Ok, so first for a bit of background. I’ve run competitively since middle school. I have never been phenomenal, but I ran well enough in high school to qualify for state a few times and got recruited to a DI program.
My first year of college running – I pr’d by over a minute in the 5k, chopped 10 seconds off my mile pr, and pr’d in the 800 by several seconds during my first outdoor race. I was thrilled by the jumps that I was making and expected to keep following an upward swing.
Unfortunately, the next year included a switch in coaches (and training plans), a bout of overzealous dieting (resulting in anemia, tendonitis, and a stress reaction), and a huge blow to my confidence in myself as a runner. The next two years went ok – a couple small injuries, ran consistently near my pr’s, and pr’d several times in the 10k.
My fifth year started with so much promise – I hit a mileage peak of 80 mile weeks during the summer and ran my best time ever for the XC time trial. I planned to train through XC and enter indoor season in the best shape of my life!
A few days after the first XC meet a pain-filled, limping run and subsequent diagnosis of a 4th metatarsal stress fracture ended my daydreams of pr’s and conference points. I missed an entire Fall of running, and had a seriously tough time coming up with the motivation to cross-train. When I finally got back to running I had lost all of the fitness built up during those long summer months.
My final indoor season was painfully awful. I came the closest to dropping out of a race that I have ever come, and hit a point where I considered skipping out on my final outdoor season. I finally reached a turning point when I realized that I definitely wasn’t making the conference roster.
All the pressure dropped away and I spent my last race and final workouts just running for the heck of it, enjoying the feeling of accelerating off the banked curves and reveling in the opportunity to be running in a close-knit pack of talented, dedicated women.
My outdoor season wasn’t ideal, but it had some amazing moments. I missed qualifying for conference, but ended my season by tying my 5k pr. I rediscovered my love of running and was really looking forward to exploring the world of post-collegiate competition (what, you mean I get to pick my own races?! And I can accept prizes if I win? And I don’t have to deal with the DRAMA of a DI athletic department? Ooooh…).
The summer after graduation I got married, moved a couple hundred miles, and started grad school. I started off my post-collegiate running adventure with some awesome trail races and my first 1/2 marathon. Then the sh*t hit the fan and I spent almost 6 months dealing with an ankle sprain, then mono, and finally an attack of toe tendonitis. Fun times!
So, anyway, I’m finally back in some semblance of shape (still only hitting ~15 MPW, but ran a (hilly, 7000+ ft elevation) 10k @ 7:30 pace last weekend and plan to start adding workouts beginning tomorrow) and am trying to decide where I want to go with this whole running thing…