Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Why do I run?

At first response it’s usually the same answer for me, I want to keep improving my times and I want to push my body to its limits and see how far I can take it.  And while yes that is a part of why I run, I think in retrospect it’s not the bulk of the reason.  It’s not the reason I am out there every day running 6-8 miles or putting myself in tons of pain for a workout, or running through 100 degrees heat or below zero temperatures.  The reason that I love running and I do run is the friends and family I have made through it over the years. The running community is this magical group, where you can meet a random person one day and they will without even a  second thought support you and cheer your performances.  Not just in running but also in life.  Where you can meet someone on the roads and be able to strike up a conversation without any judgment.  Running has given so much to me over the years that I can’t ever begin to repay it back.  I continue to do my best to be out there supporting friends, offering advice and just being a positive member to the running community but there is so much more it's given me.  Additionally, running is also more than just logging miles, doing workouts, pushing the body to me.  It’s also this amazing sport where a group of people who might never meet all bond together and come closer because of it.  In Baltimore I was lucky enough to find my current team, the Falls Road Racing Team and they are a huge part of the reason why I continue to run today. 

It’s running and an amazing leader who bring us all together at the beginning but the team itself is about so much more than running.  Sure we train together, we sometimes talk about running ad nauseam and we go to races together.  But through that we become a family, where we spend time outside of running together.  Where we care about one another, not just about how each others training is going but how their life is going.  Where we meet up outside of running as a group and make memories.  And where we support each other in racing but also in every aspect of life.  I doubt without running I would have met any of these wonderful people who now make up a huge part of everything in my life.  But thanks to running, I am glad I have.  Don’t get me wrong, I suffer through a workout on the track to improve my fitness and run faster, but I am also suffering with my friends. Which makes it that much more enjoyable.  In the end I just think when it comes to the question why do you run, it’s important to have an answer that keeps you coming back and keeps you motivated.  For me, my running team and the pursuit of constant improvement is what gets me out the door every day and as long as I have that I will continue to love running.

Recent Running:
Since Pittsburgh I took about a week of downtime to recharge the battery and then I got right back into training.  I wanted to keep this fitness around and do some shorter races for the next couple of months before moving into Marathon training for the fall.  I ran a couple races in May and then this past weekend with some push from a friend decided to try out an aggressive weekend double, Baltimore 10 Miler on Saturday, Bel Air Town Run 5k on Sunday.

Baltimore 10 Miler - It was a hot and humid morning and I knew there would be some competition for me at this race but I wanted to get out and see what happens.  I knew Dave Berdan was the local favorite and I was just bib #4471 when it came to race coverage and contenders.  No worries I was ready to go.  One of the reasons I choose this race was 5 years ago it was my first race back to competitive running, I got 100th place and ran 1:10:59 and I wanted to see how far I’ve come in the past five years.  So the gun went off and I got out early with Berdan, and despite it being hot and humid came through the mile a little quick around 5:15, rolled into 2 miles around 10:38 when a Howard County runner, the eventual winner Eric came by and the pace quicken.  I quickly knew I was not going to be able to handle this and fell back a bit but tried to keep enough contact in case the humidity got to anyone.  As we hit Lake Montebello(mile 4/5), it was clear I was off the pace and not getting top 2 today so I settled into 3rd and wanted to not lose my podium place.  At around mile 6 there was a turn around so I was able to calculate I had a 50 second lead on 4th.  With a race tomorrow I began to let my foot off the pedal a little bit, clearly way too much.  Sometimes you can get too cute in racing, today was an example of that for me.  As we rolled through the hills before getting back into Druid Lake I was feeling confident attacking the final big climb.  As I hit the final water stop I did a quick look back and saw my lead had shrunk to about 20 seconds.  Panic set in as I feared I was going to get caught as we entered the tack-on loop around the park.  I put on a big surge around one of the turns and looked back again (ugh I need to stop doing that) and knew I had it.  Rolled into the finish line 3rd place overall to the announcers saying “In 3rd place #4471, hold on we have no clue who that is” and then they proceeded to butcher my last name.  57:16 and 3rd place on a hot morning, I’ll take it.  Got a pretty fun glass container and got to spend the morning with the woman’s winner Meg, trying to appear in the background of her various interviews.  

Bel Air Town Run – Sunday it was about the Bel Air Town Run.  This was my second time running the Bel Air Town Run, first being in 2014 when I got 18th and ran 17:38.  I spent most of Saturday doing everything possible to get my legs ready for the next day.  Got to the line and the gun went off and the pace went out real hot.  Down the first hill by the corner we were rolling 4:30 pace and the leader Tyler was pulling away.  So I let him go and a pack of 3 of us formed behind him and stayed that way until the mile, 4:48.  On a hot humid morning, after a 10 mile race probably not the best idea.  After the mile the pack broke down to 2 of us, and at about 1.75 miles second place finisher Chris pulled away and I decided to not go with him.  Probably the thing I am most upset about all weekend.  I convinced myself in the moment to let him go and I’d go after him at the last big hill around 2.5 miles.  I’ll need to be mentally tougher during a 5k in the future, the race is too short for mental lapses like this. I rolled through 2 miles in 10:11 and when we got to 2.5, I was about 10 seconds back but made no move.  Rolling down the final hill I could see him finish and ended up with another 3rd place finish with my fastest 5k 16:25 since college.  All in all if that’s the only thing I am upset with this weekend I can deal with it.  Watched our woman’s team go 1-2-3 so that’s fun and hung out afterwards and got another fun award and some money.  Overall a great racing weekend.

Up Next for Me:
My fall season is up in the air currently not sure what I will target as my peak race but I’m pretty sure I am targeting a Marathon.  As for the summer I’ll do some more local 5k’s, 10k’s and maybe a half sometime in September.

If you’d like to read more about me, I was given the great honor from the Baltimore Road Runners to be the Member of the Month for June 2016.  Get to know me better here

Lastly check out some fun pictures from the past couple weeks of racing.  And lastly I added an email section if you would like alerts for future blog posts!