On Twitter yesterday, I happened to see Dathan Ritzenhein tweet about being excited to head to New York City for this weekend's NYC Half Marathon. I instantly jumped on the memories train thinking back to last year when my wife and two of our best friends all ran the NYC Half and what an experience the whole thing was. It made me realize how much things can change in one year.
Last year at this time I was doubting whether I would even be able to toe the starting line of the half marathon. I was in the midst of a nearly two-month battle with ITBS and had told my mom a week before the NYC Half that it "would be a miracle" if I was able to complete the race. I hadn't been able to run more than 2-3 miles in almost two months and the longest run I'd ever done in my life up till that point was 12 miles. So, not only was I out of shape, but I was fixing to go farther than I'd ever gone before. Miraculously, my knee did start feeling better that week (thanks to a serendipitous change of shoes) and I ran in and completed the half marathon. Things have gotten better and better since then.
I started getting back into post-injury regular running again at the beginning of April 2012. I started out really small...a few miles here and there, nothing fast. I didn't run on back-to-back days until mid-April and didn't pass 15 miles/week until the end of April. I started training for the Chicago Marathon in May and my mileage increased slowly from there. I didn't cross the 30 miles/week threshold until mid-June. Things got better quickly from there - in August I ran 207 miles, book-ended by 170+ mile months in July and September. Only 7 months after not being able to complete a 2-mile run, I completed the Chicago Marathon, in a respectable time even.
I've continued to run regularly since the Marathon and I'm gearing up for another half marathon here on March 24th. By the time that race gets here, I'll have run 1,400 miles since the NYC Half last year. This isn't an "oh look at me" post, I say all of this to make the point about how much can change in one year. There were times last February and March where I thought my knee would never get better. It was so frustrating. But they did get better - and I've gone on to achieve things I could only imagine a year ago. Over the past few days, I've felt stronger and faster than I've ever felt before. It's a 180-degree difference from last year.
There have been other life things that are completely different now than they were a year ago too. We're a month away from bringing our first child into this world whereas a year ago we were still wondering if we were ready to take the plunge into parenthood. Now, ready or not, it's coming - and we're so excited. I think this upcoming race will be special for me in the sense that I may not be able to dedicate as much of my time to running after our daughter is born. I have no idea what this world will look like post-baby, but I'm willing to give up running so many miles if life requires that. So this may be the last race, for awhile, in which I was able to put all the necessary training in. I hope that's not the case, but I'm treating like it will be - and I plan on leaving everything I've got out on that course. I'm determined to achieve my goal of a sub-1:30 half marathon.
I'm sure the next year will bring a lot of changes too - I have no doubts about that. I'm excited to see what they are!