457 activities every week!?  I legit had a mom ask me the other day what sport my boys were doing after school on Mondays.  Not like in general, but in particular on Mondays because she didn't have anything scheduled yet for that day and needed to find something.  I was like, ummm, they're eating dinner??  We have swim and robotics and gymnastics and run club and soon-to-be mountain biking between both boys on Tuesdays through Saturdays.  I already feel like I'm going to lose my marbles sometimes because we're overdoing it?  I felt a teeny bit of shame for having a day where my kids weren't in an activity.  Is this a thing??  Again, I had to go back to my mantra above of doing what's best for my wellbeing and making sure my kids are actually happy in what they're doing, but yikers.  When I was a kid, I did one activity at a time; I tried a lot of different things, but the solo focus enabled me to determine if I truly had a passion for it (enter running!).  K, rant over, thanks bye.

On that note, I'm heading out for a short run. 
Happy Fall, and Happy Running, y'all!

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Fun.

Fun.  That's how I like my running these days.  Like that singing group..."Fun."  and their song "We are Young."  Except I'm not young.   I'm definitely old.


 The pandemic deleted my birthday last year, so hubby threw me a proper 40th this year!

Ahh, but I digress. So far this year, I have not run one single race, aside from a trail relay, but I can also honestly say that I've been having more fun running than I can ever remember.  I'm running with an inappropriately fun (like, no convo is off the table with these peeps) group again on Thursdays, I take extra days off if my body or mind asks for it, and I'm more than willing to change up a run mid-run if I decide, yep, this just ain't happening today.  No pressure.  All smiles.  Well, mostly.  No one smiles all the time.  And if they do, well that's just weird, and I probably wouldn't trust them.  



Logan, my seven year old, actually brought me to an epiphany a few weeks ago.  He started playing on a flag football team, and after a successful first game, he ran off the field before halftime in his second game and refused to play.  The competitive ass in me could feel the heat building in my gut and cheeks that my son didn't seem to have that fire, but when I asked him why, the first thing he stated was, "Mommy, I'm no good at it."  *Cue choked up tears and feeling like a mommy turd*.  We've had a lot of talks since then, the most constant one being that if you choose to sit out for fear of failure, then you also don't allow yourself the opportunity to succeed and have fun.  It made me think back to many races that I decided not to run for these exact insecurities, although upon making those decisions, I of course didn't admit these reasons to myself at the time.  Logan has now played in the team's two games since that day, and I promised him too that I'd be more aware of why or why not I run races.  Because honestly, if you run a PR or you win a race....or you don't...umm yeah... SO. WHAT. 


One goal I have avoided for years is the half marathon.  I ran a 1:22 in 2015 and have not run once since, and the sad reality is that I've gotten into much better shape in these past six years, so what the hell is wrong with me?  The possibility of NOT running it faster or the risk of getting injured doing one en route to one of my marathons kind of freaked me out.  Isn't that ironic though?  I weenied out of racing a half before my OTQ marathon attempt in 2019, and oh wait, I got injured anyway.  See, I should have taken my own advice to Logan and immersed myself into more races because by not doing so, I deprived myself the opportunity to bust out a fast time and have fun in the process all the while.  Dumbass. 

I actually signed up for a 5K in a few weeks!  Again, after my chats with Logan, that was part of our deal...I'd sign up for a race.  Am I in my best shape?   Sure not!  But ya know what, sometimes when you don't care as much, you surprise yourself, so who knows? 

Mike and I took the boys on a surprise beach weekend a couple of weekends ago, and I decided to throw down a few mile repeats while there on some flat roads.  I surprised myself with 5:54, 5:50, and 5:46. However, I woke up the next morning with a grossly swollen foot.  What?  Previously, I would have freaked out, but I kind of just laughed at myself and was like, yeppppppp, this is 40!  Okay, yeah shut up, you're right, I'm actually 41.  But yeah, I can still run on the foot, but it kinda maybe looks like I stuffed marshmallows under my skin.  Whatever. 




