My Running/Racing Plans: What’s Next?

I’ve had a busy year of running and racing.

In January, I was determined to get back my speed. Doing two full marathons (the Richmond Marathon in fall 2013 and the LA Marathon in spring 2014) had given me a lot of endurance awesomeness, but not a lot of pep in my step, and I wanted it back. I was over 26.2 for the time being and wanted to work on shorter, faster running again.

So, in the new year I joined an in-person coached track group that met twice a week and started focusing on speed again. It was fun to work on speed after having my sights set only on distance for so long, and even though getting up for dark, freezing, and occasionally snowy track workouts wasn’t easy, it felt good to challenge myself.

By spring, I started racing again. I ran the Rock ‘n’ Roll DC Half Marathon in March with friends just for fun, and then raced the Cherry Blossom 10(ish) Miler and the GW Parkway Classic 10 Miler, both in April. The Cherry Blossom 10 Miler would have been a new PR if the course had been correct (it was short due to an accident). The GW Parkway Classic wasn’t a PR but was very close. I was feeling good – my efforts were paying off and I was just about back to my pre-marathon speeds.

I continued training and raced the Seattle Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon in June, not setting a new PR but still rocking the super hilly course. Next up was the Beach to Beacon 10k in August, where I finally got a PR. In September, I set another new 10k PR at the Clarendon Day 10k. Last on my list this year for races was the Nike Women’s Half Marathon earlier this month. My goal for that one? Run at an easy pace, enjoy the views. I’d done enough racing and I knew it would be hilly – it was time to relax and take it all in.

I love racing – I love the challenge, I love the excitement of the crowds, I love the feeling of crossing the finish line totally spent (or not, depending on the race – but either way with a big smile). Even just looking at all these photos makes me realize, wow, what a fun year of racing I’ve had – so many cool opportunities and adventures! But you know what? I’m also kind of tired, unsurprisingly.

I’ve spent basically 10 months getting up early for track workouts, doing long runs, and racing. The Nike Women’s Half Marathon was the last one on my list this year, and now I’m left thinking: what’s next?

Well, while I love running, I’m officially sick of “training.”

I think it’s time to get back to running just for fun again. It’s been awesome to push it on pace again and see what I can do, and I’m sure I’ll want to do that again in the future, but I’m ready to take a breather on official “training” for a little while.

I’ve been torn on quitting my track group or not because I know I’ll miss my track buddies, and I don’t want to lose the speed I’ve gained, but I think it’s time for a break and for more runs that don’t involve me running in circles around a track. I’m tired of having such a rigid schedule and ready to do more “just for fun” and flexible runs again. I am also looking forward to not having the obligation to get in a long run every week anymore. It’s funny because I was all “oh, I’m so over having to do long runs all the time,” and then I went out and ran 9.3 miles “just for fun” on Saturday. Isn’t it ironic how sometimes just removing the obligation means you want to do it again?

So – the running news is basically no news! Unless some sort of epic opportunity pops up that I can’t say no to, I’m planning on taking a breather from official training for a little while and just running when I feel like it. 🙂 I’m looking forward to rediscovering the joy in running, to enjoying the beautiful fall running weather, and to getting to more yoga classes and boot camps, too.

I met my friend Karen for a run yesterday as day 1 of my new “I can do whatever I feel like, but I actually do feel like running and will probably run more now that I don’t have to” plan. Karen and I used to run together all the time but got out of the habit a couple years ago when she was injured, and started doing classes together instead. Classes are fun, but running together is soooo much better. I’d missed it! Can’t believe we hadn’t done this in so long.

We had the best run chatting away nonstop. I love the undivided time to talk that running with a friend gives – can’t be beat. <3

We ended up covering 5 miles at a good clip, too (~8:30 average pace) – all that talking distracted us quite nicely!

Karen and I decided we’re going to start doing a weekly run date again and I’m already excited about it. Here’s to running happy, my friends!

What are your running/racing plans for the rest of the year/next year? I’ll probably have a couple months of chilling and then be itching to train again, knowing myself, but we’ll see… 🙂

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