What a strange training cycle this has been! Back in December, I entered the lottery to be selected to run the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler and was so excited to get in. Honestly, I was in a bit of a running rut, which is pretty typical towards the end of the year. Having a date circled on my calendar really helped me find my motivation once again. I sat down and made a training plan and started tackling it. It was not easy. I had gained some weight (again – typical for the end of the year…a little too much cookie dough). I had slacked off on my runs towards the end of the year so I struggled to run 3 miles straight during those first few weeks and had to sprinkle in some walk breaks. But as the weeks passed, I found my groove and started feeling pretty good.
Then, in early February, I had a mammogram and the results were “suspicious” which prompted a biopsy a couple of weeks later. I thought the biopsy would sideline me a day or two and I would be back at it. Unfortunately, it took a little longer to heal than I anticipated and I ended up missing about a week of running. I have to admit that it was really tough mentally for me to get back to running. Between being super busy at work and having anxiety over the test results, I did question my desire to run a lot in the month of February. I felt like my heart (and energy and attitude) just wasn’t there. My desire to run has definitely been tested multiple times throughout this training cycle. I still continued to press on and complete my runs.
Then, some great news came the last week of February! No cancer!! My doctor did want me to follow up with a breast specialist so I was not feeling 100% at ease until I just met with her this past Friday (I’ve witnessed a patient go back and forth with her diagnosis before so I was still a bit nervous). She looked at everything and agreed with the results so I am feeling SO MUCH BETTER!
Now that I was feeling better mentally, I was prepared to race! Of course, by this time I had a feeling the race would be shut down due to the Coronavirus. And on Saturday morning, I got the official notice that it has been cancelled 😦 Such disappointing news…especially right when I got my running juju back. They are giving us the option to skip next year’s lottery and automatically be entered into the 2021 race, which I think I am going to do. Unfortunately if I choose that option, I lose this year’s race fees and still have to pay for next year, but I kind of expected that. I’ve been seeing some really angry posts on social media, but I try to look at it from the race director’s perspective. They have already purchased shirts, medals, paid for permits, etc, and they are a non-profit. I’m just going to suck it up as an unfortunate and unprecedented event. It’s not their fault, it’s not the runners fault…it’s just unfortunate. I will still be able to get my medal and shirt for this year. I would normally feel weird about getting a medal for a race I didn’t complete, but this one is a little different and I will gladly take it. I may just have to display it separately due to my OCD (I didn’t EARN it) – lol!
I do feel really horrible for the race community, especially for those who were set to complete their first marathon. Man…that’s a lot of training miles logged, a lot of dedication and devotion. I don’t like it when people are made to feel guilty for being disappointed. Of course, the health of this nation is definitely priority number 1, but that doesn’t mean people aren’t allowed to be disappointed. So many questions…do you continue to train? What kind of distance should you maintain until the races are rescheduled? Will the races be rescheduled? Will races be hard to get into when they re-open and everyone is trying to find a make-up race? For me personally, this race being cancelled is not at the top of my list of COVID-19 related disappointments, but I’m still pretty bummed!
Which brings me to my training plan, or lack thereof. My long-run Sunday came around this past weekend and I had 7 miles on the menu in preparation for the Cherry Blossom race. What to do, what to do? My first thought was that there is the GW Parkway Classic 10 Miler at the end of April that could potentially be an option. I’ve ran it twice before and really enjoy it. BUT…that means I’m ahead of the game with my training. I considered skipping my run yesterday while I came up with a game plan (admittedly, I was feeling a little lazy). Finally in the late afternoon, I decided to just go for 4 miles with no pace expectations. And you know what? I had an excellent run!! I don’t know if it’s because I skipped Thursdays run, or because I tried to hurry because I thought a storm was a brewin’, or if it was because I felt like I was under absolutely no pressure. Whatever the reason, I really surprised myself. I had been struggling with getting my pace to what it was last year (low 9’s) but I did it yesterday and was so happy! My first three miles were all 9:10 or below, with each mile getting faster. Mile 4 was slower because I did take a walk break, but it was still under 9:30. It felt amazing to see those numbers!
Last night, I got an email that the GW Parkway is being rescheduled for early summer. I’m really not sure what I am going to do now. I may just stick with 3 and 4 milers a few times a week to keep the fitness level up. This will help me eventually transition to distance training when (if) the time comes. But I’ve also been struggling on and off with my desire to run so I’ve been thinking about taking a break and finding some other ways to get cardio in. I have tried talking my husband into taking tennis lessons (we would probably have to learn online now), but we are a little older now and have potential injuries to consider – lol! I also used to love taking Body Combat (think kickboxing) at the gym. Obviously I wont be hitting the gym now (Maryland gyms were ordered to close at 5 p.m. today – I wasn’t planning to risk it anyway), but I am sure I could find some free at-home workouts on youtube. I do know that I will continue to work out in some capacity! Along with my ~3 runs per week this training session, I have been incorporating strength training at-home workouts using free weights . I’ve also tried a few other workouts that I plan to keep up with, but I’ll talk about that a little more in a later post. Do you have any cardio ideas? I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments below.
With swim meets, gala’s, and other activities I had on my calendar being cancelled for an indefinite period of time, I will hopefully have more time to keep up with this blog.
I hope you all stay healthy and we stop the spread of this virus soon so we can get back to our regularly scheduled lives!