New York City waking up last Friday. How special, right?

Zero Week

Date: December 10, 2012 at 9:06 am- by Ali- Comment(s): 37

This morning was an awesome one for running here in NYC.

It was warmer than it probably should be on December 10 — a sweet 46 degrees at 5 AM — and there was a crazy fog in the air allowing for about a foot of visibility in any direction. There was a teeny tiny drizzle coming down, too — enough moisture to cool you down from the humidity but not so much that you were wishing someone had invented a running umbrella.

(Though, note to self, invent a running umbrella. That sounds amazing, dangerous and practical.)

A fun morning for running indeed.

At least, I assume it was.

I wouldn’t know.

I didn’t run this morning.

And if tomorrow is gorgeous and sunny, I won’t run then, either.

New York City waking up last Friday. How special, right?

The same goes for Wednesday, Thursday and every day until at least next Monday. After that, we’ll see.

Starting today, I’m initiating a self-imposed Zero Week.

I’m not injured. I’m not sick. But I’m also — ready for this one? — learning from past mistakes and hoping to avoid making the same ones again.

Look at me, getting all smart and shit.

So why the Zero Week, capitalized for formality and effectiveness?

Let’s take it back a year for some reminiscing…

I started training for the Hamptons Marathon in July 2011. I loved training. I loved every short run, every tempo run (WTF?) and definitely every long run. Even that long run where I ate an “I swear it tastes like frosting” vanilla Gu and puked all over Central Park. I even loved that run.

On Race Day, September 24, 2011, I was psyched and ready to rock my first marathon.

Finished—and ready for the next!

So I did that, or something like “rocking it,” despite totally hitting a very early wall at mile 13, and I rode a runner’s high for a very long time. I couldn’t wait to run again after the marathon. And so that’s what I did, as soon as I could. I took a day off for full rest, and the following Monday I was back at the gym for some “light spinning.” I went running soon after.

Then I jumped right into training for the Las Vegas Half Marathon, which was on December 4, 2011. I ran a few short races in between, like a Turkey Trot and a 4-miler, both of which I PRd, and I felt I was in the best running shape of my life.

After Las Vegas, I wrapped up the year with a 15K to complete my 9+1 qualifications for entry to the 2012 New York City Marathon.

As the new year began, I was still high on running. It was still my favorite thing to do and I wanted more of it. More specifically, I wanted another shot at the marathon. I set my sights on the Eugene Marathon in April 2012 and started training for it in January.

I never made it to the start line in Eugene.

In addition to illness and injury, I faced a bigger problem: serious mental burnout.

My runs started to feel more difficult, in part because I was physically exhausted, but more so because I had lost my mental drive to get out there every morning. It wasn’t as fun as I remembered it being. So I got a big DNS for Eugene but I knew it was for the best. As soon as I bailed on that race, it was like a huge weight was lifted. I was relieved.

April came and went, and my friends still trekked to Eugene to nab life-changing personal records.

Meanwhile, I was dealing with some nagging shin and hip pain, and I had picked up cycling in addition to trying out some fun classes at my gym.

NEW HOBBY!!!!!!!!! That I’ll probably never do again. Stupid crash.

By the time summer rolled around, my injury was gone and I was ready to start loading up my running mileage for the November 4 New York City Marathon.

My training didn’t go as planned, but I still did my best to get my runs in. There was some Crohnsing here, a hospital stay there, and a lot of “this isn’t going according to plan” meltdowns.

I may have lost a bit of my health, well-being and sanity, but I never lost my will to run. Even on my sickest days, I wanted to be on the Bridle Path.

And my love for running paid off when I ran the Manchester City Marathon in November. I loved every step of that race. I loved feeling fresh going into it and I loved shaving 22 minutes off my Hamptons Marathon time.

Naturally, I crossed the finish line, got a drink and was immediately on the couch at Margarita’s talking with Emily and Lauren about “what’s next.”

“OK, Emily, you find us a race. I’ll plan the outfits. LBC, you start thinking about ditching that 3:18. IT’S GO TIME.”

There was talk of returning to Eugene for a redemption race.

I scoped out the L.A. Marathon, wondering if that was something I might be into. Will Ferrell ran it once, I think.

I even stalked race forums about “running at altitude,” debating signing up for the Salt Lake City Marathon.

I took a few days off after MCM, but again I was high on all things running. I returned to Central Park just three days after the marathon — as soon as the soreness in my legs started to subside — for a victory lap of sorts.

But now, more than a month after that race, I’m ready for my break.

I’ve only done easy runs since the marathon. My mileage isn’t spectacular, and neither are my paces. I’ve done some runs without my watch, and I never plan where I’m going. I’ve just been running casually — but for the past few weeks, I haven’t been enjoying it as much as I thought I would.

I’ll miss you this week, Reservoir, but I’ll be back when I’m ready. Try not to be too puddly when I come back. My shoes are already filthy enough.

I’ve stopped thinking about Eugene, L.A. and Salt Lake City. I’ve lost my urge to sign up for a spring marathon — at least right now. I’m not ready to commit to something as huge as a 26.2 mile race without feeling fully emotionally invested in it.

So for the next week, I won’t be spending any time in my Brooks. I’m combating burnout before it officially hits and I’m hoping that after a week without running, I’ll feel excited to jump back into it. And if by next Monday I’m not all “Wheeeeeee Reservoir!” I’ll keep Zero-ing. I’m not getting back out there until I’m dying to be back out there. I’m in no rush.

I’m excited to return to the other things I enjoy. Like sleep. Like Matt P.’s spin class at Crunch. Plus, I’m hoping to conquer some of those silly New Year’s Resolutions I promised I’d do, like take a dance class and go to Yoga to the People.

Now might be the time to tell you — with my thumbs fully intact — that I did tackle one big resolution last week.

That’s a carrot on the left. Not one of my fingers.

I got my friend Lauren to go to that knife skills class with me. Not only did I leave the class with all 10 fingers still attached and un-bloodied, I also learned a lot!

Lauren and me with scary eyes and big knives.

The instructor taught us about all the different kinds of knives and taught us several ways to chop, slice and dice things. The class was so fun, and at the end we got to eat all the stuff we chopped, which the chef combined into a gazpacho soup.

My first gazpacho! It was spicy and delicious and I HELPED MAKE IT. See that finely sliced basil on top? Yeah. What up? I did that.

If you’re in NYC, here’s the class I took. Not mega-cheap, but you do get lessons and a meal out of it.

So that’s an update on my running life right now: It’s temporarily non-existant. I’m recharging.

I’ll be back in the park eventually.

Until then, I’ll be on the couch, at the barre, searching for a “SoulCycle for poor people” deal or in my living room, perfecting my Shake Weight technique.

Enjoy your miles, friends!

AND TALK ABOUT YOUR FAVORITE WORKOUT: I want to use my running break to try a few things I neglect when I’m in training mode. I’m thinking Physique 57, a return to the vastly-different Refine Method, Yoga to the People and a dance class. But if you’re a city person and think I’m missing out on something amazing, let me know! I want to flex my non-running muscles.

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