It's been quite a while, no?
I'm here. Alive. Doing well. Everyone is doing well, actually - Brian, the Bear, the naughty kittens (oh so naughty...even Chewie has been banished to a bedroom at night these days. They just love us too much and must be with us at all times. Such as 3am.)
I'm not quite sure how we stumbled into the month of October; in my mind, it's still the end of May. Maybe because my life for the last few years has been defined by my training cycle and for the first time since 2013, I found myself a runner without a race. Time, of course, didn't pause. It continued to march on regardless of my weekly mileage. May slipped into June and then HOT-HOT-DYING-HOT July and August, then school started and the heat finally, blessedly, broke. Yup, this is definitely October: I have several skeletons on my porch to prove it. (thank you, Scotty)
What have we been doing? Well, there was a nice family vacation to the Midwest in July. The tri-state tour included some fishing for my mom and the Bear, a nice three-day break in Chicago for Brian and I, and a trip to Lambeau Field en route to Wisconsin Dells. (Just FYI: Green Bay is nowhere near the Dells, but Brian seems to think if we are in the same state, we must be close). It was at the frozen tundra that I learned I have the same measurements of a linebacker. Height and weight were off, but I have the same shoe size and wingspan of Clay Matthews. I always thought there was something wrong with the length of my appendages...
My dreams of trail running through the summer? Never happened. Kim without a training plan is a Kim that likes to sleep. I couldn't get on the track so I stopped running speed work. I ran a 5K in early August with such a laughably bad time, I seriously considered hanging up the flats for good. I had been on this glorious streak of constant PRs at every race; had I hit my limit? Was this it?
During this time, our family went through a number of changes. Scotty opted to not play baseball in the fall. We traded in my beloved Subaru. A important friendship disappeared. First grade whooshed in like a Category 5 hurricane, complete with hours of homework each night and lots of frustrated tears (both Mom and Scotty). My weekly mileage dropped to 30-35 miles/week, which was laughable. I had zero interest in running by the time I hit my "run-iversary" over Labor Day weekend. Even little things, the like the closure of DW Bistro, hit me hard. I loved DW Bistro. Veggie stir-fry with Israeli cous cous, no dairy? It wasn't like I ate it every week, but I didn't to imagine life without it...
And then, worst of all, the big daddy of all changes...the closure of the boot camp I had attended for the last five years. It's...over? Like, really over? Finito? What?
It was all too much. Too much change. I thrive on routine and aside from moving out of state or dealing with sickness or a death in the family, our whole schedule just...changed. Blew up. Literally, from the moment I woke up in the morning, my day would be different. I was in the same house with the same people, but everything felt different.
I opted for even fewer miles, no speed work, and a solid diet of candy corn and Chardonnay. I needed something easy. I was tired of struggling. Everything felt exhausting. No one reaches for lentils in a time of crisis. Not surprisingly, the next change that happened was that my shorts felt a bit...snug.
Not even registering for the 2017 Boston Marathon right after my 38th birthday could cheer me up. It was surreal to receive the acceptance email, but the only thing I heard in my head was, "...it was a mostly downhill marathon." (i.e. Mt. Charleston, the race that I had used to qualify.) I felt like a phony, like I hadn't actually earned my spot in such a prestigious race because it was an "easy" race. A downhill marathon. The other side of my brain screamed in protest. It was still 26.2 miles! And downhill SUCKS. OH MY TOES (which are still messed up). It was by far the hardest and worst marathon I'd ever done, with the longest recovery. My fighter brain wasn't going to give up: We'll show them! You'll run 3:30 at Boston! You'll kill it! Screw the critics!
But knowing how much work and effort I put in Mt. Charleston, the idea of training that hard - and even harder - for a much more crowded race just made me more tired. Oh my gosh, I don't ever want to run 10x1000m again at interval pace. I want to crawl under the covers and not come out.
Pass the candy corn, please.
Thankfully, one of the benefits of a good marriage is a good spouse, and mine was quick to point out that not all change in bad. It's just change. No baseball meant lots of time on Saturday and an opportunity to try a new sport. Enter fencing (yes, fencing), the only sport to date that Scotty has *naturally* been good at. All these years of playing with a light saber clearly paid off. The kid looks amazing out there, LOVES it, and is even learning a new language (note to self: brush up on French, stat). He pokes and pares and leaps around his opponent with unabashed glee. We have to drag him out of the studio. This joy, this passion - not trophies or hits - THIS Is what a parent prays for.
My Subie may be gone, Brian noted, but now I have a new car that does not shake when pushed to go faster than 65 mph. I am also no longer fearful that it will explode on the 15. First grade still sucks but guess who's getting better? Scotty is! Turns out a combination of a very helpful conference with Scotty's wonderful teacher, seeking out some great advice from "older" moms and getting most of the work done on our blissfully relaxing Saturday was the right ticket. Spelling tests stink and Brian has to hold me back from arguing every missed point (they took off a 1/2 point because he capitalized the word! Yet it was spelled correctly! What the heck?) and noted that a perfectionist, overachieving mother is not always a good thing. Having a calm, balanced father is. So because the kids get actual number grades (92%, 85%), I chose to simply not look at the percentages, because anything less than 100% makes me anxious.
I'm not perfect, my kid isn't, and the important thing is he learning. Let's all say that together...
As for boot camp? It's going to be okay. Instead of battling the elements, the trainers opened a gorgeous indoor studio called Power Hour 360. We no longer have to chase after our mats on windy days or do lunges under the parking structure when it rains. Better even, the workouts are far more challenging than regular boot camp, which will hopefully accelerate my weight loss. Mileage is still down, I've accepted this fact, but the fewer miles I run means the more I can concentrate on diet and clean eating. I've broken my schedule into monthly goals, which includes getting this extra fluff off by the holidays, putting me about 5 pounds above racing weight by the time Boston training starts in January. Which...
...is great. Amazing. Unbelievable.
Boston. I get to go. I'm going. I'm going to run the Boston marathon.
Downhill, schmownhill. A marathon is a marathon is a marathon. Unless it's an ultra marathon, in which that is ultra long and ultra painful. (ow).
Shalane Flanagan, America's premier female distance runner, said it best: "This sport is not easy but there is joy in the journey. The euphoric highs and gut wrenching lows. It's all part of our beautiful sport. I wouldn't change a thing."
And I'm not even sure she's referring to running. That's just...life.
As dreadful and distressing as the last few months have been, you know what, Shalane? I wouldn't change a thing either.
PS - even DW Bistro is okay! They are opening a new location in the Gramercy in November. See?? IT REALLY IS GOING TO BE OKAY.