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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The ugly, the bad, and the good

Its been two months since my return to marathoning from meniscectomy. The number of days between the race and this race report and the number of minutes I took to cover 26.2 miles are positively related: both high. Sigh. I toed the line at the 2015 Quintiles Marathon at Wrightsville Beach fit to run between 3:05 and 3:10. Not near my PR, but solid.

The UGLY
I ran 3:16.09, the second slowest marathon of my life. It sounds silly, but I still get teary thinking about the race. I have never been hurt like I was before surgery and thus never experienced a return to running after a prolonged setback. (I was out of running completely for three months.) Many more workouts went well than not heading into the race. I maintained 55-65 miles (on 5 days) and 15-20K of swimming (on 5 days) per week the months leading up to the race. Conservative, but I did not want to rush anything.

Mile 22 (Photo: Kimberly Bowler)
I planned to run 7:00-7:10 pace for the first half of the race and 6:50-7:00 pace the second half. Perfect conditions greeted racers, but my body was not able to do what I hoped. I believe that I went through 13.1 around 7:15 pace and finished the race in a 7:30 pace. I was the 8th woman and 2nd master (top master was over 6:00 in front of me).

Getting my growler for 2nd master (Photo: Kimberly Bowler)
 I have unresolved questions:

Did I set the bar too high?
Given I cannot run high mileage anymore, will I ever sniff 3:00 again (I am 40 years old)?
Should I do another marathon?

The BAD
After the race I was terribly upset. To non-runners this sounds foolish, self-centered, and like a "first world problem." They are right, but I can't help it. At least I am honest.

In 2011 and 2012 I ran 2:59 and 3:00, respectively, at this event. It stings...big time. I wish that I could say "I've got the eye of the tiger" and that I am hungry to redeem myself next year. I don't. Will I? Who knows.

The GOOD
A month later I headed to Williamsburg, home of my alma mater, and ran a 5K. I knew that I would not be sharp given the short turn around from the marathon, but I hoped to compete and be tough. I did and I was. I ran 19:15 with even mile splits throughout. Not fast, but I felt strong and I battled. That was thrilling. I hung on to a high schooler like nobody's business until 1200 to go when her speed bested mine. She finished 10 seconds in front of me. We encouraged each other along the way and she was sweet and gracious after the race, both wonderful qualities to see in a young athlete.

Close to mile 2
Even better...my college coach grabbed me up when I crossed the finish line. Seeing him brought tears to my eyes as it was a reminder of the amazing experience I had running for the College of William and Mary many years ago. One of William and Mary Track and Cross Country's alumni and supporters, Randy Hawthorne, also ran the race and joined the impromptu reunion afterwards. Coach PVR even wore one of the t-shirts that I designed for our team. He is the best!

Randy, me, Coach PVR
I am trying to move forward and am following an unstructured training plan that includes plenty of swimming. I have patellar tendinitis in my left leg, so I am babying it. I do not have any race plans other than a few swim meets and open water events this summer.

Trying to get positive,

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Economic Rockstar Interview

Several weeks ago I had the opportunity to do a podcast with Frank Conway of Economic Rockstar. We chatted for well over an hour about economic pedagogy, research interests, and running.



The interview was released recently and you can listen to it here.

Enjoy,