Hello everyone. It’s been a while. After a long break and time away following a disappointing marathon in Houston, I started training and racing again. I seriously contemplated competitive retirement, but couldn’t make the final decision. I thought I might find clarity through racing, so I ran a few races between March and May 2018. Read more >>
Runners are creatures of habit. We run our same routes over and over, stick to our training styles and hate having our routines disrupted. But those routines can be upended by a few things: work, family schedules, illness, injury, pregnancy.
If we’re being honest, many of us would admit we ask ourselves how any of those changes will impact our running. Including me. Two months ago, I was that person. Only this time, it was two of those factors: returning to running post-injury while pregnant.
Recently, finally, I was cruising up a hill in the park, cool drizzle misting my face, when I noticed the muscles in my face working in an unaccustomed way: I was smiling. Beaming, in fact. My legs turned over faster and faster as I crested the hill and threw my head back. “I want to train, dammit!” I shouted to the damp, empty park. I raised my fist to the heavens, rain pelting my cheeks and mixing with the sweat and salt. “I want to traaaaain!”
It was an epic moment of triumphant release.
And it came crashing down like an ice bath dropped on me from five stories up when I got down to the business of actually training. Read more >>
An extremely low-key Tuesday night rust-buster type race, this 5k was the ideal comeback. Plus, it was hosted by NOVA, the club I used to run with while living in northern Virginia. My husband had a work trip to DC for a few days, so the kids and I tagged along to play tourist and take advantage of the free hotel room; perfect conditions for me to stage a comeback! I have been desperate to start racing again, but races are few and far between in the hot North Carolina summer, so I was very excited to take advantage of the opportunity! Read more >>
The first time I heard the term “fartlek” was when a college coach called me during the recruiting process my senior year of high school. To be honest, at that time I was a typical high school girl and that word made me giggle. I probably thought, Fartlek? What a stupid sounding workout. Why not just do some intervals on the track?
Now I know so much better. The workout with the stupid sounding name is a valuable one to have in the training arsenal for all runners, no matter your level. Read more >>
A year ago, I couldn’t walk without crutches, couldn’t reach my feet to tie my shoes.
Today, I laced up and ran a marathon.
Eight months ago, I could barely run for 20 seconds at a time. My hip felt awkward and clumsy, as if all my veteran running muscles had abandoned me and left me with clueless glutes and quads. You want us to do what? Sorry, what does R-U-N spell, again?
Back then, I remember telling myself to just do the work in front of me and trust the process. Back then, the work was a Couch to 5k. I tried not to judge myself for how hard it felt. I tried to take the next step, whatever it might be, and accept where I was.
For eight months, I took step after step until the next step landed me on the starting line of the Kenai River Marathon. There were so many times in the past year that I doubted myself, doubted the process, doubted I’d make it to the start, much less the finish. I’m still in jaw-dropping disbelief at what I asked my body to do today, and that it answered with a heart pounding YES. Read more >>
I raced a 5k last Sunday, two years since my last solid race, two years since I felt strong and capable and fit, two years since a race was exhilarating rather than inspiring mixed emotions. During these years, my attitude has ranged from hating running, to missing running desperately, to complete indifference.
Many of my friends and family don’t understand why I care so much about running or even why I run so much. Running for me has always been an outlet, a place to feel powerful when I often feel powerless, a way to channel all the excess energy I have and to unravel the balls of creativity tangled up in my brain. This was especially true after I left my job as an attorney, turning my back on all that I accomplished in law school and in my career. I became a stay-at-home parent to my infant son seven years ago now. In those early days, I may have been shell-shocked at how not intellectually stimulating the job of SAHM was. I ran with my son daily, sometimes twice a day. I ran 60, 70, 80 miles a week training for a marathon.
Then I had another baby and running was the only thing that gave me relief from the crush of post-partum depression. After my second child, I dug in and ran more and more and more and faster and faster and faster. I ran most of my life-time bests around a year after her birth.
I swear, this will make sense. Read more >>
When you fall off a horse in riding, the best thing you can do is get back on and ride again. It helps you overcome your fear of falling again.
Is the same true for running? Returning to running after a layoff, especially one related to injury, can be tricky. Two things typically happen. You’re either mentally raring to go, but your body takes longer to respond. Or, you’re physically ready to resume running, but mentally are scared or unsure.
That sage advice “Listen to Your Body” confuses matters even more; running is work and can make you uncomfortable, especially when you’re out of shape and getting back into it. How do you know if that discomfort is good for you, rebuilding your fitness, or if that discomfort is causing or prolonging your injury?
