Kickoff Post: Bouncing Back from a Marathon Hiatus

Welcome to Love the Run You’re With! I decided to start this blog to chronicle my training for my third marathon, which will either be my second running of the Chicago Marathon or the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, DC.

My marathon history: The 2009 New York City Marathon was an awesome first: the weather was perfect, my pace was consistent, and I met my A goal of simply finishing AND my B goal of sub-4:30, finishing in a respectable 4:27:39. A year later, I toed the starting line in Chicago after following a similar training plan. I figured I’d surely end up with a shiny new PR on Chicago’s flat course. And I very well may have had my plans not been thwarted by race-day temperatures of nearly 90 degrees. In mid-October.

I left Chicago wanting redemption, as evidenced by the fact that I was researching spring marathons on my smartphone at O’Hare as I waited to board my flight back to New York. (You can call me crazy now.) Before long, I was signed up to run one in Austin in February with my sister, but winter training soon fell flat, burnout set in, and the mutual decision to downgrade to the half was quickly followed by a deferral to 2012.

“So, when’s your next marathon?” my roommate, Amy, then a new runner herself, asked me sometime in early 2011. I told her I had no idea, and in that moment I realized I was completely okay with it. At the time, Amy and I were preparing to run the National Half Marathon in DC, a race I was really excited about since it would be my second half and first attempt to break two hours. (I did, in 1:56!)

I had no intention of abandoning 26.2 altogether, but it was definitely on the back burner for the time being. I knew Chicago wasn’t my last marathon, but I also knew that if I was doing this for myself, there was no reason to keep putting my body through marathon training if my heart wasn’t in it, especially since the marathon is not a particularly forgiving distance. If it doesn’t go well, one typically can’t immediately try for a do-over without allowing time for recovery and then committing to the time and effort that successful training requires. At the time, it simply wasn’t a commitment that I was eager to make. I didn’t become a runner with the ultimate goal of becoming a marathoner, so who said it had to end there? I wanted to keep running because I enjoyed it, but I also wanted to become a stronger runner, which I’ve been able to achieve by focusing  on a number of shorter  race distances ranging from the 5K to the half marathon. (Love the run you’re with!) I’m finally ready to put these improvements to the test in the form of a goal time of under four hours in Chicago or at MCM.

Topics to be covered in the near future:

  • Which marathon I’m actually running (still taking votes!)
  • Choosing, tweaking, and sticking to a training plan
  • The race that made me ready to run another marathon
  • Distances I love (like the half marathon)
  • Distances I loathe (like the 10K)
  • Learning to navigate NYC by running around it

Thanks for reading!

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