Gaining Speed

About a year and a half ago, I made a it a goal to become a stronger runner. Up until that point I ran here and there and never really paid much attention to my pace or technique. I decided that I wanted to be faster and made a running streak my goal.

I started December 31, 2011. Part of it was I wanted to be faster but part of it was I wanted to stay motivated throughout the year. I kept at it and I ran even when it snowed out. I had days where I didn’t want to run and this gave me motivation I get out the door. I did anywhere from 1 mile to 11. The best part of the streak was I ran what I was motivated to run.

I didn’t realize how much this improved my running. I had signed up for the Shamrock Marathon since it was local and was loosely following a marathon plan. I had only done an 11-miler prior to the race so I didn’t have high hopes. However, I blew away my expectations marathon weekend. I ran an 8K at a 7:30 pace and ran my marathon in 3:47. I should point out that I had run a marathon that past November in 5+ hours. I cried as I crossed the finish line. I had no idea I was capable of this. I’d always been the average runner with no speed. This had changed everything. This motivated me to keep it up and see how much faster I could go.

I went on to PR a few halfs and win a 5K in the overall category. I was a happy runner. Then, after my last spring race that year the worst thing happened. I started having really bad pain in my right shin. It was unlike shin splints because it didn’t feel tight and it didn’t get better as I ran. It got worse. I finally bit the bullet when my leg started to throb constantly and went to the doctor. X-rays showed stress reaction so I was sent to sports med. They sent me for a bone scan and there clear as day they saw the break. I was devastated. I wasn’t allowed to run for 8 weeks and all I could think of was the half I had in Aug, Sep, and a marathon in Oct. They were 2 months away. How was I going to run those at a decent pace. More importantly, what the heck was I going to do without running?!  It was my therapy!

I did take it easy but broke the rules in that I ran after 7 weeks (stupid, I know, but hindsight is 20/20). I did run my races but the speed I worked so hard to achieve was gone. Since then, I’ve been working to hard to get there. My leg isn’t the same since the fracture and it has its good and bad days. However, I’m more determined than ever to be fast again. Yesterday uplifted me because I completed my fastest 10K and mile outside of speed work. When I see that, it just reminds me that I’m on the right track. It’s been a long road but things are starting to look up.

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Here’s to getting to a 7:30 pace again!

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