And after that injury is healed and you’re cleared to run, you may be scared. How do you know you won’t become injured again? Even though your body isn’t showing any signs of injury, what if you cause the exact same thing to happen again? Or maybe you’ve settled into a new, runningless routine and are hesitant to risk the disappointment again?
My advice: take a deep breath and climb back on that horse. Read more >>
The analogies are endless.
Just as a purple bruise initially hurts and then turns a healing yellow, so too does a running injury.
Just as a cut initially burns but then begins to close up, so too does a running injury.
Just as the storm comes before a rainbow, so too is the process of a running injury.
Just as we may fall down mentally and emotionally, a painful experience often means we are on our way to a breakthrough. Again, the same can be said for a running injury.
But quite possibly the best analogy in such a situation is that of our tendencies to be helicopter parents to our recovering bodies. Stop it, NOW! Read more >>
Why do I do this to myself?
I don’t think I know a single runner who hasn’t asked herself this question at some point during her running career. For all the post-PR elation and the super fun group runs, there are many low points during training and racing that make us question our sanity for choosing to allocate our precious time to the endeavor of getting faster.
I am most definitely one of those people. Even I, the founder and editor-in-chief of this very site dedicated to all things competitive women’s running, sometimes find myself wondering why is it that I do this to myself. In fact, I recently went through what I call my running existential crisis, during which I struggled with this question for an entire year.
I want to share my story with you and I’d love to hear how you answer this question for yourself.
Why do I do this to myself?
Baby JB is almost 12 weeks old!
And I’m nearly 8 weeks into my new phase of running. I had a pleasant, “medically boring” pregnancy, running through 35 weeks, but initial recovery from birth was not quite a cakewalk. After a marathon 53-hour labor, I had some significant wounds that made just about everything other than eating quite painful, even requiring my re-admission to the hospital. But as they say, time heals and two weeks later I was itching to get moving again.
I’m not always known for smart training decisions, but once that urge hit, I made myself wait another three days. If I felt good enough to walk for each of those three days, I rationalized, then the feeling was true. Finally I climbed on the treadmill and set the pace to 3.0 mph (20:00/mi pace) expecting to jack up the pace quickly. I was ready, right? Read more >>
If you’ve been following along with my comeback from having baby #3, at this point you might be wondering what the heck happened to me. I was updating my logs and then I stopped. I alluded to an injury, but never explained what it was. Today I am going to fill you in.
Comebacks are not always linear. There are often ups and downs. Setbacks happen and then are followed by mini comebacks within the big comeback.
I guess you could call this a setback. Read more >>
Imagine attempting to climb Mount Everest. Imagine the effort it takes to climb 20 feet, 50 feet, 100 feet. Imagine what it must be like to dodge falling rocks and nearly careen off the side. Imagine making it half-way to your goal, the summit, only to fall off. You take a rest, get yourself together and start back up. On one hand, you’re happy to be back on the mountainside. Other the other, that summit suddenly feels higher than ever. Hopelessness is a natural emotion in this circumstance.
Of course, this is a metaphor for a running comeback and the hopelessness that often sets in early in the process. And believe me. I know how it feels. Read more >>
We’re back with Part II of our Comeback Series. Today we’re discussing the very unsexy topic of patience.
Each [comeback] is like a race. Start off too fast by doing too much and you are likely to bonk.
This is some kickass comeback advice. When we we’re stuck in a lay-off, we miss what we were doing when we left off. We miss the runners we were before whatever it was forced us to take a break. When we finally are able to get back in the saddle, we’re itching to get back to where we left off, to who we were when we left off. But now we and our running are different. I know. I’ve been there.
As you all know by now, I am coming back to training after my third baby in 4 years. This is the third time that I took a long break, gained a lot of weight, got out of shape, lost a lot of weight and worked hard to get back into shape. Comebacks are becoming my thing.
In a lot of ways, comebacks are awesome. After taking time off, most likely forced by injury, pregnancy or life, it can be exhilarating to get back to training and watch yourself quickly get back to shape. On the other hand, comebacks can be frustrating. Fitness might not return as quickly as you hope. Much worse, if a comeback isn’t handled properly, things can go very awry very quickly. Combine the eagerness to get back to it with a body perhaps not as strong as it was when you left off and many of us comebackers are set up for setbacks.
That’s why I’m bringing you this series of posts. Together, we will discuss how to successfully comeback after a layoff. I’ll bring you tips and insights that will minimize the bumps along the road and maximize the liklehood you’ll comeback stronger and faster than ever! Read more >>
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