Once upon a time I was a fast running chick. It’s hard to believe that just a year ago I was 38th overall female at the Boston marathon. It’s hard to believe that in 2011 I ran a 2:52 marathon on less than ideal training with a bum foot and calf. It feels like I am worlds away from that stars-aligned moment in 2010 when I ran 2:49:53 and came in 2nd place at a large marathon. Where on earth is that runner chick now?
I’ve often thought about what running will be once there aren’t PRs to chase anymore. I run with a lot of masters, and for some it seems they just keep running, but there’s no passion it it anymore. For some it seems like the equivalent of taking a daily vitamin or watching the news. You always did it, so you keep doing it. Some don’t even lace up to race anymore. The runs are often accompanied by tales of the “good old days” and the many times they chased after that goal time that they just never reached. It has always struck me as sad. And I was very scared of becoming that runner, and even thought that by taking my running to the level I had, I was doomed to become that runner. Reach for the stars, and well, eventually you have to come back to the ground.
If you had told me a year ago I would be cycling more than running, and actually enjoying it, I would have told you that you were nuts. Nothing was going to keep me from climbing back up to those stars. But for whatever reason, right now, the wannabe elite runner is in the background. She’s in there somewhere for sure, I saw glimpses of her at a duathlon a few weeks ago. She certainly was there when I paced a friend at a 10 miler a few weeks after (otherwise given my training there’s no way I would have kept up the pace!). It seems you can’t take the racing runner out of me so easily, despite the lack of training. But for now the racing runner is content to sit in the background. Content to let goals sit on the shelf for awhile. Content to ponder running in a different light.
I feel no need to join my old lunch run crew just because it is what I always did. On the rare occasion that I do join now, it’s because I miss the route, or the friends, or need to escape the office and feel the sun. It isn’t to meet some target mileage, but just because I want to. Odd how those runs don’t seem so soul-sucking now as they did before.
I’m not sure what my running future holds: visions of triathlons, duathlons, ultras, and even another go at the marathon OTQ all dance in my head. But other goals are moving to the forefront: becoming a mother; golfing with loved ones; cycling across the country; hiking the Appalachian trail; picking the saxophone back up; going to concerts; and trying out mountain biking. Whatever my future holds, it’s nice to know that right here right now, I don’t look back with regrets on the running I have done, and I still enjoy running, just for the sake of it. But once upon a time I was a fast running chick. Perhaps I will be again.