Running, part I

This weekend I ran my first race in three years.  The last race I ran was the 2006 New York City Marathon.  Three days after the race I started my trek west, for what I thought would be a ski season in Utah.  About a month after that I crashed while skiing at Alta and shredded my MCL and meniscus.

It’s crazy how seemingly insignificant things can completely alter the trajectory of your life.

I digress.  In college, I ran a lot.  Partly it was the stress of being 19 years old, on my own for the first time in my life, and in a city where trees are few and far between.  If I didn’t run for a week or two my stress level would build to the point explosion.  I was so committed I would go to Central Park when it was sleeting, raining buckets, below zero, and a couple of times during finals I went in the middle of the night (always with company).  It was so freeing to just be able to throw on some shoes and book it around the city.

It helped, too, that I had company.  My school had a club that was affiliated with New York Road Runners.  We had a serious hook up with races and no shortage of training buddies.  On weekends in the fall a group of us would often do long runs together, looping around the park again and again, or going down the West Side Highway to Battery Park, or across the GW bridge to New Jersey.  It was pretty fun to be able to say later in the day “I ran to Jersey this morning.”  One of those running buddies became one of my closests friends.  She is now running ultramarathons in South Africa and I just airmailed her a big box full of GU.

At some point running stopped being fun and started being something of a dredge.  I was plagued by injuries–I’m pretty sure only runners even know what a piriformis is, but damn it hurts when you tear it.  I became way too obsessed with training, with getting the miles in, and not focused enough on the euphoria that comes with a hard workout.   My second NYC marathon I was trying to break 4 hours so the entire time I was stressed that I wasn’t making my mile splits.  I tried to make up for a slow second and third mile by running way too fast the next few miles.  As any past or present marathoner will tell you, this is the worst possible strategy.  I came up 6 minutes over my goal time.

On some level, my jacked up knee was a blessing.  When I couldn’t run I remembered all the things I missed.  I started back up slow, mile by mile, first on a treadmill and then on the trails.  I wasn’t doing all that much until recently, partly from cosseting my knee and partly because I had become obsessed with all the other sports you can do in Utah.  Like rock climbing.  And skiing.  And backcountry skiing.  And hiking big mountains.  And the occasional bike ride thrown in for kicks.

In July, on something of a whim, I challenged J to a half marathon in Moab.

To be continued…

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One Response to “Running, part I”

  1. Robyn Urry Carter Says:

    You need to post some pics girl!

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