Racers take your mark.

Racers take your mark.

"Racers take your mark.."

The words and moments of dripping adrenaline before coasting into the familiar movements after a season of training. I think it's safe to say this in close combination with the minute I step over the finish line and feel the aura of accomplishment are what keeps me - maybe keeps us all - racing.

In exactly 2 weeks, I step onto the start line of the Chicago marathon anticipating those words, those feelings. Despite the nerves and anxiousness already setting in, I'm craving them. I'm craving the feeling of overcoming every challenging workout, humidity streaked practice, pulled mid-season muscle, and frequently bruised ego which has been the hallmark of this training season.

A good friend of mine told me a few weeks back, "It's not the running that gets harder. My body knows how to do that at this point. It's the mental part of the sport that just keeps getting harder."

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LG Got her Grove Back

LG Got her Grove Back

I’ve lived and have been running in NYC for about 7 years now. For 6 of those years I never ran the NYC Half Marathon. But this year the lottery gods were on my side, and I finally received an entry through NYRR.  I’ve always heard how fun of a race it is, and what a great course it is, so I was pumped to be part of it this year.

With the marathon about 2 months behind me and being right in the middle of the long, cold winter months, I had been feeling less than motivated to run and was getting antsy to train for something, anything.  So this was perfect timing. I picked out a training plan I found online, and put everything in my calendar. Long runs on the weekends, some hill work, plans to go to the track, added in some cross training and yoga days. I was ready to go!

Week 1 came and went and - running wise - was kind of .. no it WAS.. a fail.  It’s okay, I told myself, next week you will get to it.  Well, week 2 came and went and same thing. Aaaaand week 3 was a repeat of weeks 1 and 2.

I don’t know what it was, but running felt SO. FREAKIN. HARD.  My weekend long runs were mostly awful feeling and there were several times I thought to myself “How on earth did I run 26.2 miles only 2 months ago?!”. Any weekday hill or speed work plans I had were thrown out the window. Those runs just became about getting in a few miles.

With March 19th quickly approaching, I was feeling like I had lost my running mojo and was not looking forward to the race at all anymore.  Even the day before and the morning of, the pre-race excitement adrenaline was not kicking in.  I just wanted to get it over with.

Well, for how crabby pants I was about the whole thing, to my utter shock, I had SO MUCH FUN and totally crushed the course feeling strong AF.  There was no PR, but it was the second best half marathon I’ve ever run. The second I crossed that finish line, before even looking at my watch to see my time, I thought to myself: “Oh yea! Stella’s got her groove back!”

So this all obviously has me thinking, what gives?! How did I go from being miserable about even running the NYC Half to having one of my best races in a loooooooong time?

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