The time has come. When you struggle on a goal race it takes a lot out of your soul. It is time I talk about my LA Marathon experience. You see this time last year I was pounding out sixty to seventy mile weeks and hyper focused on running a huge marathon PR. This race was going to be the pièce de résistance of my running career prior to being a father. I kept an extensive training journal that I hope to one day give to my daughter someday.
Have I ever mentioned how little I really knew about parenting prior to being a Dad? It is comical how one year ago my thought process was that I will not be running serious races again for at least three years. How on earth would I be able to find the time to properly train for a half marathon or God forbid a full marathon. Looking at my life now as a new Dad and thinking about how I thought it would be is eye opening. It shouldn’t have felt like it was completely out of the realm of possibility. For some reason though I thought that my running life had to be put completely on hold in order to raise my daughter.
So I ran on through polar vortexes, I logged endless miles on treadmills, I badgered friends to come to LA with me and I sold my wife on the idea that this was it for the marathon (she obviously knew better than that). When the great last hurrah of a trip came to fruition I bonked hard. Travel went well. The race build-up went well. Our accommodations were phenomenal. I made some truly great memories on that trip. When it came time to run though my heart was never truly in it.
That last line there is something I’ve struggled to outright say out loud for a while now. Yes, the race went terribly from a physical standpoint. For whatever reason my body was done at the halfway point of that race. My ears were ringing so loud that at times I completely lost my balance and couldn’t focus. How I actually finished the race is a wonderment to me entirely. On race day though none of that really mattered. I missed my wife, I wanted to be closer to her not further away. I pushed for this damn marathon pilgrimage and for what? It all seems so silly now. Not the good times with close friends or the experiences we had, because those were truly great. For me though I realized that running in general was taking a different meaning in my life.
The last eight months have been really good for me. I basically buried my last marathon experience. For starters I didn’t really have any time to dwell on it. Chelsea and I have turned our house from a dwelling for a couple of kids to a home for a young family. I think parents will understand what I mean by that last line. I’ve continued to run and focus on my personal fitness journey, but it certainly hasn’t been the priority that it once was for me. That being said I did manage to run a half marathon in September and a 20k trail race in October. Both of those experiences taught me a lot about myself as an athlete. My training wasn’t nearly as intense and I adjusted my approach to each event. This adjustment showed me that while my fitness wasn’t where it once was I could still run quality times. Not PR times, but really darn close.
So with this new found enlightenment came that itch to get serious about running again. I’ve basically been on a nine month training break. I haven’t worked directly with a coach in two years and I know that training is going to look different. My goal is to run a marathon in the fall. To get there I know that I need to take the long view for my training. So I’m starting with a half marathon. I’m very excited to announce that I’ve got a goal race planned for spring 2020. I will once again be heading out to Deadwood, South Dakota to run the Deadwood Mickelson Trail Half Marathon. The plan is to work with Coach Jacqui Meadors and the goal is to comfortably break my half marathon PR. I’ll be sharing my plans, progress and training experiences here within the pages of this blog. I’ve got a few surprises and tidbits that I’ll be posting along the way too. For now I’ve once again surpassed my self-imposed word limit for a post so you’ll have to continue to read on for more details as I begin my journey as a full-fledged running parent.
Greg Koch is the Co-Owner and General Manager of 605 Running Company and Co-Produces the Sioux Falls Skedaddle Half Marathon. He serves on the Board of Directors for Downtown Sioux Falls, the 605 Race Crew and the Sioux Falls Area Running Club. When Greg isn’t with his family or working he enjoys being outside biking, kayaking, golfing or playing church softball.
YouTube: 605 Running Company
Join me in Deadwood! Register for the race here and use the code “rundeadwood2020” to save $10.00 off of your registration fee. This code doesn’t last forever though so be sure to sign-up by May 29th!