I hear there's trouble in Shangri-La
I run through the grass
I run over the stones
Show me the way back... to the sea
Since I started training with Capital Area Runners, I've told our coach George of something I'm sure he equated to some mythical Shargri-La of running. A period of two years in my life where I felt so great running all the time. I mean, I felt great every single day and even if I was tired or didn't feel good, I would start to run and my body just got in the groove and it just seemed that my body was there for me. The picture here is from this period.
I decided, since I was running so well, and all the calculations pointed to a Boston qualifier, I should try to run a marathon and see if I could qualify. I wish I could say I did it to feel the "magic of the marathon". I didn't, I ran it as a challenge.
I secretly signed up for the Long Island marathon and began secretly training. Only when I came back from a 26 mile training run did my husband begin to question the 4 hour runs. I did it all in secret so that if my attempt failed, no one would know.
Self trained, I really was guessing what I should do, but I found myself enjoying the long runs, even the two 26 mile runs I did (clearly no coach involved). What I did not enjoy, however, was the actual race, running that fast for so long. I was able to qualify for Boston (barely) and realized that if I hadn't met this goal, I would probably never run another marathon.
I continued to run strong after that marathon, PR'd a few races, but the following January as the training for Boston began, I began to fall apart. The training I was able to do for the first marathon, I was unable to repeat for this second one. I was exhausted all the time, my muscles felt weak. At Boston Marathon, a domino effect occurred and it was the ugliest race I had ever ran. For the following two months, I could barely run a mile, and when I did, I would cry at how difficult it was.
I was finally able to shake it off and get back into a groove, but it's never been quite the same. I have since joined Capital Area Runners, have a fantastic coach, have PR'd most every distance, but I haven't felt as good as I did during my Shangri-La Running period. I've tried through the years to recreate the ease of running I had by mimicking past workouts, trying new things, but nothing seemed to work.
Until this past October. Somethings happening. I feel better. I run better. I mean, all my runs are better. What did I do?
Okay, yes, I started to go back to gym and lift weights, but not what I was lifting during the Shangri-La period, a much lighter load. I never drank during the Shangri-La period, but have since enjoyed spirits a bit too often, I have cut this down to a glass of wine once a week. I was a protein fanatic during my Shangri-La period, I have been back and forth with this through the years, but am now back on the protein wagon. I slept wonderfully during the Shangi-La Period, life changes have taken it's toll on my sleep, but I am now sleeping much better. Is that it? I've tried all these things before, why are they working now?
I don't know the answer to that, but I hope to find the answer to the question that's been bothering me since I started running with Capital Area Runners: How good a runner could I have become, if I had a coach back in my Shangri-La running period?
Answer: Stay Tuned for Spring Racing Season, with fingers crossed I don't run into any Trouble in Shangri-La!