In my work as an educator, I see how people process their thinking in different ways. For some, it's through quiet reflection, for others, it's through conversation, for some, sketching, and so forth. I think for me, writing is how I best process my thinking. That's why I started this blog a few years ago.
For a long while, I was using my blog mostly to process my thoughts about races. For maybe five years, I was running about one ultra a month, so my blog posts were pretty frequent. Now, however, since I haven't been racing, I haven't been blogging. While I keep a daily journal, most of these entries are bullet points, and it's just not the same as typing out my thoughts in a slightly more formal way, with the possibility of a real-world audience. (Even if it's just my mom, who I know subscribes to my blog posts. Thanks, Mom!)
So I'll start with an update. Over the past 7 weeks, I've averaged 52 miles a week. The longest run was 26.9 miles. I feel like I'm getting back the consistency that's key to ultrarunning. However, I still am not at all confident that I could finish an ultra at this point. When I do a 10-mile run, I slog and plod, wondering in disbelief how I was ever able to do 50- and 100-mile races. Running is hard! I can barely accomplish double digits right now.
I had seriously considered doing Muleshoe Bend 60k last weekend, just to gut it out and see if I could finish. (That would have been my longest run since February.) . But Joe and I looked at our calendars last week and realized that that was the only weekend this whole summer where we could take the kids up to Houston to see their grandparents, so we did that instead. I'm still hoping to do Colorado Bend and Reveille Peak Ranch 60ks and be abundantly humbled, but also get good training in for our Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim adventure at the end of September.
Joe (who has also been taking a break from serious training and racing) recently commented that he feels like he has good balance in his life now. I think I feel that way, too. In the past, running played such a huge role in my life -- in terms of time, energy, money, and also as the generator of and connection to many friendships. Ultra running became a huge part of my identity, and played a big role in my self-worth, as well as helping me find a niche in my new community after moving to Texas. Running definitely played too big a role in my life for me to say that my life was "balanced" -- and yet, I was pretty happy with that lack of balance.
Now, my identity has shifted so greatly. Since December, I have taken on new roles as a wife and a stepmom to two girls. Running has taken a backseat to family commitments. And I gratefully accepted this shift, as I was really burned out, mentally and physically, after last year's ultras. I think my recent uptick in mileage has been good for actually bringing running back into my life. Not as the forefront, anymore, but as a complement to (and therapy for) the newer parts of my identity.
I do hope that I can have success in ultras again, but I can't say when that will realistically happen. Probably not this year. But I think keeping consistency in my running mileage will be key to coming back to ultrarunning at some point in my future. (It could happen, right?!)
So here's to more frequent blogs, as Joe and I both try to become runners again. Thanks for reading, Mom! :)