Looking ahead, the Chicago Marathon is on the docket, but I'm calling some possible stink on this race.  Can someone address the fact that they accepted and charged every single person through their lottery on top of all those that deferred from last year (I've read that in a normal year, not even half of the applicants get in)?  While many races are still canceling/postponing/limiting field size, you're telling me that Chicago, a 40,000+ runner world major marathon, is business as usual?  I dunno.  But ahh well.  If I'm being honest, I'm enjoying my 50 miles a week and long runs of no more than 12 miles right now anyway.  

Welp, so what else is going on...

Got me my vaxxxx! ...

...and then looked like this five days after my second dose.  Yep, I was one of those lucky delayed-reaction-face-swells peeps!  And yes, I did just post this picture.  

Just some Salem Lake love.

Cooper just letting everyone know how Mom feels about stuff a lot of the time.

Me, Meg, and Adriana letting everyone know how Mom feels about stuff a lot of the time.


We lost Zoe to bone cancer and gained Piper into our family this year.  I still assert that dogs are the best thing in the entire world.

Just continuing to live the #boymom dream...

Cooper has a girlfriend!

I'm back to in-person group coaching.  Yay, Streakers!

I just like McDonald's fries...

...and cute pictures of my boys with their friends.

Alrighty, off for a 10-miler.  Although it could end up being 8.  Or 6.  Or 11!

Happy FUN. Running!

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

2020

Yesterday, my son's friend told me that my house smelled like cat litter, and my other son told me that my face has lots of "boo-boos".  So, yeah, we don't have a cat, and yeah, those would be zits.

I think these, uh, proclamations are good symbols for my current life (and my guess for yours too?  Cuz let's face it, 2020 is kinda for the birds*).  

*What does that phrase even mean??  I like birds.  I don't like 2020.

Y'all, what the heyull is happening?  People are dying.  People are losing their jobs.  Kids (our future!) are being stunted in every way possible.  Depression and anxiety are at an all-time high.  And yet, everyone is at everyone's throats because our individual pandemic stances are all across the board.  Also, can we just recognize that no matter what your current political beliefs are, arguing about them is not going to change anyone else's beliefs?  Like seriously, for example, here's a convo that would NEVER happen:

Person in favor of gun rights:  "Our rights!  Our protection!  How could you ever want to take guns away?!"
Person in favor of gun control: "Ya know, you're sooo right.  I'm gonna go buy me some right now!"   

So seriously, for the love of humanity, shhhtop it.  Stop fighting and asserting your shhhiznit opinions on everything 2020 related.  You could seriously save a life.  Maybe when/if you're feeling all fired up, consider going out for a run instead; pound that mess out!    

Okay so yeah, running.  Even just saying the word gives me a bigger sense of peace... 

 
Morning fartlek (12 miles w/ 10x half mile at 5K effort/quarter mile at recovery effort in the middle)

Running has taken on a new form for me this year.  I have not run one individual race for obvious pandemic reasons, and I think not having any expectations is just what I needed.  I did recently run a relay... one where each team member chugs a beer and then runs a trail 5K... but I'm not sure if that can really count as a "race".  We did win, however, and took home machetes (like, real ones), but the weekend was more of an escape from reality than anything.


Copperhead Relay

I thought perhaps the relay would excite me on the racing front again, but I'm not gonna lie...it didn't.   Now that races are slowly starting to make a comeback(ish), I've been looking at options, but my heart just isn't totally into it.  My heart is, however, still always into going for my daily runs, but the thought of going hard is, uhh, mehhh.  Like you probably are too, I think I'm just emotionally exhausted.  I'm trying to work and homeschool my first-grader simultaneously, and I therefore know I'm not as good of a coach as I normally am.  Blurghhh, I hate that about myself right now.  Plus, during the week, I can really only get in a quality run on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so that is probably also messing with my confidence on how well I can perform.

I did, however, recently commit to a race in December, and it's kinda a biggie, so I'm hoping the spark will ignite again soon, and hence my fartlek this morning.  I did my first actual timed speed workout last week too to assess my fitness (2miles 11:48, 1mile 5:48, 1200m 4:17, 800m 2:53, 400m 1:23, 2x200m all out), and even though it physically felt smooth, afterwards I was just kinda like...yeahhh, okay, whatever, is it time for a margarita yet??  ...the answer was yes, yes it was.

