Monday, July 1, 2013

The New Normal

I'm not sure where I fit in exactly among the other authors of this blog--given that I'm neither an academic OR a lawyer--but I was honored when Ted welcomed into the inner circle. I suggested that maybe we could broaden the meaning of the blog's name to include not just "profs" but "professionals." I may not be a professional runner, but I do have a full-time job and I run. 

Ted and I spent the summer of 2005 training together in the early mornings. I was a full-time grad student spending the summer in Brooklyn with my husband...whose mom happened to be dean of BLS. Although a freak squash accident prevented Ted from getting to the starting line of NYCM that fall, I think we both agree that our summer training regimen got us into pretty good shape. 

At that time, I was running 60-75 miles per week and getting to the track every Wednesday night to work out with CPTC (and my Boston club once I was back up there). I was so hard on myself when I felt sluggish or had a bad workout, but I would have appreciated what I had far more had I known that I would develop a bad knee injury shortly after PR-ing at Boston the next spring. We graduated and moved back to D.C. and I tried everything I could to fix my knee--including finally having arthroscopy to clean it up in April 2008. 

Things improved, but I never felt like I was back to where I had been. I was spinning more than I was running and I wasn't completely pain-free. I just kept thinking it would take more time. Then I got pregnant and had a baby (and a C section) in early 2011. Despite my best intentions, my ability to run during pregnancy was limited and it was a very long road back that next year. And I never could get back to the days of 8 minute pace being easy pace. 

Even though I harbor secret thoughts of getting back some speed in time to become a masters runner, I am slowly but surely accepting the fact that a slower me is the new normal. I did a ten miler, my first race since Boston 2006, this spring--and I ran 8 minute pace. And it didn't feel easy (but it didn't feel that bad, actually). I'm learning to test myself again and trying to introduce some "speed" work when I don't have some niggle or another. A lot of it is on the treadmill, something that I still find unpalatable but would have found inconceivable 5 years ago. But getting in my run inside is better than not getting in my run at all. 

I do not enjoy 5Ks (more so now that it takes me about that long to warm up) but I think I'll be doing a low-key race on July 4. I also signed up for the Parks Half-Marathon, and my goal for that is to (to paraphrase a recent interview with Shalane Flanagan) is to "embrace the discomfort."

Mom loves the treadmill! 


  1. Welcome Becky!! It seems fitting, as you were the first person I knew who had a running blog. That was where I made my first appearance on the internets as a runner (although at the time it was as "T__"). I don't think we need to over think the criteria. You are a running buddy! That's pretty much how this blog really got started anyway. Cheers!!!

  2. Indeed -- welcome. Professionals, professors, friends and family of professors -- how about, informally, "those who would run more if real life didn't get in the way"? Of course, if Shalane Flanagan wants to join, I suppose we can change that too.

  3. Welcome Becky. We have gained a fabulous contributor but may have lost our only reader!

  4. Hah! Well, I am in PR (sort of), but I don't think we're ready for an ad campaign just yet.