New to the blog? Wednesday is a day that, like Saturday to my people, I reserve for reflection. This week, I am running for the finish line.
Not that finish line though (and definitely not with that seriously uglygrimace).
In a lot of ways, it feels as though just getting to this much-anticipated race — to the Philly Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon on September 16th — will be like crossing a finish line in itself.
When I signed up for the race, I was beyond stoked. Delicious fall air; a new, rumored-to-be flat course; a partner in crime (as I’ll be running the race with my cousin, Dori). What’s not to love about everything represented by this mid-September event?
As I began to train, everything was coming up Stacy. One awesome run turned into another, including an impromptu 11-miler by Noah’s side on a lovely weekend morning. I felt like I was on top of the world. I felt like I could run forever, everyday, every second.
That’s when I naturally got injured.
Half-marathon training is, in my opinion, one of the best distances to train for (long-but-not-too-long weekend runs followed by bigass boozy brunches? yes, please!). And the fact that I had crushed 11 miles around the tip of Manhattan — at a somewhat comparable pace as my 6’1 manfriend — instilled me with a sense of confidence like never before.
Whereas the first time I trained for a half marathon (not much longer than a year ago) I felt nervous and unsure, after 3 halves (including one in blizzard-like conditions and another with an additional 2 miles and on a wretchedly sunny day), I felt that I was going in to the Philly Rock ‘n’ Roll Half with an incredibly satisfying sense of confidence. I was ready to go out there and have the best time ever only moments after I had clicked “submit” on the sign-up page. I wanted to glitter, and I wanted to do so by my cousin’s side wearing something ridiculously neon.
While this injury has sucked all of the fun out of half marathon training, I must admit, I also know that this entire ordeal is simply another hurdle in, what I hope, is a lifetime of running to come. I thought I’d cruise through the training process without having so much as to think about when to run how far and how fast; instead, thinking is all I’ve done.
With less than 2 weeks to go until the Philly Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon — my 4th one to date in only 1 year and 2 month’s time — I am starting to feel that sense of excitement that continues to draw me back to the starting line time and again. On Tuesday morning, I ran 3 tired, slow, post-4-day-vacation miles around my neighborhood along a route that’s become my go-to while getting back into the swing of things, enjoying the falling leaves and post-rain puddles while hopping from urban park to urban park.
Despite how difficult it was to rest my leg for 2 weeks, to return to running while only able to complete 1/2-milers at a time, and to spend the last 3 weeks of my “training” period lacing up my sneakers only — and very strictly — every other day, the fact that I’ve been able to do so and to say that, at least right now, I feel no pain, makes me feel as though, if I can make it to the corrals on Sunday morning 2 weeks from now, I’ll have already accomplished far more than I ever thought I could. Like a true training plan, the last month has very much been both a physical and mental test in itself.
Maybe the finish line isn’t always at the end of the race after all.
Have you ever experienced an injury that muddled your training program?