On the Run

On the Run: What’s Next?

Happy Tuesday, friends. Running a little late on the post this week because we’re transitioning back to working from the office, so I’m back to a morning commute.

As you know, last week I ran the Sports Bra Squad 5K I’ve been training for since April.

The Badass Lady Gang is rolling right into the best your best 5-mile challenge. I was too late to register officially for this one, because commitments mid-August are hard for me as someone who works in higher ed.

Still, I plan to build strength and race my 5 miler twice along with everyone to see if I can beat my best time.

On top of that, we’ve got the “Running from My Problems” 7 miler in September, which is possibly my favorite name for any race, ever. This new distance should fit very nicely into training for (drumroll please) my virtual half marathon.
After a week of reflection between the cancellation announcement and the email to switch our registrations, I made the difficult decision to run the Flying Pig Half Marathon virtually in October rather than defer again for 2021.
As much as I have always intended to run my first half with a crowd, deferring a third time just feels like putting the distance off too much. The half marathon scares me. Hell, double digit runs scare me. My longest run to date is a 10K, so even moving up to the 7 miler sounds a little scary (okay, a lot scary!).
That fear seems to just keep getting bigger the further away the race day itself gets, so while I remain skeptical that I can run 13.1 miles without the energy of the crowd, I think it’s about time I tried.
I’ll admit I’m rolling into this round of training with more doubt and fear than confidence. The world feels more uncertain than ever, and injury has met me every time I’ve tried to train for this distance so far (granted, that’s whole 2 data points).
I’m going to be careful, be smart, and do the strength work and yoga I need to do to keep my knee cooperating. I’ve had a good run (pun intended) with training for the 5K, and my two years’ experience running has helped me hone in and “listen to my body,” as they say.
And yet I find myself asking—Why chase this goal?
Sometimes, I’m not sure anymore. In these (say it with me now) uncertain times, it can be hard to hang on to a goal when everything feels so up in the air.
What I know is this: I love the feeling I’d strength and accomplishment that comes from setting and meeting new goals. Running, along with yoga, helps me settle into my body and feel at peace with it.
Looking in the mirror or seeing photos of myself (like the one above) is still a bit of a toss-up, and many days I continue to struggle with body acceptance. But when I’m actively running and doing my yoga, I feel at home in my body. It feels strong and present and I am grateful for what it can do. It helps me define my body in terms that don’t align with narrow beauty standards.
And of course, I’ve already registered for this dang thing, so I figure I might as well go all in.
Running has been a source of joy and a way to break the monotony of life during these quarantine days, and I know I’m not alone in that.
I see more runners out now than I ever did, and while that’s probably partly because I got to run later in the day while working from home, I think it’s also because many people have discovered running during this time.
Even though running helps me make peace with my body, whenever I get injured or have a particularly hard run, I find myself thinking “I just don’t have the body for running a half marathon.”
Then I scroll through the posts in our amazing Badass Lady Gang Community and in Potterhead Running Club’s Great Hall & Hufflepuff Common Room, and I remember that that’s nonsense. Do I look like the Runner’s World cover? No. But that doesn’t mean I’m not strong and capable of getting stronger.
Running distance is a mental game, and I’m working on challenging the predefined limits I’ve set for myself. Investigating how much of my recurring runner’s knee is misalignment and how much of it is a mental cop out to stop training before it even really begins. (I’ve noticed the pain doesn’t really onset until I’m actually “in training” no matter what distance I run… a bit suspicious there, brain).
These next few weeks will be challenge mode, as I transition back to the office and learn to squeeze running in in the mornings again. I don’t know if I can run 13.1 miles in one go because I’ve never done it, but I sure am going to try!
I’ll be checking in here periodically to let you all know how it’s going, so feel free to join me on the run, and let me know if you’ve been running or planning for a virtual race this year!

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