Connecting the Dots; Ready to Try Again

"You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference.” - Steve Jobs

Back in May, I completed my 21st marathon (in Shiprock, NM) and then kind of went MIA from social media. Besides the occasional vacation post, I hardly posted or checked it. At first I thought-oh I've posted so much about my running during the past year that a little break is good. It quickly became the norm though and it almost seemed like a chore, like why do this?

I could make excuses and say the following reasons contributed to my absence: 

1. I got promoted at work, back in May, and I'm busier. Still love what I do but I have more responsibilities now.

2. I started dating again. Dating in my 30's has definitely been different than in my 20's. Its been...interesting haha. I feel so much wiser and my standards are higher, which is why I refuse to waste my time with something that will not contribute to my happiness. I'm also good with just running and not dating lol.

3. I got injured back in April, while running. Long story short, I had this pain in my right foot for a little over two months that would only hurt when I wasn't running. I went to the Doctor's office, got an X-Ray, MRI and ultimately they couldn't find anything wrong. The funny thing is that, after I got the MRI, the pain went away and didn't come back. I don't know what to tell you.

Like I said, I could make excuses but in the past 72 hours, I've connected the dots and have realized why I've been MIA. It's because of this that I can now put into words what happened.

Shiprock in the background

After my last blog post (21 Weeks Later: The Journey), I never followed up with how the Shiprock Marathon culminated; I think that was because it was a new experience for me that I never processed and it affected me, without knowing that something was wrong. Leading up to Shiprock, I had my best training cycle to date. I felt primed and ready to PR and when the race was over, I was disappointed. I had my sights set on the 3:20 mark and I finished in 3:52:41. There were several factors out of my control that day, that affected my race performance. It was hot, it was humid, it was windy, I didn't hydrate properly, etc. Even though I knew that some of these were out of my control, it was all a new experience for me. I had never trained so well for a Marathon before and have it end in a sub par performance. In the past, if I had a bad race I could legitimately say I didn't train as well as I should have or I did X thing wrong.

I know, I know...a sub 4 hour marathon is still good but it's all perception right? I mean I would kill (not literally haha) to run a sub 3:05 marathon yet I have friends that can finish much faster than that and a 3:05 marathon would be disappointing. I now understand them. Again, it's all perception. We all know that these are first world problems and some things are out of our control, HOWEVER, that doesn't prevent the mind fuck that comes from a poor performance. It could apply to any facet of life: I did everything right, I put in so many hours of my time and missed the mark. I didn't know it at the time, but this poor performance began to loom over me.

Even though I'm signed up for the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon in November, I've had this laissez faire attitude towards running. It was like, why put so much effort into this if it's going to end in disappointment anyway. I remember paraphrasing in my last blog entry that one bad race doesn't define your whole training experience and even though I knew this to be true, I just couldn't process it. I know it was frustrating for my training partner because there were many times where it seemed like she had to convince me to have that desire to qualify for Boston. She shouldn't have had to convince me to want a BQ haha (Sorry Kim. I appreciate your tenacity on this training cycle. It kept me logging miles when my head wasn't in the game).

Where does the lack of social media come into play? I tie my posts so much with running that it only made sense, if I was being indifferent about my running, why would I want to post about it? I'm signed up for races but when the time came, would I be ready to try again and not let the stigma from Shiprock loom over me?

Like I said, it's funny that I happened to realize all this in the past 72 hours which came at the right time too, since I towed the starting line of the Cedar City Half Marathon today. I didn't know if I would be ready to tow the starting line again and not let self doubt creep in. I'm happy to say that the race went well for me. I beat my previous PR by almost 6 minutes! New half PR is now 1:35:18. It definitely was a tough race, it took its toll on my legs but mentally (and physically) I was able to push through.

I want to thank Heather and Kim for helping me connect the dots on this one (Be sure to check out their blogs, they are some good reads). I think we are starting to see the beginnings of a comeback here :) I have my sights set on Indy and I'm ready to try again.