“Every day, in every way, I’m getting better and better.”
Looking for a new job just plain sucks. The constant letter writing, internet searches and networking follow ups is exhausting. Not to mention the constant rejection. One minute you are on a high because people are saying you are the greatest thing they’ve seen, the next minute you are hearing how inadequate your experience is. I actually had someone tell me during the interview I was going to fail…well thanks for bringing me in.
Things have not been all bad during this current period of transition, but it is still so much easier to focus on my running goals since everything else in my life is up in the air. I mentioned in my last post that I had finally accomplished my goal of running a half marathon in under 2 hours. Since that goal was reserved for the Providence Half Marathon, I wasn’t sure what I should set my sights on. Should I try for a faster time? Should I just relax and enjoy myself?
A few weeks before the big day, some pains in my left knee and calf kind of made some last minute decisions for me. I had to back off my training a little. The pain tended to go away while I was running, but the next day I found it difficult to even walk. Despite this, I did not want to give up Providence completely – I had come so far. I dialed back some of my training but stuck to a few things – making sure I could get a few higher mileage runs in and sticking to my speed goals at the track. I ended up skipping some short runs and one of my long runs turned into a short run. I started to get worried that I would even have a good time at Providence, since I was not being as dedicated. As I prepared myself mentally, I said goodbye to the notion of a PR. However, I still wanted to get under 2 hours – and I would try as hard as my leg was still attached.
What I am most proud of this year is my improvements in running. It’s easy for depression to set in when everyday is the same old job search/job interview routine. But when I get on that track and realize that I did all my 800’s within my 3:45 goal or when I run a 5K in under 25 minutes, I feel alive again. I feel I have purpose, that I’m finally accomplishing something instead of just waiting for people to get back to me. It carries me on those days when I’m just angry at the world for not seeing the value of me. This is why I had to run Providence – the final race that I had set for my 2018 plan.
Providence, RI is kind of a special city for me. It was where I got my undergraduate degree , so it’s the first real city where I felt semi on my own. It’s also the city where I met my current boyfriend (we met at college). My family has ties to it as well since my mother grew up not far from there and my father also went to college there. The weekend of the race also happened to be my 39th birthday, so I knew I would need a distraction from the inevitable downward spiral of thoughts that occur when you are close to 40 and unemployed. It all came together beautifully as I somehow convinced two of my closest friends to run the race and spend the weekend there with me and my boyfriend. I got to celebrate my birthday, get some great Italian food and run this race I had deferred from last year. I knew it would be a fun race since the marathon was also happening at the same time, which usually means there is a great energy from the crowd. The weather forecast was showing cooler temperatures and no sun – which was great since you never know what you are going to get in May.
At the start of the race, I decided to make my way immediately over to the 2 hour pacer. I figured I could stay with him for most of the race and he could get me to a point where I could at least get a 1:59:59. I noticed we were pretty far up front and when the race went off, I realized we were going out pretty fast. The wave of momentum of all the racers behind us pushed us even faster and I looked at my watch and thought “This is a 7:55 mile! Too fast! Too fast!” We started to slow down a little but the first mile was so chaotic with the crowd of people and almost getting tripped multiple times. I sped ahead of the pacer at this point, figuring he would probably pass me at some point. I never saw him again.
The air felt cool and even though there was a potential for rain in the forecast, it never came. I decided to get some water around mile 4, but could only see the Gatorade people. They told me water was further up. I passed the whole table before I realized they meant the water was at the same table, not a separate table so I turned around to get some. I reached out as someone handed me a cup and another runner stole it right from under me. I tried to grab the other cup the volunteer was holding but another runner did the same. I turned to the guy next to him and he was holding Gatorade for some reason. “AUGH! I need water!” I yelled and grabbed a cup from the table and took off, annoyed that this probably cost me a few minutes.
At the beginning of this race, I was told this was one of the hilliest courses there is. I don’t quite agree with that, although I wouldn’t say the course is flat. I was warned about mile 5, but when I got there, I scoffed at how ridiculous the complaint was. However, when I reached mile 7, that is where things got hard, as the hill lasted a full half mile. The route was nice, going through some neighborhoods, up by Pawtucket and then through some parks. By mile 11, I was feeling the fatigue and not feeling as strong as I remember during my last half in VA. I kept up with my pace and pushed myself towards the last turn. I saw the finish line and bolted to it, giving all I had. I finished in 1:57:19, which was not as good as last time, but still under my goal time. I did it, I had beaten Providence in under two hours. I made it happen with all the challenges that occurred that month.
The after party was mellow, but fun since I had some friends there. I enjoyed my victory beer and thought about what’s next. Working towards this goal was a nice distraction from the painful job search process, but now I need a small break from all the hard training. I need to heal physically and mentally. Most importantly I need to get back to crushing my life goals as well – hopefully things will turn around soon.