I Felt Free

(Quick catch-up so that this post will make some sense: One month ago I registered for the New Jersey Marathon. I could tell you how and why that came to be but it ultimately doesn't matter because the point of this post is that I am no longer running the full during NJ Marathon weekend and I will now spend approximately 27 paragraphs telling you how and why that came to be).

This past weekend I ran a 15-mile race. Or maybe I should say I registered for and ran part of a 15-mile race. The course is made up of the same 5-mile loop, with race distance options of 10 miles (2 loops) or 15 miles (3 loops). Against my marathon training plan, I signed up for the 15-miler instead of the 10-miler, because that's the one I've always done. I ran it around the same pace I ran it last time, which was too fast then and was definitely too fast now, because that's the pace I had run before. As with the majority of runs I have had in the last few months, my effort level felt way too hard for the pace I was running, and I got to the last mile of my second loop and, while I knew I absolutely could get myself through another one, I also knew the only reason I had to do so was because I had done it before, and I could do it again. And, even though it took me a lot of time to admit, both to myself and to others - namely Alyssa, who agreed to go on this marathon journey with me this spring - I finally had to accept that "could" and "should" are not the same thing and that I truly don't know the difference.

Year of Running: 2017

I have recapped my year or running I think every year since I started blogging, and even though we're almost 1/12 of the way into 2018, I figured it was better late than never to recap 2017. I saw this format on another blog (my new coach's actually - yes I have a coach now and yes that's kind of weird and no I don't want to talk about right now and yes I realize that not talking about it makes it a bigger deal than it needs to be but whatever) and really liked it. Sometimes I like to rehash every little detail of every race and sometimes I don't. These are fairly short and to the point and just kind of a quick summary about what I learned from each one - and I'm really trying to take each lesson to heart this time!

1. Tidewater Striders 15-Miler (January 28) - Don't decide 3 miles into a 15-miler to try to hang on for dear life to PR your half marathon. It won't work.

2. Tidewater Striders 20-Miler (February 18) - Just because you don't hit your target in training doesn't mean you can't hit it on race day. I treated this as a dress rehearsal for the Shamrock Marathon and the fact that I finished about 5 minutes slower than I'd need to cover 20 miles on the real race day to meet my goal really rattled me. From that point on I was convinced my goal was just out of reach and couldn't come up with any scenario or strategy in which I could hit it. It felt good to run my fastest 20-miler ever, but still frustrating feeling like I wasn't quite where I needed to be.