You’re stronger than you think you are.

Glenn and I headed out for a hilly 17 miles yesterday in Bloomington. I was excited to run long together, because we haven’t done that in forever. I was also a little nervous about my hamstring though. I can feel it a lot more when running uphill and if you’ve ever ran in Bloomington, you know there are a lot more hills than in Indy. The obvious reason, we don’t run long together often is because one of us has to be home with Marshall, but the other reason is we usually have our own agendas for our long runs. With Glenn coming back from taking it easy and my parents being available to watch Marshall, it worked out perfectly to just run together.

The run was honestly so much better than I had expected it would be. I had went out for an easy 5 miles in Bloomington on Tuesday and felt like a sloth that weighed 500 lbs. Nothing about what I did on Tuesday felt easy or natural. I felt heavy, out of shape and tired- climbing even the smallest hill had me heavy breathing. I was feeling very discouraged.

I biked on Wednesday, Swam on Thursday and did a very easy 30 minute treadmill run on Friday. (Core work Wed & Fri as well)  I was tempted to run for an hour on Friday, but I could feel that hammy and very forcefully reminded myself that 30 extra minutes on Friday wasn’t the run that was going to help me make progress, but a solid 17 on Saturday is what I needed.

Since we are now only 5 weeks out from Boston, I’ve decided I’m going to keep running through the hamstring pull and as soon as the race is over, let it heal… even it that means 6 weeks no running. I know some people might think that’s a bad idea, but here’s the deal: Running is not my job, but it’s what I love to do. It defines me in some ways, but it’s not all I have. I have already booked my flights and hotel for Boston and I’m going. And if I’m going, I’m running. I’m running the damn race and if it sets the healing process back a bit, so be it. That being said, I am not going to be running 50-60 mile weeks like I had been in between my surgeries. I’m going to stick to running 3-4 days (probably 35ish miles a week) and keeping up on some good biking and swimming.

Back to the 17 on Saturday though- I felt strong. My legs were feeling a little tired around mile 8, but I still felt powerful. I decided I wanted to have a strong finish and worked through it- repeating “You are strong than you think you are” every time my legs told me to stop while heading up a hill. I haven’t ran on hills like that in a LONG time. We ran out to Griffy lake and took on hinkle… I was having a blast on the down hills. At mile 12 (when my legs were REALLY starting to fee tired) Glenn said, “you’re running pretty fast and strong on a long run for someone who says they aren’t in great shape right now” That immediately made me determined to run the last 5 miles faster than the rest. At mile 15 I picked it up to our fastest mile and he says “you’re really gonna grind it out the end huh”- and then admitted he was also feeling it. (which made me feel better about my current state)

When we got back to the house, I felt sick to my stomach thinking of running 9 more miles. I pictured myself feeling like that at mile 17 in Boston, thinking how it would be pure misery to run it in on those legs. I know you don’t hit hills near as steep or crazy at Boston that we did on Saturday, but I also know that my leg strength isn’t where it needs to be to dominate the hills that will be there at a speed I want them to be.

The goal is to run strong and smart. The goal is to be thankful I’m running and to enjoy it even if when it hurts. It’s easy to get obsessed with running a PR, it’s easy to get hung up on that being all there is. But the truth is, it’s hard to get in PR shape and sometimes the stars don’t align. Sometimes it’s not the right time. You can’t fake being in tip top marathon shape and I’ll say it loud and clear- I’m not. But Saturday proved to me that I am in great shape and I can run strong- regardless of the pace. While the day I ran my fastest marathon, will always be special to me- the day I ran the Reheboth Beach Marathon, while not in PR shape, but in shape to run a strong, controlled marathon, when I told my body when to speed up as the race progressed – that is one of my greatest race memories. You can’t beat the feeling of total control over what you want your body to do. Perhaps that is what Boston 2014 will bring as well.

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You better believe I busted out the Budweiser sunnies for 17 miles. I retired them for a bit this winter, but not fear, they are back. And can I just say, running parts of the Red Eye course really made me want to run it again. We’ve done it as a 7 man team and a 4 man team. Rumor has it nobody has ever completed it as a two man team and sometime in the next 5 years Glenn and I are going to do a 2 man team. It WILL HAPPEN. (as long as we have a babysitter the following day… Mom, we are booking you.)

WHO’S HAD A HAMSTRING INJURY? Tell me all the inside scoop on what you did to nurse it! I swear I’ve been on my foam roller like a mad woman. Also- am getting it worked on by Melody this week I believe!

Have you ever ran in Bloomington? (We climbed 1,000 ft., not crazy, crazy, but a lot for me right now)

Do you prefer flat or hills? (While they are more challenging, I enjoy hills because it changes things up.)

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