The other half of Hanson’s Half

Also known as the half that didn’t happen.

Back in August I wroteI’m more than halfway through Hanson’s Half marathon plan with the goal of a sub-2 hour race on October 15th. Things are going okay but also they kind of suck and I kind of want to quit.

If you are following along on Strava you may have noticed that not only did I not run a half marathon on October 15th but I barely ran in October. After my labor day “tune-up” half marathon got cancelled I completely lost momentum. First, our trip to Bend was supposed to be a weekend of running and sunshine but it ended up being hazardous due to forest fires and we had to do short, boring runs on a treadmill. Upon my return to Seattle I tried to get back into it but had a funky week where my schedule got messed up due to a work retreat followed by a visit from my Mom. I’m not sure what happened but I’ll just chalk it up to overtraining and lack of motivation (and lack of cross-training and strength training). By mid-September I started having odd hip pains. Not when I was running and not even after I went for a run but on my rest days or in the middle of the night. That quickly followed with increasingly painful sciatica. I took off a week and tried to do some stretching and light yoga but the pain only got worse. So no half marathon for me. No PRs and really not much of anything.

And I still have sciatica. I just went to the doctor to rule out a stress fracture or a slipped disc. Nope. I’m pretty sure I have some muscle imbalances and piriformis syndrome (been there, done that once before). I’m being stubborn and not going to a PT for now.

I’m not terribly sad about it but a bit frustrated with myself. I think shooting for unrealistic* goals and not putting in all the work was THE BIG MISTAKE I made this year. I’m almost 49 and I am definitely noticing the effects that aging and menopause have on my running. I don’t recover as quickly. My stride is stiffer and creaky. My body has changed a lot in the last 2 years. It takes a lot more work to be an older, healthy runner. Work that I am maybe too lazy to do.

*I set my Hansons tempo pace at 8:46 and that was too ambitious. I can’t help but wonder if I’d only shot for 8:55… or 8:59, would I have stayed healthy and succeeded in a sub 2 hour half? I keep thinking that so many runners I know can run sub 2. Why can’t I? I suppose the first thing I need to quit doing is comparing myself to others. Especially to people who are younger than me. Duh.

2017 hasn’t really been bad, actually. There were quite a few things that I enjoyed about running this year. Bloomsday was a blast (and I earned a yellow bib)! I ran on beautiful trails in Bellingham and Snohomish. I PR’d my half marathon without even setting out to do so. I ran my first trail race. And I got to run in both Boston and NYC. I placed 2nd in my age group and I ran every freaking day in June.

For 2018, I don’t want to set any lofty goals. I want to get back to a fully healthy body (sure, I might have to cave and go see that PT…) and run many happy miles. Just before my hips started going downhill in September, I noticed that many of my runs weren’t fun anymore. I dreaded doing those tempos and I’m sure if someone saw me running they would have thought I looked like I was in a lot of pain. The truth is, I wasn’t in pain, but I also wasn’t having fun. I’ve seen other runners out on training runs looking totally miserable, pushing their pace, and I totally don’t want to be that runner. If it means no more PR’s, then I’m a-okay with that.

Grateful Dad Half – June 2017 (A PR!)
Carkeek Warmer Trail 5K – July 2017. I would have finished in 10th place (female) but a 60+ woman dodged in front of me at the last minute and yelled “I was going to do the 10K but I’ve decided to just to the 5K!” Argh!!! 🙂
Running up “Doomsday” Hill (white hat) at Bloomsday – May 2017