For the past two years, I’ve found myself on the sideline of my hometown race. While that has given me the opportunity to cheer on many friends and runners through their 26.2 day, its also left me hungry to finally get my chance to race the streets I grew up on.
My Last Marathon
Admittedly, it has been a minute since I’ve run a road marathon. In 2019, I took on The Bulldog 50k ultramarathon which brought me to my mental and physical limits. Unrelenting summer heat combined with more than 8,000 feet of climbing made for a wicked 5 hour, 25 minute grind through the Santa Monica mountains.
Before that, my only experience with long distance running was the New York City Marathon, which I ran in 2017. I’m extremely proud of that effort and the crowds, as they are rumored, are incredible. I remember walking in the cool down chute, past the finishline, tears streaming down my face thinking, “I’m good on marathons for a bit.”
So Here We Go Again…
As the fall of 2019 approached, I was running well, logging weekly mileage in the 30s pretty effortlessly. I crossed the 1,000 annual miles mark for the first time ever and started to think about 2020. LA immediately popped into my head. “I have plenty of time to train,” I misguidedly thought.
November rolled around, I upped my mileage into the 40s and no sooner started feeling some tenderness on the inside of my right knee. Shit. I know that pain…
Not willing to push it, I pulled back from running and hopped on our Peloton machine for a month of cycling and strength training. When I finally got back to running in December, my prevailing thought was, “well, guess my early prep for this race is gone.”
It’s amazing how we can surprise ourselves. Sure, getting back to running meant my knee was taped and my pace was restrictedly slow, but I felt ok. Brief glimpses of speed meant that my LA dream might still be possible. Just before the new year, I notched my fastest half of 2019 at 1:35, not too bad!
One final “long run” for 2019 so I made it a good one. 👊— Sam Keene (@slkeene) December 28, 2019
It’s been a minute since I put speed into a longer run and it felt pretty solid! More to grow in 2020!
‘19 fastest 10k
‘19 fastest 10mi
‘19 fastest 13.1mi pic.twitter.com/2A3hMGJ0JN
So here we go, new year, new race! I’m 95% healthy, starting to stretch out my long runs. Work and travel schedule are a bit nuts before race day (March 8th, btw), but I’ll manage! I’m excited to finally cross the finish line a mere three miles from my doorstep in front of family and friends.