I think the second year is the hardest.
I ran in a race yesterday that made me think about it (more on that at the Apex Turkey Trot 5k Race Report). I do my best thinking during a race I’m in the middle of my second year of running – and racing – and I have had a tough time. Thank God I inherited dogged determination from my Dad. It used to annoy me about him, but I’m ever so grateful for it now. It is that tenacity that kept me going during the rough periods this year – and there were plenty to be had this year.
The first year was full of all sorts of accomplishments – first time at 4 miles, then 5, then 6. Personal records every single race. Better overall health and weight loss. Goals met. Then… I accomplished a goal I never thought I’d be able to accomplish: I ran a half marathon. Not only did I run it the whole way, I ran it in under 2 hours, something I wanted to accomplish for my second one. I felt awesome during the whole 13.1. I was on fire.
I felt invincible.
But, after that half marathon, I couldn’t quite get back what I had before. I hit wall after wall after wall. I had to quit the Tarheel 10-miler/Fleet Feet 4-miler (I was in the 4-miler, I thought) because I had somehow missed a turn. I almost quit a 10k because of stomach issues. Then it got hot and I didn’t run outside the year before, so I could never hit the average time I had even for the Half, let alone for any of the 5ks. I hit a plateau with my average time and it frustrated me to no end. I could barely finish a 3 mile run, let alone a 6, and there were many days I couldn’t run at all because I felt like I was made of lead.
But, I kept going.
Einstein once said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result (I’m paraphrasing, but that is the gist). I understand that sentiment now. I did eventually get a different result. I changed things – I started running at different times of the day. I split longs so that I did half at one point, half at another. I added other activities to break up the monotony of it all. I joined a run group. I started running with other people to keep me accountable.
I’m slowly getting it all back. The cooler weather has helped, and I think I understand what I need to do next summer.
Regardless – I’m glad I stuck to it.