I had one big running goal this year, and that was to qualify for the Half Fanatics. While I didn’t do it the way I’d planned, I did check that off the year in February, and I turned my head to getting some other races in this year.
And then I didn’t.
I injured my hip in Olathe, canned my trip to Indy, and now, with Route 66 looming next weekend, I already know I’m not going to make it to Tulsa. The allure of a Half Fanatics-themed race medal is why I chased HF so hard, and yet here I sit in the Da Lou.
So what happened?
Well, the injury during the Garmin Half really took the steam out of me, and collapsed any confidence I had about the half distance, and that torpedoed any running at all. I’d put a lot of pressure on myself in 2015 and 2016, completing a fair number of “in person” races, but also signing up for any and all virtual races that were even remotely attractive to me. It was that, I believe, that kiboshed my running this year.
You see, the pressure of having those medals in hand, and racing needed to “claim” them, put me in a bad spot mentally for running. Every run was a chore, because there was a requirement to go a certain distance so I could claim each little piece of bling sitting in my office, crying out to be hung up. I had to make the distance, and had to get “this many” done, because more were on the way in the mail.
That self-induced pressure simply shut me down, and I turned my running shoes into everyday shoes.
So I took most of 2017 off, spending my time off-roading and enjoying my recovery. I kept watching running groups on Facebook, though, and lived vicariously through others’ successes. And the more I watched, the more I realized I missed running. I missed the crowds of runners, cheering each other on, I missed the back of the pack, despite the solitary nature of running back there. I missed the camaraderie.
So this weekend, I started plotting my comeback for 2018.
I haven’t yet signed up for anything, but I’m trying to focus on some longer races — half marathons — along with some 5k races here and there. And I intend to travel a bit for some of these races, trying to recapture some of the fun I had with the destination races I ran in 2015 and 2016.
Short story — watch this space. I’m planning to be back on the road this year.