2011. The Year of No-Biggie Races.

>> Wednesday, January 26, 2011

I have a confession to make. Something that's been bothering me for months now. Three lllooonnnggg months. I thought it'd just go away if I kept living life with a positive attitude. If I kept working on the problem. If I rested. But here I am at the beginning of the year, and I'm absolutely TERRIFIED to sign up for any spring or summer races.


That's right: I have no races on the horizon. Z.e.r.o. The Boilermaker 15K, which is one of my favorites, is filling up fast. So is the Lehigh Valley Half Marathon. And I could save some major dough if I preregister for others. I also haven't even begun thinking about fall marathon plans. I -- gasp!!! -- may not even train for one this year.

WHAT?! What about your sub-4 hour goal, Ashley?!
Friends: I somehow don't care right now. I'm just happy to be running.

My knee is getting better. That's for sure. But there's this unshakable fear that's taken hold of me. It's keeping me from training for anything seriously. At all. Right now: I just run to run. And there's nothing wrong with that. But it's not like me. I'm so terribly worried the pain will return. Or that the hydrocortisone is only covering the issue and running is only making it worse.

I may be right.
I may be wrong.
There's really no way of telling.


Something good: I did successfully complete an 11-miler two Sundays ago. With only slight discomfort. 8 miles were run in the chilly outdoors and the other 3 were run comfortably on our treadmill. I ran another 10-miler on the treadmill this past Saturday. Sunday, I braved the elements (above, you can see my running-when-it's-negative-nine-degrees-Fahrenheit style) and ran 5 outdoor miles atop snow with absolutely no pain. Generally, I'm keeping my weekly total between 20 and 30 miles a week.

My PT even told me at our last appointment that I was "set free" because there's not much else he can do for me. Panic set it, and I quickly asked begged him to see me just a few more times. He said: "Unnecessary." So, I don't have regularly scheduled appointments now. I'm on my own. Scary!


Still -- the fear. It's decided: 2011 is the year of no-biggie races for me. I'm sticking with local stuff. Sign-up-the-day-of-the-race events. And probably not trying anything above the half marathon distance. What's this, though? This odd sense of calm? Yeah. I'm feeling OK about it -- good, even -- despite how I may sound. A.c.c.e.p.t.a.n.c.e. Liberation. Yes -- there's something so liberating about not HAVING to run a long run on a Sunday if I'd rather swim or bike or walk or REST.

I've been cross-training still. Swimming. Biking. Walking. 30-Day shredding. Aqua-jogging. Yoga-ing. Knitting. Guitar-playing. Auditioning (for our university chorus -- I got in! Go altos!). Photographing. Becoming more of a whole human being, really. Slowly, I'm learning to chill out.

It's OK to not run races.
It's OK to run just to run. To make my own schedule.
It's OK to take breaks.
It's OK (and good) to change up the routine.
It's even OK to enjoy other things in life besides exercise.
It's all going to be OK, OK, OK.

Races I do have in mind include a 5K in February. A 4-miler and 15K in March. And a half marathon in April and May. But we'll see. I'm taking each day (and race) at a time. Keeping my expectations low and my spirits high. I know I'm still in great shape . . . I just don't need a number on a time-clock to solidify that for me. At least not this season.

Again, so very liberating.

But that's just me. I want to know: What do YOU have on your spring and summer schedules? We'll definitely be at Boston this year for Stephen's first run of the course. Can't wait! Just leave a comment or email us at neverhomemaker [at] gmail [dot] com.

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