Running a marathon has been a goal of mine ever since I can remember. Year after year, I would set my mind on this 26.2 mile venture and then quickly talk myself out of it for one reason or another. I’m talking serious stuff like, if I ran the marathon I would miss the Sox game on Patriots day or pumpkin beer and late night tater-tots sound much more appealing than weekend long runs. Then, April 15, 2013 happened. Being a born and bred Boston native, I felt like I needed to do something to help those affected by the Boston Marathon attacks. Running a marathon and raising money for the One Fund seemed like a perfect way to show how Boston Strong I was. Before I could talk myself out of it, which let’s face it- I thought I inevitably would, several colleagues jumped on board with me and together we formed a team and registered for the Philadelphia Marathon in November. I had motivation, I had a team, I had paid the $135 registration fee- what could stop me?
That is a completely rhetorical question, because the truth of the matter is that any number of things were bound to stop me. The particular hurdle I faced next was a hip injury that I incurred when training. I could barely walk, forget run, without severe pain. I was pretty sure my marathon aspirations would again be sidelined. How could I continue to train? What I didn’t know was that answer was right in front of me every time I donned my Handle Bar tank top and went to work in Southie.
After sharing my injury news with a friend, he directed me to an article that discussed how cardiovascular performance on the bike can translate to cardiovascular performance when running. In addition, cycling is a low impact sport, which would protect my hip. Even being as spin-obsessed as I am, I hadn’t thought of this. I became diligent about taking 3 classes per week at THB. The music, lights and energy that are HB staples, would help me put the injury aside, let the music and beat guide me through the ride, and visualize myself completing my first marathon.
After my three week hiatus from running, my PT encouraged me to get back at it. To say I was anxious that my three weeks without running would inevitably crush my chances of completing this training program would be a huge understatement. Moreover, unlike my previous “attempts” at 26.2, this time everyone in my life knew I had set out on this journey, I would have to face all of them. I laced up my sneakers, put on a new running top that I splurged for at LuluLemon for “motivational purposes”, and hit the pavement with my favorite HB playlist pushing me along. My first day out I was able to complete 6 miles at my goal pace! I was shocked about how amazing I felt. My cardiovascular endurance hadn’t wavered at all. You would never know I hadn’t run for three weeks, I was able to pick up right where I left off. In all the years I spent running, I never had such a comeback after my training ceased.
I have always loved indoor cycling and it has always been part of my fitness routine. The roll it now plays in my training has only fueled my passion for this intense workout. As I delve further into marathon training, I have replaced one of my weekly runs with a class at THB. Spending time on the bike riding to the beat has allowed me to increase my endurance, pick up my cadence, cross train, and continue training for my first 26.2 mile run!
By Susan Haley