Lately I've been getting the urge to test myself again. It's been about 3 years since I gave up on trying to achieve my 2 hr. goal. The last time I tried for a PB was in 2007 and it earned me a stinking 2:02:02. All those 2's got on my nerves, as if I was being taunted by some unknown power. I was 40 at the time and thought that race was my last chance at achieving a 2 hr goal, and that things would be on a downward slope from then on. I dreamed of training for a marathon after the 2 hour goal was mine and since I never was able to achieve it, the marathon became out of the question. Why? Because I couldn't imagine running for more than 4 hours at a time.
During training for of that 2:02:02 race I developed hypertension and an arrhythmia ( 3 of them actually, 2 of them harmless under normal circumstances, one of them not). Did I mention I was in the best shape of my life when I got that diagnosis? The cardiologist put me on a Beta Blocker which really screws with your running. Thankfully it also screwed with my pulse ( it went don to 38 or 42) so I didn't have to take that nasty little pill anymore. But it was the arrhythmia that left me not wanting to push myself due to The Great Fear that was becoming part of my life. I have not had any bad arrhythmias for about a year and even before that I NEVER got it while running. Not even once. But I worried anyway.
Running became a part of my life again when a friend of mine said she didn't like to run with The Running Room because she was so slow. I told her I like running slow( True. My natural pace is turtle speed) and we began our journey together. I discovered the love of running on a deeper level that I had known before. The restrictions I had imposed upon myself in my prior running life were gone and I was experiencing something new, almost religious. Ok. It was religious. But that is another topic.
Last September I began to meet people who were older, like myself, who were still chasing ( and achieving!) their dreams for speed and I slowly started to feed on their enthusiasm. Three days ago I ran The Police Half. Two ladies who looked to be in their late 20's sped by us near the finish. They reeled us in and and as they passed I said to my partner " lets beat them!!!". He said "I can't, this is all I got". To be able to say you gave a race all you got is admirable and I realized I have been a coward for too long. To give a lot, but not your all leaves you with that much less to celebrate afterwards. When I kicked it at the end of the race to beat those girls I realized that there was a lot more within me I could have laid out on the course. But I'm always about conserving energy. I also lack that competative drive. Having the feeling of wanting to beat them surprised me. I think it was because I've been reeled in one too many times ( it always happens) at the finish line. By the way I didn't beat them. I could have but I didn't. Why? The last 2 steps I slowed down because I was certain they were in my dust. I was wrong. Lesson learned. But you know what, I kicked it and I didn't die!
Yesterday I read someone else's blog that resonated with me....something about having a race strategy of starting out slow, conserving energy, then bottoming out altogether. That has been me for too long and I want to try for my goal again. Who cares if I never get it. To lay it all out there while trying is what it is all about. I got the long run part down as I can slog on for a quite awhile. I need to work on speed work and weights. At the gym today I added 5 Lbs to my weight training and ran at a speed out of my comfort zone. Then I kicked it at the end. And you know what? IT FELT GREAT!!!!
While my running partner is about to run her first full Marathon, I will be working on my speed and strength and will soon be running my first, just not yet. And when I do, I will be laying it all out there.