steph bruce

It’s been two weeks since I raced the NY Marathon. Somehow, it feels like it was both yesterday, and a lifetime ago. The passage of time is often attached to the feelings we have towards a memorable event, whether good or bad. Like many other pros, I’m taking a short break post-race to rest and reflect. And as I look back at the experience and take inventory of what remains, I’m realizing I’ve learned a lot. 


NYC is a reminder that on the course, and in life, we’re all running our own race. I need to acknowledge that, own it, and run with confidence. I got beat by some women I thought I could beat, but I also beat some women who maybe I "shouldn't" have beat. My point being — you may be on a certain path towards achieving something, and you are making excellent progress, only to be passed by others moving faster than you. That doesn’t mean you’re not heading down the right road, it just means you're on a different timeline. As a professional athlete, we are never quite satisfied with our performance, unless perhaps we win our event, run a PR, or make a team. However for me, for that race, I was satisfied. I poured out all I had on that day. I have no regrets about how I raced, or how hard I fought. I only regret that I wasn’t better than I was on the day. But that will come with time. I still have more miles, hours, and work to put in to get stronger and fitter, and that is exciting. 

But the next chapter of training begins with rest. It’s a 2 week bender post marathon. Well… a bender for a mom of toddlers, whose idea of crazy is finishing a bottle of Pinot Grigio in 2 nights! In all reality, my 2 week break consists of no exercise, no running. That's right I haven't done anything athletic in 2 weeks, aside from a little dancing. I went to a college friend’s bachelorette party, and another good friend’s wedding. I’ve gotten to that part of my career where my health feels so precious, that to plan an unforced break from running is such a refreshing feeling that I don’t mind not running. We put so much mental and physical energy into training for a marathon, that in my mind, a break is essential. These pauses rejuvenate passion and dedication - the stuff that I need to put my head down and begin another training block. 


And with that pause comes a new set of daily routines. I find myself going HAM on my house — sorting, organizing, and trying to complete all the tasks I put on hold during marathon training. Last week I went crazy on our garage, filled picture albums, and decorated. I feel like I have more energy to invest in other aspects of my life. I like that I can be on my feet all day, eat cake for breakfast, and not feel guilty about the degree to which I’m “properly” recovering from training. 

Yet I do miss the rush of workouts. The feeling after I completed something I didn’t believe was possible on paper. I miss the feeling of butterflies as I drink my coffee before a really tough session. But I know it will return soon enough, so I’m at peace during my break.

Truthfully though, I’m already dreaming and visualizing my next marathon. I’m silly like that - I can make a new goal the day after I finish a big race. I’m able to reflect upon my training cycle, and the race itself, to find the highs and lows. Take the time I need to digest them, but then dive right into the next goal shortly after. Meeting with my coach - we chat about the coming year. Figure out what makes sense, and find the fire to stoke. Asking and answering the question — “what’s going to get you fired up again”. 


Because the big goal, the big fire, is looking at 2020 and working backwards. Defining what I want to accomplish before the Olympic marathon trials. You’ll most likely see me racing two marathons a year from here on out, and sprinkling in shorter races like 10ks, halfs, and stints on the US Road Circuit. I’m still seeking a national title, working toward PRing in the marathon, and mixing it up every race I run!

More than anything, I want to shout a huge thank you to everyone who followed along and supported me throughout this build up. Your words and messages meant more than I can express.

Head Up, Wings Out!



Primary Subcategory

Training - Recover
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November 22, 2017 — Allyson Ely

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