Poised and Ready

This year has been all about getting back on my feet and better than ever after ending 2015 with a bout of pneumonia and a cracked rib. I had a breakthrough in the Corvallis Half Marathon this spring and knocked a few seconds off my 5K PR this summer.  I had high hopes for the Chicago Marathon but it chewed me up and spit me out. Even so, I came out of it in one piece. It was exactly one year ago that I was at my worst. Today I feel recovered, healthy, and ready to roll into the new year.

This past Sunday I decided for no other reason than wanting to make my week’s mileage a round 45 (okay and maybe to run off some pumpkin pie), that I wanted to run 15 miles for my long run. It was one of those runs that can only be described as perfect. I zipped through the first three miles by myself on a caffeine high then met a friend for the remaining 12. After the buzz wore off, I felt as if I were just floating along effortlessly. As fatigue set in toward the later miles, I felt compelled to sink my teeth into the run more and find my edge. There was something almost primal about it, the way running an unseemly distance through the woods made me feel powerful and free.

The first six weeks or so after the Chicago Marathon, even after a break, I couldn’t run without a new thing bothering me every day. A tight hip flexor, an achy knee, a strained ankle. I told my coach I felt as if I’d aged and he told me he was offended by that statement. OK, poor choice of words- I suppose I felt like a 31-year-old that practically busted her leg finishing a marathon! The best part about my long run, and the past week or two really, was that not an ache, twinge, or ounce of soreness was felt.

Even though it’s just November 29th, I feel as if I’m writing one of those year-end wrap up posts. I think it’s because I can’t stop thinking about the future. I’m hungry for what’s next. But the year’s not over! In fact, I’m heading down to San Francisco this weekend with three good friends for some trail adventures at The North Face Endurance Challenge. For a long time I had been planning to run the 50K. It would have been my first one. However, with recovery not going exactly as planned after Chicago and with all of my big goals for 2017 and beyond, I worried the risk for injury and another long recovery period would be too great. I would have been running the 50K simply to finish, whereas my goals for shorter distances in the new year are much more concrete and meaningful to me. So in place of the 50K on Saturday, December 3rd, I registered for the Endurance Challenge Half Marathon on Sunday, December 4th. Since it’s on trails with some pretty major climbs and descents, I don’t have a certain time goal. My hope is to hone into the same strength and freedom I felt in my run last weekend… plus a little competitive fire for good measure.


10 responses to “Poised and Ready”

  1. Jonathan Avatar

    Good luck on the run!! Hope you do fantastic! I hope I accidentally run into you in the city as well if you’re doing some sight seeing!

    1. Liz Avatar

      Thank you! It would be great to see you! You know, registration is still open for the 5K, 10K, and half, just throwing it out there- https://www.thenorthface.com/get-outdoors/endurance-challenge/california/race-registration.html

  2. mamaagogo Avatar

    Have a wonderful time in SF! I wish for you a flight of freedom from woes, aches, and pains. Your post is so thoughtful and reflective and full of eagerness and patience.

    1. Liz Avatar

      Thank you so much!

  3. Ashley Rollins Avatar
    Ashley Rollins

    Have fun! I have some friends running it this weekend too, so you’ll probably cross paths! Enjoy it!

    1. Liz Avatar

      Thank you! I hope they do great!

  4. Leslie @ TriathleteTreats Avatar

    I think the time off is just what you needed!!! :) Definitely moving down to the half is a good move!! Good luck!! I’m sure it will be great!! Have fun too!

    1. Liz Avatar

      I think so too! Thank you!

  5. Sara Avatar

    I’m glad you’re feeling good and ready to go! I see very speedy things happening for you in 2017 – and beyond!

    1. Liz Avatar

      Thanks Sara! I see speedy things happening for you too!


Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Who is Mercury?

Liz Derstine, trail name “Mercury”, is a distance runner, endurance hiker, writer, and musician residing in Boston, MA. She holds fastest known times for women on the Appalachian Trail (supported, northbound), Long Trail (self-supported), and Pinhoti Trail (self-supported).

Newsletter 💫

Subscribe to Liz’s weekly newsletter full of inspiring stories about running, music, trails and life.

Success! You're on the list.