Wednesday, September 5, 2012

I'm going back to the start

For such as time as this
Esther 4:14

I love the time I spend alone running where my only company is the steady cadence of my feet and the depth of my breath that somehow seem constant no matter what the chosen pace is. It's all silent stillness here as I trek through desolate paths which seem unexplored and all that surrounds a runner is nature. I've forgotten how being encased in green stirs my soul creating peace and what that steady cadence of my feet and the depth of my breath sound like. All this time it's been there fading into the hum of Lakeshore Drive traffic and Lake Michigan's waves that created quite a bit of mind chatter making complete peace seem impossible.

Running isn't my end-all-be-all, it's just something I do.

2012 has showed me this. It has humbled me in such a way where the unstoppable forces guiding me in the early parts of the year made me out for a tunneled visioned fool. I'm a runner, but I'm also a wife, daughter, sister, friend, coach, entrepreneur, Christian, dreamer, and so much more. My happiness in life isn't determined by finish times and splits, but I somehow let myself get caught up in the magic of speed that dangles in front of every runner early in the year. A little bit made me selfish and hungry for more, where it all in due time blew up in my face. A knee boo-boo, the never-ending training cycle that I let myself get tangled up in, and my relentless focused heart all powered the steam engines of desire for more.

Citius, Altius, Fortius
Faster, Higher, Stronger

4 days out from half marathon #3 for the year where my Garmin is busted, I've had only a handful of successful workouts this cycle which only surfaced in the past few weeks, and I've had to learn to do more with less this summer. My mileage has been at an all time low since April where the quality of work being put in has always trumped the quantity. Last year at this time I was clocking 80+ mile weeks like it was no big deal, but I was tired, beat, and had a hard time getting through my key workouts. Until earlier this year I thought that the AMOUNT of miles I put in was the deal-clincher for last September's half marathon PR, but after analyzing the data and flipping back through running logs I realized most of the miles I forced myself to put in were crap. 80+ mile weeks are useless if my body could only handle 1 pathetic speed workout a week that left me feeling beat to hell.

So I scratched everything I knew about myself this summer, and decided to go back to the basics. Back to the start of it all. Back to running for fun and seeing where that gets me. Putting in miles for the sake of putting in miles was leading me nowhere and something had to change. For me it turns out that the secret to running PR's and kick butt workouts isn't the AMOUNT of miles that I clock at all, rather it's the QUALITY of the miles that I'm putting in and how they stoke the embers to my dreams. 

A 30 second 5k PR 33 days after complete and total burn out this July wouldn't have been possible if I didn't fall flat on my face in the spring months. It's no coincidence that I reached my breaking point causing me to reconsider where I'm headed with life and running, instead it was just what I needed when I needed it. Looking ahead to Sunday I know that I've lost a bit of ground in the past 4-5 months, but still feel fitter than ever where each foot strike seems to be filled with zest and lust for one hell of a race. 

It's been one heck of a year where the chaos of the last few months has been a blessing in disguise. There has been no time for self doubt or over thinking, only stone cold execution. I'm as ready as I'll ever be and have the urge to run until my feet feel like they are on fire and quads are screaming for me to stop. While my heart still wants that sub 1:25 finish, clock time has lost it's importance recently to me and has instead been replaced by nostalgic feeling for what it's like to run a race where there is no reason to hold back.

2011 Oak Brook Half Marathon, my PR 1:27
Can you do more on less?
Only 4 more days to find out.

"The purpose of a race isn't to win, it's to test the limits of the human heart."
Bill Bowerman in Without Limits  


  1. I love that your PR was at Oak Brook! I did that race once and the hills killed me.

    Have a great race!

    1. I love that course! The hills are short, but man they are steep as all heck! Hope to run that race next year again, maybe I'll see you there!

  2. Great post. i think my body is dealing with a bit of burnout after marathon training and this is really helping reshape the way I am thinking of moving forward. I get so caught up in the miles and I think I need to concentrate more on the QUALITY of those miles not the quantity.

    Good luck!

  3. This post is wonderful! You've grown so much this year- its truly inspiring. I hope you fly like the wind this weekend and enjoy every single step you take.

    For your garmin, I'm sure you've tried this but I'll mention it in case- try doing a "master" reset. If you google it you'll find a page on the garmin site how to do it. It will erase everythif on your garmin and hopefully make it as fresh as the day you first took it out of the box. (there's also a regular reset which doesn't do all of the erasing the master one does)

    Happy running and best wishes to you!

  4. Oh ya.. almost race time. Trust in your training, looks like you have had some fabulous runs and some of the other kind, too. But that's ok. You get those out of the way and it leaves an EXCELLENT ONE waiting for you on race day.

    Best of luck with your Garmin issue. Looks like (from your post) that you were at least able to get it to work recently. Hoping that continues.

  5. It is awesome how we, as runners, can really begin to know ourselves through our trials and errors. Some thrive on high mileage- others on speed. I found that I can handle a few weeks of high mileage to get a great half marathon, but trying to repeat that for marathon training 3-4 months later ends in catastrophe. I am glad you are experimenting and using your log to guide you forward. You will have a great race!

  6. Britt, I am so excited for you! I have so much faith in you and believe you will get this PR without a doubt!

  7. Oh it is quite the journey isn't it? My half PR was also at Oakbrook (inaugural year). It was how and I was surprised by the hills. I ended up finally crushing that one a few years later on a cooler, much easier course. Ah the memories.
    You are discovering what works for you. I have no doubt you'll find it!

  8. Good for you! Knowing yourself and what works best for YOU is half the battle. I see a PR coming!

  9. awesome awesome post. You have been through it all and now you know where you stand. you are a runner, yes, but also so much more.
    Along with being a runner, you are an AMAZING athlete.

    1:25 half? you got this girl! Good luck!

  10. Amazing post! Such a great quote and I'm sure you will rock this race.

  11. Thinking of you this weekend Britt. Such a beautiful expression of your thoughts. May you find no reason to hold back:)