“How do you fit it all in?” I’m entering the time of year where I ask myself that question a lot. Despite an increasingly full calendar and traveling for work, I got a pretty solid two weeks of training under my belt, as I recovered from the Papa John’s 10 Miler and started gearing back up for my April half marathon.
Southern transplant who loves 90s boy bands, outdoor adventures and college basketball, although not necessarily in that order. Recovering running perfectionist.
Having been out from racing for a while, I had no idea what to expect last weekend when I ran my first real race in a long time, the Papa John’s 10 Miler. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing! Having no idea of what to expect, I felt completely free of expectations.
I have only raced the 10 mile distance three other times, with two of those being this race, in 2009 and 2012. As Chicory has mentioned, this race is the final leg of the Louisville Triple Crown of Running, so it’s a bit of a local fixture which makes for a fun day. Having run it before had the double benefit of not putting a lot of pressure on a clock time, while still being semi-familiar with the course. One thing I definitely remembered was to leave a little reserve for a hilly section through Iroquois Park.
So I ran a 10 mile race last weekend! Before we get to that, I thought it might be good to give y’all a sense of what I’ve been up to, and not just in the big picture, existential life updates kinda way, but really, truly what’s been going on with my training. Let’s dive right in, shall we? Read more >>
Sass: Hi friend! Welcome back! We first met around the time that you were doing your first marathon, back in 2012. Since then you have done everything from 5Ks to 100 milers to stage races. How would you describe your runner identity now, in three words?
Cilantro: Ultrarunner for Social Justice (oof, four words, can the “for” not count?). The older I get and the more I learn, I can’t separate who I am as a runner from who I am as a person. That’s why I still want to run across America to raise awareness of gender violence and open the discourse regarding prevention. Running empowered and empowers me, and I believe it has that same power for good to help others, and I want to start paying it forward, whether that’s through my own efforts or by bringing running in an accessible way to others.
Is this thing on? It’s been a minute since I’ve blogged. Er, actually, about five years. If you remember me from before: congrats! You are a true Salty Running devotee. If you don’t, that’s okay. My MO was pretty straightforward, maybe even trite: qualify for Boston, but ya know, keep it balanced. I felt like I had a good perspective.
Running is only a part of my life, not my whole life, she wrote, presciently.
Even after I left the Salty-verse, again and again, Boston was my goal. If you don’t do that, at least PR. If you don’t do that, why show up? I shaved some time off my 26.2 mile journeys. I teetered on the right side of overtraining. It was working.
Balance is a funny thing.
And then it wasn’t. First I bonked a race, hard, then I dropped out of another due to heat and a cranky hip. I didn’t even start another. I did run the Flying Pig Marathon in Spring ‘16, but DNFed again that fall, and then again last spring. If you are keeping track, that would be a DNS and three DNFs. That last one really stung because I felt like it would be a big one. I had hired a coach and was nailing my workouts. I wasn’t going to qualify, but I had a solid time in me.
Sometimes running is just a thing, and sometimes it seems like the only thing.
What was going on with me? The truth is, I had crossed over to the wrong side of the edge and a lot of things in my life were going wrong. People had cancer. My dog was really sick and we weren’t sure why. My career was a mess. Why couldn’t running be what went right?
Sometimes, you don’t realize that running has become your only thing.
Last spring, everything changed. I got a new job. Actually, The Job. Pretty darn close to my dream job, only there are neither puppies nor free ice cream. Slowly, and then all at once, something shifted in how I thought of running.
Just a few weeks into the job, I decided to downgrade my fall marathon to a half. Life needed to come first. This was a big career change for me, and I wanted to be sure to get it right from the outset. That meant passing on the stress and struggle of marathon training while I got settled; I didn’t want to ever say no to an opportunity because of a run.
A few weeks after that, I was t-boned while driving home. I was mostly okay – just some cuts and bruises – but my car was not. After taking ten days off and still feeling pretty shaken, my goals for my annual Fourth of July 10K were completely different. Nothing like your car doing a 180 to change the way you look at things. It was my slowest 10K ever, but who cares?
Throughout the summer and into the fall, I kept missing runs after having to move them around several times. Before, going for a run was a top priority because it provided stress relief, an escape, a bright spot in my days coping with a job I had outgrown, among other Big Problems. But now I don’t ever want my job to be the thing to give.
Finding balance takes practice.
What I envisioned as a fast fall half turned into an easy run alongside a dear friend, our only goal to run the whole way and to spend a fun weekend together. Check and check! I felt spent after and pulled out of the half I’d planned a few weeks later. I needed a break. I wanted running to be fun and not a to-do list item.
Y’all, I needed to hit reset on my relationship with running.