The race is an invitational elite half marathon, 50 men and 50 women, in which all women will have to have run a 1:24 or better already.  With such a competitive field,  I really want to want to race, if that makes sense, so I'm hopeful as 2020 continues to improve (wait, it is improving, right?  No?  Shit.), the daily grind will become more routine again.  I may also be a bit guarded; having gotten in such great shape before the Indy Marathon just to have it ripped out from underneath me so suddenly may have me a tad anxious to go for something big again.  

So, last year, I met this dude in a gas station when I went across the street from work to get a drink (no, not that kind of drink...I woulda gone to Total Wine for that).  I walked in and busted out laughing when I saw his shirt and then naturally asked if he'd take a pic with me.  I'm pretty sure he thought I was some crazy wackadoodle (he's right), but that's okay because at that moment, he was kind of my hero.  Whether he knew it or not, I do believe he was foreshadowing, as his shirt is clearly a perfect expression for how we all may feel about 2020...



On that note, Happy Fall and Happy Running!  Let's all continue to just do our best, even if our best may be sucktastic right now, and gosh durnnn it people, let's be understanding and nice to each other!  

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Alfredo

At 9:47am today, I cooked chicken and bowtie Alfredo.  Why?  I don't know.  I wanted it.  And let's face it, life is kind of a hot mess right now, no matter what season or stage of life you're in, so why not let yourself have what makes you even the teensiest bit happier?  ...yikes, well ain't that sounding like a slippery slope.  😳
But really, whatever, by 10:34am, I ate a massive bowl, and it was sooo gooooooood.

I shouldn't be blogging right now.  Full disclosure, this is a procrastination tool because I have so many things to do and questions and uncertainties in my brain, and since I can't solve any one of them, what do I do?  Ignore.  Yep, this is not productive or even the slightest bit okay at all, but in my times of feeling overwhelmed, I nSoNgklsnrbkln (<--- got it?  no?  me neither).

I'm going back to work full time next month, even taking on more responsibilities, but my rising first-grader will be home for at least the first five weeks, and he needs homeschooling.  How do I work and homeschool at the same time??  We can hire someone to help, but we shouldn't really be/can't pay for anything more right now, esp. with our three-year-old already in daycare.  And what happens after those first five weeks?  Do we send him back to the proposed anti-social environment for seven hours of mask-wearing each day?  Little kids don't understand, and it almost seems barbaric for them.  Yet, too many people are losing their lives to this virus, so I 100% understand why they need to make these decisions.  But as a mom, my boy may not be losing his physical life, but he is losing his spirit and emotional well-being, and that is killing us in a whole other way.

And I don't meant this to complain.  Really, I don't.  We are healthy.  We have each other.  Running is my sanity.  My family and friends are the best.  ...but damn does it does feel good to vent.  Like I've read before, and I know people don't like hearing it anymore, but...we are all enduring the same storm, just on different boats, and there really are no good solutions right now....

...Except for Alfredo at 9:47am. 😏

Okay, rant over until perhaps 2:42pm today.  

Let's talk about my fave... RUNNING! ...

So yeah, obviously I was in the shape of my life last fall, blah blah, tore my calf, blah blah, picked myself back up to train for an April 26th marathon, blah blah, then Covid canceled that mess, blah blah.  The week before the world closed down in March,  I ran the same tempo run route that I ran before Indy to assess what kind of shape I was in... turns out I was almost back to form with 8@ 6:06 pace in the middle of 16.  I felt confident that with another 6-7 weeks to go before the marathon, I'd be where I wanted to be (in 2:45 shape).  However, once everything started getting canceled, I mentally just said...ENOUGH.  Training for a marathon, while I absolutely love it, is exhausting.  It's an oxymoron almost...I'm f'ing tired, but I CRAVE it.  So, since then, I've come down off my training high, decided to run for sanity and release, and I am 100% okay with this.  I feel extremely fortunate that racing is not just what I crave; it's more the simple feel of the RUN itself.  Pure, innocent, maybe even selfish, joy.

