The Runner's Reward

Thursday, January 8, 2015

A New Year, A New Plan

Last fall I completed my first, and for now, only 50k. Afterwards I had been considering what the next step should be.  Do I go for longer distances, work on improving my speed over shorter distances, do I take more naps?  In the end I settled on training for the Pine Creek Challenge 100k slated for September of 2015.

I started planning right away.  I spoke with ultra runners, outlined training plans, milestones, and goals from January through September.  It was terrifying and exciting. I was really uncertain how to put the required time in to train for this.  My job is demanding and especially so in the summer months. It is not unusual to find me working 6-7 days a week, 10-12 hours a day. Regardless, I was determined to make it happen somehow.

A few weeks later my fiancee became ill. She had something that resembled a seizure followed by vomiting. She was taken by ambulance to the nearest hospital. They gave her fluids and released her later that evening with no diagnosis.  A few weeks later something similar happened again. She was hardly able to eat and was losing weight fast. We still weren't sure of the cause, but knew it wasn't just a case of the sniffles. After seeing the family doctor and getting additional testing the decision was made to send her for an endoscopy and see where it led.

A few days before the endoscopy she was feeling awful so we went to the hospital. This time they admitted her. Three days later they found her gallbladder was not functioning properly and removed it the following day.  She was able to come home on Thanksgiving. She is still recovering, but thankfully is doing much much better!

During her illness I realized a few things. One was that even if I could put in the time to train for the 100k it would mean not spending time with Tara.  It just wasn't worth it. I scrapped the plan and started considering other options.

The next thing I realized was that I could focus on a PR at the Pittsburgh Marathon instead of treating it as a training run! Last year I was on track for a PR by 15 minutes...until mile 22-23.  As I hit the downhill out of Bloomfield my quads went out. Then I started getting spasms in my calfs as well.  I lost over 20 minutes in those final 3 miles, but still hobbled my way to the finish line just under 4:20. It is high time for redemption.

There is a group of marathon enthusiasts you may  or may not have heard of: the Marathon Maniacs. Basically a bunch of insane people who run marathons..a lot.  I decided to take a run at qualifying for the group.  There are many levels of insanity to choose from. Here are just a few:

I am hoping to qualify somewhere between Bronze and Gold level. I'm signed up for the Akron Marathon and considering Erie, GAP Trestles, and possibly one in Northern Ohio. No land speed records on these. I'll likely be walking at least 1/2 of each race, but it sounds like a fantastic challenge!
 A New Year, a new plan, a new pair of shoes. I'm ready for 2015, are you?