So I ran when I wanted to and slept in if I wanted to. I went to cat yoga (twice, actually!) and also normal human yoga. I listened to what my body wanted. Then, one day, as they do, a Facebook memory sparked something in me when it popped up. It was a photo from the 2012 Monumental Marathon.
And I’ll admit, my first thought was how good I looked. But what really hooked me was how happy and fit I seemed. I remembered the race and how so many things had gone wrong, from missed connections to a dead iPod to hail (HAIL!), and how I shrugged my shoulders and said, “Eh, I’ve got this.” And I did. I was well trained but not overly so. I wanted a certain time, but it wasn’t the end of the world when I didn’t get it. It was the last race I could remember that seemed like I’d had it truly right, and I wanted that again.
I’ve struggled to explain this to some people, because I had PRs after that. As if they want me to put a clock time to this easy way of being that I’m after. But I can’t, because there isn’t one. It isn’t about time.
It’s about attitude. It’s about balance.
So that’s the story of how, in the past year, I have reclaimed my time and redefined my relationship with running. And really, truly made balance A Thing I Do. I’m not just paying it lip service or doing it just enough to come back from injury. Balance is now firmly ensconced in my being. I go to yoga 1-2 times a week. I row 1,000 meters and track my progress. I lift weights. I have some races on the calendar, but I’m keeping it wide angle and making a long slow build.
I can’t prescribe a formula for how to get there. I certainly wouldn’t recommend the path I took.
It’s easy to say you want balance when you have it, but you don’t really appreciate it until you’ve been knocked off kilter.
Finding balance takes practice. It is my practice to find it.
Well, hello there, Salties! It’s been a busy week for Salty Running. We introduced you to Catnip, talked about the importance of warm ups – just as the weather is warming up – and our blogging sisters, Salty and Cinnamon, both kicked butt at a 10 miler last weekend.
Time sure flies, huh? It’s hard to believe it’s already the first Saturday in May, which to this Kentucky gal only means one thing: the Run for the Roses, aka the Kentucky Derby! Speaking of such things, we had a bit of a horse race in the contest for Comment of Week. Find out who finished by a nose after the jump! Read more >>
I will toe the line this weekend in my seventh marathon, and here’s hoping that seven is a lucky number that day! For this is the day that I go after one of my “big G” Goals: qualifying for my first Boston Marathon.
Basil recently wrote about getting through the no-man’s land of marathon training, and it’s been a long 18 week training cycle. However, that’s only at first glance; 18 weeks doesn’t quite do this one justice. Not only was there this snow- and ice-filled training cycle, but the one before that, and the one before that… You get the idea. And finally here I stand on what is – hopefully – the final step of my marathon of a journey.
So how do you see the forest for the trees when it comes to chasing a big goal?
Another week bites the dust! Things got back to normal here at Salty Running this week after Monday’s championship round of the Greatest Women’s Blog Tournament. Not only were our spicy collection of bloggers racking up those miles, they were bringing you some great posts! And you know, they weren’t they only ones bringing it. Every week our commenters add a little something something to the site with their experiences and insights. This week was no different – find out who won Comment of the Week after the jump!
Read more >>
Can you feel the excitement in the air? It’s madness, baby… March Madness! The basketball tournament is this Salty blogger’s favorite time of the year, and I’ve been glued to the games, sports talk radio, analysis – you name it. Even if you’re not into hoops hoopla like I am, we know you’re probably getting pumped up for the Salty Running Greatest Women’s Running Blog tournament. Round One is in the books, so be sure to come back next week to see who advanced and vote in Round Two of the competition.
In other Salty news, we’re all rooting for Cilantro as she tackles her first 100K today. Gooo, Cilantro! Trust your training, girl – you’re gonna kill it!
Which comment finished atop the rankings to win Comment of the Week? Find out after the jump!
Read more >>
We’re down to our final region of the first round – the Blue Division! This Division has the usual range of super popular blogs to a few diamonds in the rough. We have moms, more Olympic Trials qualifiers and this competition’s only ultra girl (what’s up with that? Ultra girls too busy running a bazillion miles a week to blog, we guess!) No matter which blog you vote for, we know it’s gonna be a good one.
Happy voting! Read more >>
In the third set of Round 1 match ups for the Greatest Women’s Running Blog of All Time, we have the Green Division. The eight blogs in this region range from incredibly popular to incredibly fast to incredibly passionate about the sport. This division has fewer flashy graphics than others, but they prove the old adage that content is king.
Which ones will make it past the first round of competition? You decide!
