But the day after I returned from Vancouver - actually, not even a day later, literally 5 hours later, I was on a flight to Minneapolis on my way to a shoot with my 'real' job. I was even supposed to head to Atlanta that night but LUCKILY my flight was delayed and we ended up just flying back to Milwaukee rather than get stuck in Minneapolis. That's the first time I've ever been grateful that air travel can suck.
So it was a little hard to soak in the Olympic experience. Because you don't get a chance to do it while you're there. You tuck your experiences into a little corner in your brain and think "wow, this will be so much fun to look back on". Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find the corner I stashed all the good memories in yet. I know I will eventually but ge'ez, I really should have drawn myself a road map to the memories. "Turn left after the time you tap danced at the family reunion and bear right when you see the somersault off the church alter."
In reality though, I've barely thought about Vancouver since being home because I've been totally consumed by two things. Work. And Running.
I had committed to the Green Bay Marathon back in May and so I was running quite a bit in Vancouver trying to get my long runs and speed work in. Do you know what's an absolutely terrible idea? Trying to get long runs in when you're working insane hours with insane levels of stress. Yep. Pretty stupid idea. I ended up coming back pretty beat up - which I realized when I attempted a 14 miler the saturday after getting back. About an hour after I finished my run my IT band pretty much seized up and I was unable to run for almost a month. It stunk.
Now that I've learned to love running, NOT being able to run is just torture.
The whole thing had started with me getting this crazy idea in my head that I wanted to qualify for the Boston Marathon. To do that I would need a time of 3:40 - a pace of 8:20 per mile. Pretty speedy - but I really do think I have it in me to do.... but probably not for another year and by that time I will have moved up an age group and hooray! Then I'll have an extra 5 minutes to qualify! One good thing about that whole 'getting older' thing I guess. Well.... it's still a dream, a bit far off but ....
So the GB marathon was out of the picture - but I still planned to run the half-marathon.
So I race the half in Green Bay and I finish feeling absolutely miserable. I developed this enormous blister on the side of my foot (2 months later and the scar FINALLY went away), I had gone out too fast and I faded BAD by the end. I finished in 1:50:14, 40 seconds faster than I did the year before but I was pretty bummed out by it - I really wanted to finish in 1:48. So even though I still beat my time, I wasn't too thrilled.
This is what I wrote after the race...
So super grumpy me is sitting there, feeling bad for myself and watching the marathon finishers coming in thinking "there is no way, NO WAY, I will ever run a marathon - I think I'M miserable right now? Dang, look at THEM!"
Cut to less than 24 hours later, I'm sitting on my couch at 6am looking at the Philadelphia Marathon site and what do I do? Yep. I register. I think it's because I know it's a challenge I want to take on and really, what better time is there to do it than right now? I have a job that (usually) gives me the time to train. I am in the best shape of my life - with room for a LOT of improvement. And if I want to keep that little "qualify for Boston" dream alive, well, then I should probably do a marathon and see if I even like running them!
Luckily I conned one of my friends, Amy, into doing it with me so at least I won't be suffering alone! Because I know it's going to suck. But I also know I'm going to be a stronger person for doing it. The training, the dedication, the race itself - maybe I just really like the idea of "stacey the marathoner" but hey - if I really like the idea, then why not make it a reality?
The race is the weekend before Thanksgiving which I'll be spending in Jersey with my mom and Steven. I've already dubbed that week "Gobble, Gobble, Hobble, Hobble".
So since marathon training will likely be a lot like Vancouver in that it's sometimes just not all that fun, I think I'll need to blog the good stuff. This way I'll have that road map to my memory corner.... I think I'm going to need them when I'm in the pain cave!
(pain cave is totally one of my new runner-person phrases that I throw around unabashedly in my head - but never out loud.... maybe AFTER the marathon I'll use all of my cool runner-person phrases out loud.)