Currently, I'm running about 50-55 miles/avg. per week instead of the 70-75 I was doing in the spring.  I started throwing in some fartleks a couple of weeks ago, not really for speed work per se, but to change up what my legs are doing so they don't get too complacent/lazy.  This morning, I set out for eight recovery-paced miles.  It was humid, I was hurting even at the easier pace, and so I said...why??  I cut it off at six.  On Sunday, I set out for 15 miles, but after one step, I knew it wasn't going to be a good day.  With three miles to go, I jumped in a lake, complete with my sneaks and sunglasses still on, cooled off, then slogged back with annoyingly-squeaky sneaks.  I laughed at myself, and it was glorious!  Point being, if there was ever a time to allow ourselves grace, rest, a chance to reenergize, reevaluate goals and purpose, why would it not be NOW?  Find the joy in what fires you up but let go of the pressure that threatens to put out your flames.  I'm actually encouraging the runners I coach to NOT achieve peak fitness right now; save it for when races are back in their regular capacity (<-- notice that I don't say "normal" ...WTF does that word even mean anyway?!!).  We'll be physically fresher, goal hungry as hell, and we can actually put it to use again.

Happy Running!

Thursday, February 27, 2020

The NoTQ: Thoughts from a 2:45+

This weekend, I will be in Atlanta for the 2020 USA Olympic Marathon Trials. Last week, I told a good friend of mine that I was making the trek down, to which she replied, "Jen, are you okay??" Some may look at my going to Atlanta as self-destructive behavior...Like, running in this race was your dream that failed to come to fruition, so why would you put yourself through just watching it??

Here's the thing though...I'm more than okay.  I'm FREAKING FANTASTIC.

"Life doesn't guarantee that hard work will equal victory. I do the work because I want to see the best that's within me. I'm humbled by where my work has taken me. I'm humbled and I'm grateful. My hope and prayer for each of you is that you choose a healthy path, dig in when it gets hard, and scream and shout when it all pays off." - Jenny Simpson

Jenny (Barringer) Simpson is a 1500-meter world champion and former American record holder in the 3000-meter steeplechase.  She's also a runner I've followed since her high school career, as I was always enamored by the genuine excitement she'd exude upon crossing a finish line.  She oozed passion for the sport and still does to this day.  So, the fact that 1) I met her a couple of weeks ago, and 2) this quote of hers happened to appear in my Facebook feed the following week, struck me as a sign and delivered an epiphany...

Just because I (and many other men and women for that matter) did not qualify for this ONE day, doesn't mean that we're not capable.  Circumstances change... i.e. injury, weather, illness.  Amy Cragg, who won the 2016 Trials and went on to finish 9th in the 2016 Rio Olympics, is no longer competing this weekend after battling mono and fatigue.  Does that suck?  Sure does.  But does it mean that she wouldn't have gone on to finish in the top three and therefore head to her second straight Olympic marathon?  Nope.  Not at all.

So this is what helps me get by... knowing that I was (and still am!) more than capable.  Just because I'm not competing on this one day this weekend doesn't mean that I couldn't have been.  I know I was ready.  And I'm more than okay with that now.

Obtaining my "NoTQ", as I've joked about now for weeks (if you're not following, that's a No OTQ), has taught me a lot about myself...  

* It's taught me how strong my passion for this sport truly is.  Just because I didn't hit the time standard doesn't make me want to go back out there and run any less.  I'm appreciative to enjoy the process more than the actual competition, as I think it would be a lot harder if it were the other way around.

* It's taught me that allowing myself more flexibility instead of a rigid training regimen can actually yield the same, if not better, results.  After taking time off to allow my calf to heal, I started running again for about 5-6 weeks before I was set to run on a marathon relay team.  Without a ton of training, I assumed I would, well, suck, but I surprised myself in performing and feeling much better than anticipated.  Honestly?  The fun environment and low expectation mindset was HUGE.  Since then, I've made up my workouts as I go, and I don't plan to be "rigid" again anytime soon.