Next up in the quest for the Greatest Women’s Running Blog of All Time, we turn to the Red Division. The eight blogs in this region bring some formidable chops to the table. They’ve got strong opinions, passion, wit… baby, they’ve got it all. The Red Division boasts some OTQs and some of the most popular running blogs in the tourney. These bloggers may be spread out across the country, from New York City to Michigan to Minnesota, but all of them love running.
Which ones will make it past the first round of competition? You decide!
To kick off our search for the Greatest Women’s Running Blog of All Time, we head to the Yellow Division. The eight blogs in this region are all strong contenders as far as being great reads full of inspiration, humor and keeping it real. This region spans all parts of the country, paces and a few age groups. The blogs range from super-duper popular to hidden gems and the bloggers range from Olympic Marathon Trials qualifiers to middle of the packers. Which ones will survive the first round of match ups? You decide!
Why hello out there, Salty readers! I am sitting here watching the snow absolutely pour down on a rare snow day from work for me. Time to catch you up on what’s been going on with my training over the past two weeks.
Week of 2.17.14 – 2.23.14
When last I left you, I had a sprained ligament in my foot that I was babying. It was definitely on the mend, though, so my strategy for this week was to not only take it day by day, but to just take each run mile by mile. In other words, I’d plan enough time for the full run as written, but could bail at any time if I started experiencing issues with my foot.
Monday – 7 miles @ 9:45 pace. I ran with my iPod on this run, but with the volume cranked way down so I could really focus on what was going on with my foot. The verdict – I did it! 7 miles!
Tuesday – 8 miles @ 10:02 pace
Wednesday – Planned rest day. I sometimes go to yoga on Wednesdays, but the thought of doing a downward facing dog with top of my foot still so bruised was pretty off-putting.
Thursday – So now came the real test – could my foot handle speed? This interval workout was originally scheduled for Tuesday, but I flipped the days to give my bruised and battered ligament a few more days to heal up before trying out any kind of speedster moves. My schedule called for 4 mile repeats with an 800 meter rest; the 1600s should be at 7:26. We’ll call this run a gritty win… or keeping with the test theme, a B-. I knew the 7:26 was ambitious even on a good day, so I am okay with not hitting pace and even more okay with making it through this workout! Fastest mile was 7:52. 7 miles total for the day.
Friday – 8 miles at 9:42 pace. Friday runs are one of my favorites of the week. I typically have further to run than my friend A, so I will run from my house to hers, get in few miles with her (and sometimes her dog), then run home. It’s a great way to mix it up and I get a nice visit in as a bonus! Since I had 8 today, I was even able to grab my dog for the last stretch. Not the speediest, but it’s a fun, fulfilling way to head into the weekend.
Saturday – 20 miles on tap. I was a little – well, more than a little – nervous about this one. Plus my running buddy was battling hamstring issues, so we were basically a mess! I managed 20 miles in 9:20 pace. The run had its ugly moments – around the mile 14 mark and again at the end – and I got a little testy, but ya know, I did it! And I thank the weather gods that despite a pretty miserable winter, both of my 20 milers so far have been on relatively nice days. I rewarded myself with some scrambled eggs and biscuits afterwards in good company.
Sunday – Rest. I knew I should cross train, but I was still feeling nervous about yoga and just couldn’t fit a trip to the gym in.
Total – 50 miles
Week of 2.24.14 – 3.2.14
If last week was about baby stepping and proving that I could handle the mileage, this week was about getting my paces (mostly) where they should be.
Monday – 9 miles at 9:13 pace. Last half mile with my dog – a recurring theme lately! It’s just enough to make her happy and keep her in running shape, but not enough to drive me batty with her need to stop and sniff everything.
Tuesday – Tempo Tuesday! My plan called for 8 miles with the middle 6 at 8:04 pace. I managed an 8:21 average for the mid-6, with my fastest at 8:15.
Wednesday – Planned rest day, which worked out well since we got quite a bit of snow Tuesday night!
Thursday – 10 miles at 9:38 pace. A little slower than I’d like, but a really good run overall. I felt like I honed my mental toughness on this one! The second half was faster than the first, and my pup joined me for the last half mile. My prize for getting this guy in before work and waking up at 4- something? A fancy coffee from Starbucks, baby.
Friday – Another typical Friday run to my friend’s house, a few miles with her and back. This was my only (human) company of the week so far, so it made this run extra fun… and took some of the sting out of the “feels like” 2 degree temps! 9 miles @ 9:16 pace.
Saturday – 16 miles @ 9:06 pace on a cool, overcast morning. I felt much stronger than last week’s long run.
Sunday – Yoga! I made it to the Healthy Backs class that I love so much. It’s not a super active yoga class, but focuses a lot on holding poses and strengthening the core.
Total – 52 miles, 1 hour 15 minutes yoga
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