“Running has never failed to give me great end results, and that's why I keep coming back for more!” ~ Sasha Azevedo

Now what? That's the first question that popped into my head the second I crossed the finish line this past Sunday. Well, maybe it was after I got my medal, chugged my bottle of water, become reoriented with the world at a stand still and caught my breath. This weekend I completed my first half marathon. Yeah, I like to do things backwards. I wasn't even an hour post race before I started chatting about what I was going to do next. Before I had even completed the San Diego marathon I had signed up for the Hershey 1/2. I didn't want a lull in my training, because I knew I'd slack off and not run the weekly miles that I should. But now, now, I find myself in a lull. I have no race, no schedule, no prize to seek. I have "off" for the next 3 months.

This is the first time since last January that I don't have a race on the "books." I just completed 10 months (minus 6 weeks of broken foot hiatus) of training. I trained for eight and a half months straight, averaging 20 to 40 miles per week!!! I know in retrospect that's nothing compared to the amount a lot of runners do in a year. However, for me, it's huge. Before I started training for San Diego I maybe worked out 2 hours per week. Running 1 mile a week felt like a huge accomplishment.

Lately, it's been a bit of a whirlwind around Chez Chisolm. I have been adjusting to my son's daily school schedule, my daughter's StoryPlay group, play date schedule, a little afternoon side job, two weeknight sports, and general, everyday living. In addition to my training schedule, it has left me feeling a little overwhelmed. The thing is, I thrive under pressure. I love having a lot on my plate. It makes me feel wanted, needed and special. When things slow down I find myself bored, and longing for chaos.

My running schedule helps me manage that chaos, in some odd way. I feel a sense of control over my hectic day knowing that I will get to do something that I love. Somewhere in between school drop-off, laundry and dinner cooking, I will get to run. But somewhere, deep down inside, I'm sick of the schedule. I'm tired of eating, sleeping and breathing according to a schedule. I had great satisfaction taking the training schedule off of the refrigerator and throwing it away yesterday.

Then, here I am today, faced with the "now what's?" Training for my next event (ahem, another marathon!) isn't starting for another 3 months. We all know the winter is a tough time for runners. It's cold, the roads are icy, beds are warm and toasty. I am definitely going to keep running during this interim, and frequently. My goal is to maintain a 20 to 30 mile per week average with my long runs being no shorter than 10 miles. The fun part is that I get to make my own schedule, and if I miss a run, it won't matter. I am going to get back to running just for me, not because I'm training, not because I have a race to prepare for, just because. It will be nice to head and just run any distance on any given day. If I'm feeling good and I want to do 4 instead of my "scheduled" 2, good! I'm going to turn those "now what's?" into "so what's?"

The other day my kids each put on one of my Bondi Bands and raced around the house in their pajamas. I had the best time watching them run with reckless abandon. They didn't care about anything, except for the fact that they were "running like mommy." It was so inspiring to watch them run, and be happy. They weren't going anywhere in particular, they weren't wearing a watch to see how far they had gone, they were just running for the fun of it, and that is what I plan to do for the next 3 months.

Run Hard,
Run Strong,
Run for You,

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