Sometimes changing your course with running reinvigorates your love for the sport…
by Lauren Gabler
In the Fall of 2008, I ran my first marathon at the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, DC. It was an all-around amazing experience. I ran a Boston qualifier (BQ), was inspired by our military, and thought I found my calling in long distance running. In fact, I loved it so much that I made a commitment to run 50 marathons by age 50, which, at the young age of 25, was only 2 per year! What a deal.
However, over the thousands of miles logged, my passion for running quickly went from all-encompassing to non-existent. I even welcomed a horrible case of plantar-fasciitis-turned-stress-fracture because it meant that I didn’t have to run. To say that’s a bad place to be is to put it lightly.
During an introspective conversation with my fiancé (and the Washington Running Club’s el Prez), Kirk Masterson, on our long drive back from another disappointing, injury-plagued Boston Marathon, I recognized that I was running merely to PR, to reach an arbitrary goal of running 50 by 50, and, what’s worse, because I defined myself as a marathoner and not a runner. This conversation made it very clear that running became more a job than a passion – something that I had to do rather than what I wanted to do.
The conversation also brought me back to basics. I remembered that I started running cross country in high school because I loved going back into the woods, running fast, and coming out of the tree line stronger than I started. I also recalled the stress I felt during indoor and spring track because of external pressures of being “on stage”; I’ve always performed better when out of the spotlight, when left alone to develop and act on my own talents. I realized that road races, while lively and fun, were similar to track in that it gave me the “all eyes on me” feeling that churned my stomach years ago.
And this, in a roundabout way, is why I decided to sign up for the Blues Cruise 50K.