I like to run. I've learned that it really isn't about where you're going, it's about the getting there - the how, the why, the who with. This blog is just a little repository for my thoughts along the way; the setbacks, the lessons learned, and the occasional triumph.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Reignition

Hello, Strangers.

I’ve been neglecting my little blog for the last nine months. But it’s never been far from my mind. There has been a lot of news – a lot of new adventures – in the last 240 days. Dozens of times I sat down at the computer to type out a post, but each time my narrative dwindled to a stop mid-stream. I found that my purpose had dwindled, my fire had dimmed. The problem, though, wasn’t at the typewriter. It was the running itself. My passion for the run, though far from dead, was no longer the bonfire it once had been. I was feeling some burnout.

2011 turned out to be an uneventful running year for me. I failed to finish the Burning River 100 at the end of July; my 3rd DNF in 3 tries at the 100-Mile distance. I slogged through the Chicago and NYC Marathons with finish times that weren’t “bad”, but were more than 20 minutes slower than my best. I did get to tack on another ultra, the Knickerbocker 60K in Central Park, but even there, after a decent start, I faded badly in the later miles, and had to be content with the moral victory of crossing the finish line.

It was a lull year for my running, in almost every way. I don’t know if the burnout led to the lull, or if the lull set off the burnout, but either way, it was a frustrating year. This mirrored a difficult year for me professionally, as well, and there was an accumulative affect.

There was good news, however. My personal life was soaring.

At the end of 2010, I met a woman who changed my life and the relationship flourished last year. But she was in New York; I was in Chicago. Last fall we corrected that problem and, after 10 years in the Windy City, I moved to Brooklyn, New York. Things have been going great for Jen and I ever since.

I’m also pleased to report that my running (because this is a running blog – the personal stuff is for Facebook) has rebounded in 2012, and with a vengeance. A new city has brought a lot of new opportunities, new places, new races.

2011 was the year of my running lull. I wanted 2012 to be my return to speed. I rededicated myself to my training schedule. I plotted a careful build-up from the beginning of January through to a goal marathon in the Poconos in May. I started doing speed work and weekly tempo runs again. In early February, I even ran in the first track meet of my life, competing in the mile and the 800 meters, distances I have never raced before (and I did not finish last in either event).

I have also benefitted from the inherent pleasures of exploring a new city via running. And there are a LOT of places to run in New York. Back in November I purchased my first GPS watch and it has freed me to run whenever and wherever I feel like. (I have learned that it is a flawed tool, but its benefits far outweigh its drawbacks.)

Finally, I’m lucky that my new “day job” is an active one that is not only fun, but also has me walking 4 to 5 miles each weekday, a subtle enhancement to my training schedule. (And the four-legged company I keep at work makes for very pleasant company.)

All of this has led to some very encouraging early returns. I ran the NYC Half Marathon this past Sunday morning, and, though I expected good results based on recent training runs, I surprised myself by cutting six and a half minutes off my previous PR from five years ago. I finished in 1:39:15, a 7:35 minute-per-mile pace, and one I held from the very first mile to the very last. I was disappointed to see the finish line, because I wanted to keep running.

This represents a major turnaround from last year, and it has me wondering if big things are possible when I run the “Run for the Red” Poconos Marathon on May 20th. There are several race equivalency calculators around on the internet, and several suggest that if you are able to run a 1:39 half-marathon (and you have done a proper training build-up), you should be in shape to run a 3:30 marathon. My current marathon PR is a 3:44. Factor in that the “Run for the Red” features a 1400 foot elevation drop from start to finish line (yes, I choose the race on purpose because of that), and a very fast race time could be in the making for me.

So: That’s where I’ve been, that’s why I’ve been gone, and that’s what I think I might be on the cusp of in the coming months. I’ll probably back-track a little in the next few posts because there are still a few things I want to talk about in more detail, but for now, the important thing is I feel the fires burning once again, and there’s more to come.

4 comments:

Chris said...

I knew your fire for running and life would return! Look forward to reading about past and future running adventures. Sounds like 2012 could be a banner year for you. I have family in the NYC burbs, so our running paths may still cross.

Tamar said...

Yay! Especially the New York part.

Paige said...

THERE you are!! Great to "see" you again :) Congratulations on the move and the rekindled love for running!

GTI said...

Thanks, everyone. As long as my discipline for writing doesn't desert me again, I'll be around the blogosphere for a while longer. Glad to see each of you are doing well!

Chris: If you find your way to the east coast for any good races, give me a heads up!