Wow, it's already 1/2 way through 2009. I can honestly say this year has not gone the way I'd expected it to fitness-wise. In some ways it's been disappointing, but it some ways it's a very good thing.
At the beginning of the year my goal was to build up my mileage, run a great marathon or half marathon in May and be ready to try to BQ in a marathon in the fall. But winter and an injury came along and changed those plans. I had to cut way back on running and give up all of those goals- at least for now- which was really hard.
BUT, these challenges have opened up new opportunities for me. I think the most important thing is that my injury has forced me to rethink my relationship between running and the rest of my life. Everything looked good on the outside, but I was ignoring some critical issues that were just waiting to jump up and bite me. My eating habits were pretty bad (I was running to eat and skimping on healthy foods so I could have a humongous ice cream sundae, etc.) and my strength was not where it should have been.
Backing way down on running has forced me to really look at what I'm eating and evaluate if it's in line with my athletic goals. It's also given me the time to do some serious strength training. Both of these things are critical to running a happy, healthy marathon.
Now that everything is feeling good and I'm feeling good about my eating/ exercise balance, I'd like to start increasing my miles again. Very slowly. The goal would be to increase from about 25 mpw (where I'm at now) to about 40mpw before winter starts, hold on to that level of fitness through the winter, and build to be ready to do a marathon training program for fall 2010. I think those are reasonable goals as long as I keep my focus.
In some ways it's frustrating to feel so out of shape compared to other runners out there, but I know that I'm laying the groundwork to be a better runner right now. I just have to stay positive and make the best out of every situation that comes my way.