* It's taught me...and hopefully my kids...that "failure" can actually equate to success sometimes.  After all, the best view typically comes after the hardest climb!

The best relay team in the world after winning the Valentine's Massacre Marathon Relay!


Jenny and I at the Camel City Elite meet in Winston-Salem.  She won the 3,000 meters in a new flat track world record of 8:51.

So yes, this weekend, I'm heading to Atlanta as an excited running junkie that has even entered a Trials fantasy marathon competition (and yes, I want to win that sucker...don't worry, I have not lost my competitive juices ;)).  I'm going with two other gal pals, who are also in the same boat...they're more than capable of having run 2:45, but circumstances steered them onto a different path.  For now...    

Yes, for now...  So when the circumstances actually have it that it's my day, like Jenny always does at the end of her races, I will 100% scream and shout as I watch and feel it all pay off.

Best of luck to all racing this weekend! 

Elle (whose day is also coming) and I, here with Paul Chelimo (Olympic silver medalist in the 5,000 meters) will be cheering BIG for this gal here on the right.  Adriana, go get 'em, girl!  

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Unbroken

After Indy and then realizing I wouldn't able to take another stab at an OTQ in Houston, I felt a little lost.  Yes, I accepted where I was, but it was kind of like, WAIT...did that actually just happen?  I trained how much?  But I don't have any race results to show for it?  Hrmpffff.  The best way to describe how I felt was embarrassed at myself and, well, broken.

I ended up taking three full weeks off from running.  I was good about cross-training for five days until I then became really bad about cross-training for 16 days.  I was bored.  I was resentful.  I wanted to get away from it.  So I did.

Luckily, it was a distraction-full time of year with Logan's birthday, Christmas, holiday shindigs, and New Year's.  I also started waking up at 4:30am each day to have some calm solo time spent guzzling coffee and watching Hallmark movies before the daily tornado started.  I drank a lot of wine, ate a lot of sh*t, didn't think about racing, and you know what? ...I enjoyed every freaking second of it. 

My first run back was three miles.  I wondered if some of the discomfort still in my calf was the tear not being fully healed or just scar tissue messing with me, so I took it really easy for a couple of weeks and continued with ART and laser therapy all the while. (Digression Alert! --->)  Don't ya wish our bodies came with zippers sometimes so that we could just take a peek and know stuff for sure??  So yeah, here I am, five-ish weeks later, pain-free, having hit a 60-mile week last week, and looking ahead...

For so long, I was dedicated to ONE goal.  ...one freaking deadline goal that saw me document every training day in nerd-like fashion, hammer numerous workouts solo for fear of getting off pace if I did them with others, and (Irony Alert! --->) skip even the thought of doing any other races for fear. of. injury.

Since being back running again, I haven't written any runs down, I've hardly run solo, and I've signed up for five races in 2020 already.  I'm having fun.  Maybe I'm being a little bit of a jacka$$ too, but (Oxymoron Alert! --->) a smart jacka$$ nonetheless.  Don't get me wrong, I love training hard (seriously, like 1000x more than the racing part), and I really loved training towards the OTQ, but there is so much more to love about running.  Having been so laser-focused on that one goal, I now want to experience it ALL.  I'd like to target PRs in other distances, and yes, I'll still plan to run at least one marathon this year but with no time goal in mind other than racing the sh*t out of it.  I qualified for the masters-high-performance-American Development-Program at Chicago, or as I like to call it, the f'ing old hag ADP division, so I may end up there.  And yes, I'm officially a master this year.  What?  Shut up.

Last weekend, I did my first true speedy anything since before Indy... a 3-mile tempo within an 11-mile run.  I averaged 6:04 pace, which I'm happy with, even though I felt like my lungs were seriously going to collapse.  Before Indy, I did this same 3-miler twice in the middle of a 16-mile run at 5:57 average, feeling like I could have kept going forever.  So, yeah, my fitness has a ways to come back yet, but it felt awesome, I feel happy, I feel alive, and I feel, well, unbroken in so many ways.  


Onward!