Wednesday, August 26, 2020

I Had a Plan, 2020 Laughed

 Alright y'all. We're up to 2020. Then, 2020 happened. 

I'll start by backing up (again). I ran marathon #5 in the spring of 2017. You can read about it here, but the short version goes like this: I was trained for a PR. I felt confident. Then, it was something like 87* on race day. It was not a day for PRs. I don't even remember what my time was, but it was not fast. I got a sunburn on my back I could see the lines of for a year. 

By early 2018, when maybe I would have considered picking a fall full, I was trying really hard not to be injured, then of course I was. In early 2019, I was focused on getting back to race shape, which I did. I PRed the half twice in 2019 very happily. After the Indy Monumental, I was feeling it. It was time. I wanted my moment with the 26.2. And I knew where. 


Detroit was my first. It has stood out as a significant day in my life. I believed something new about myself after I finished that race. It was time to go back. So I registered. I registered January 1, the day registration opened. I wanted it for me. 

* sidebar: there's more of a story here, but for another day 

Then, 2020 laughed at all of us. 

Hermes 10 Miler in April: nope
Towpath Spring: nope
Towpath June: nope
Coronabusters 19k Survivor Virtual Race: yes

Lots and lots of running alone, then cross-training from home. At first, I tried running alone on well-known paths, but there were too many people too unwilling to move over, or not take up the entire path walking in pairs, and it was too much. The cyclists refused to yield when, with nowhere else to go, I'd end up in a bike lane occasionally. Eventually, I opted for smaller neighborhood streets, and settled in. 

In late June, right after we got back from the most socially-distanced vacation ever--to my native West Virginia--the training cycle started. 

  • I made one interval workout harder than it needed to be and that was not a good choice. 
  • In Week 4, I was scheduled for a sub-46 minute 10k. I need emojis. It was crazy. I ended up about 46:40. In my defense, I was running on pea gravel that did not help. Also, it was stupid hot. I left what I had on the path and called it a win. 
  • In Week 6 I had a hill workout. Friendship is texting your friend saying, "hey, remember that hill we ran on like 3 years ago and our other friend drove past us? I don't know what it was called and I need to go run up it ten times at 6am tomorrow. Wanna come?" And they say yes, and they respect your effort to stay socially distanced while doing so. 
  • In Week 8 I ran 200s for the first time in years. That is a fun workout. The interval is so short. You fly and by the time you want to die, it's over. 
  • Also in Week 8, I was supposed to run a sub-1:50 half marathon, with a slower mile on each end. I don't know what happened. I did it, but it destroyed me. This was this past Sunday actually and I think I'm just now over it. 
To no one's surprise, Detroit went virtual. Sooooooo.......Plan B. 

You guys, Plan B is NOT what I wanted, but it's a pretty great back-up plan. I opted for the Detroit Virtual race. It won't be in Michigan. It won't be officially measured. But it will BE. A lifer friend of mine who lives about 45 minutes away is going to bike with me on race day (at least part of it) to make sure I don't die. My family and a few friends are planning to come cheer, distanced of course.

I'm in Week 9 of training and it's a big one: 45 miles. There are days I wake up and my body hurts. There are days I realize my calves are more muscular than they were 3 months ago. There are days I'm starving. There are many, many days I greet the sunrise from the quiet streets with nothing but joy. This is what training looks like. 

The pandemic has been, well, y'all know how it's been. I've been so thankful for running. Running isn't canceled. Running is a hobby you can do alone. Running has been a safe way to get out of the house. Running-based time to myself has been crucial. Like Fleet Feet says, running changes everything. Running has enriched my life in so many ways, for so long. Especially now. 

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