Catching Up on Running & Life

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted on here – turns out, it’s a lot more fun to talk about a goal race or a training cycle that’s geared towards a specific race. Lately I’ve felt like I’ve had a lot to say, and then I go to put pen to paper and nothing flows; it’s as if the last few months have been like having writer’s block. When the stay at home order was announced in our state in late March, I was eager and ambitious to use my extra time at home to put together new content, but I think I was naively thinking the stay at home order would be a one month thing, we’d go back to work, and we’d be back to “normal” by the summer and I quickly burned out on trying to be creative with coming up from at-home workouts or chalking the neighborhood with positive messages, etc. I was expending a lot of energy trying to give my positive energy away to others but not reserving enough for myself and it caught up to me a couple months ago.

Chalk drawings I did around the neighborhood

It was around that time that I started running on Tuesdays with a new group of friends (thanks to my friend, Marie, for getting us together!) and Tuesdays quickly became my favorite day of the week where I got to see people in a safe setting on the roads at 5:45 a.m. when the rest of the world was asleep. Without races, it’s been fun to time trial with these friends, many of whom are much speedier than I am, and try to keep them within eyeshot. This is the same crew I’m going to run virtual Boston and NYC with for fun and seeing other people finding joy and solace in running has been just what I needed during this time.

The Tuesday crew running on our open road closed to traffic for maximum social-distancing

I ran a few mile time trials this summer, never really getting an ideal weather day for any of them, and was a little disappointed to have not made much progress from when I ran the first one without any speedwork under my legs. I ran the first in April in 5:48, another in May in 5:44, and then the final one in July in another 5:44. I really had to do a lot of self-reflecting after that final mile trial and think about why I was so bummed out about this. I wrote about it a little on Instagram, that I had always wondered “what-if” had I continued running in college on a team after high school if I’d improve my PR of 5:33 and after focusing on the mile this summer, had thought it would make me happy if I could surpass that 10 years later. I also think that my joy was being wrapped up in trying to obtain a PR in something, since real races were no longer an option in 2020. In all honesty, I would like to try to race this event again in the Fall when it’s cooler weather, however, I have also accepted that unless I want to spend a year or so focusing on the mile, it would be silly to think I could beat an old PR where 1-3 mile races were my only focus for the year. Maybe my best mile days are behind me, but I believe my best half and full marathon days are still ahead and that’s where I want to focus my energy.

Working on speed for the mile time trials

After mile training, I continued training for our Team Sugar Runs Virtual 5K in August. Workouts were going very well and I felt ready to run a PR in the 5K. Ross and I ended up putting a 2-week road trip together very last minute at the end of July and it happened to overlap with when I was going to run the team 5K. I was fortunate to find a small, local race in Montana that was still happening that coincided with my virtual race date and signed up. Getting to be back in the racing environment again was amazing and I wouldn’t trade that for the world, but I knew after a week of hiking and the race being at higher altitude that it likely wouldn’t draw out my fastest time. I still finished in 20:02, which is only 14 seconds off of my PR at much lower elevation, and I’m really proud of that, but something inside me is wondering in ideal conditions on a course near home what could I run? I’d like to try it out and just see what happens later this Fall even though I won’t be specifically training for the 5K anymore.

Real live 5K in Lakeside, Montana

I’m spending the rest of this Fall training for the virtual Boston Marathon which I’ll be running on September 12th with my friends for fun, then continuing on my endurance build to the virtual NYC Marathon where I’m running for future guaranteed entry simply by completing the event. My big goal for the Fall is to work up to my highest mileage week ever and to see how my body responds to it as a risk-free experiment for future cycles. If my body isn’t happy, I can always drop down in mileage, but now is a good time to try something new while I don’t have a goal race on the books. My highest mileage week ever sits at 62 miles and I’m hoping to crack 70 or 75 this Fall if all goes to plan.

As a life update, Ross and I are really fortunate to still be employed and living comfortably at home. There have been small pay cuts but we are grateful for every day that we continue to be employed and have stability knowing that others are not as fortunate right now. It is a difficult time to be a running coach with all events canceled, but I’m lucky to have a team of athletes who continue to show up for themselves throughout this all to be ready for when races return. One of my goals coming into 2020 was to continue to grow my coaching business and through March that was going really well, but understandably some of my athletes have needed to take a break due to economic or personal reasons and while it’s tough as a coach, I support their decisions 100% because right now, we each need to do what’s best for ourselves and our families. Lola, our dog, is thriving in quarantine because she loves having us home. Her favorite activity is suntanning in the backyard throughout the day and she will sit at the sliding glass door waiting for us to let her out. We often have to call her in so she doesn’t overheat!

On our family road trip to Montana – even Lola came with and hiked!

It’s crazy to think we’re about to enter September. Last September Ross and I spent a spontaneous weekend in London extending his business trip and it seems like eons ago. I’ve started to think about my spring running plans, which would include running Boston 2021, but I do not think it’s going to be possible for Boston to happen in April of next year sadly just based off of where we’re at at both a country and worldwide level heading into September 2020. I’m optimistic we may see bigger events in the Fall next year after a vaccine has been released, but I think they will look a lot different than what we’ve seen in the past. I do think, however, that we’ll see smaller races occur in the spring since we’ve already started to see some successfully be put on this summer. I do know that I plan to do a full cycle gearing up towards either a half or full marathon in the spring because I want the excitement of doing that again, but only time will tell what I ultimately decide to do! I am chasing joy in everything that I do this year and following my heart, because now more than ever, if the things we’re doing aren’t bringing us happiness, then they’re just not worth doing.

I’ll try to be more regular on my blog documenting training and life updates. I honestly feel lucky that I haven’t had more to update on and grateful for the mundane because that means we’re healthy and stable. I hope all of you are staying healthy as well and finding joy in the little things. We’re all in this together.

-Katherine

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