When the end is in sight.

"Every morning you rise, I want you to remember this: There are amazing things to be a part of, and fight for, and feel, because the world will unlock hundreds of doors when you give this day all the courage, love, and intensity you can."

This year has been a whirlwind. New house. New job. New roommates. Summitting Kilimanjaro. Malaria. A meniscus tear. Impending major knee surgery. Wait, no major knee surgery. Artificial cartilage. But the biggest realization of them all: My running has a finite end. There is an end date. And it is sooner rather than later. 

Let's back up. So I came home from Kili knowing that maybe something was off. But I shrugged it off. Ran some races. Felt an odd twinge, but kept on going. I completed the first five weeks of marathon training before I acquiesced that something was definitely wrong. It certainly was not normal for me to run 0.62 miles and want to quit. That wasn't who I was as a runner. So, I made an appointment with my knee surgeon, walked into the office, heard I likely had a torn meniscus, got fast-tracked, took care of things at work so I could be operated on the following week, and then everything came to a screeching halt. My knee injury wasn't as simple as "just" a torn meniscus. I was a perfect candidate for a full knee replacement ...at the ripe old age of 27. In that moment I could hear my knee surgeon talking, but I couldn't quite understand what he was saying. I was active. I was young. How could this be happening? 

Since I couldn't receive a knee replacement (yet), he had a back-up plan: artificial cartilage. After WEEKS of back-and-forth with the manufacturer, insurance, and the doctor's office, I finally got my artificial cartilage and so far, it's been quite successful (granted, it's been 3 weeks today...). I'll know for sure after 5 more weeks, but I'm cautiously optimistic that this has taken.

But what does all this mean? Well, as my surgeon very diplomatically told me, my running career is rapidly coming to a close, much sooner than I wanted it to. I think I'm still coming to terms with that. While 7 years seems like a long way off, it really isn't. I still had plans, plans to run JFK, to somehow qualify for Boston, to figure out my fourth comeback from injury. And I guess I can. But in the back of my mind, I can hear a clock ticking, knowing that the end is in sight. As I continue to grapple with that, in the meantime, I'll continue to put one foot in front of the other, step by step, mile by mile. 

Where has my motivation gone?

Where has my motivation gone? That's what I keep asking myself -- and frustratingly, not coming up with an answer.

As many of you know, I climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro -- all 19,341 feet of her -- and summitted on 27 February. I had these grandiose visions while I was climbing that I would come back with killer quads and just dive right back in to training. Buuut it hasn't happened yet. Sigh.

Let's back up for a moment. I had a killer training cycle leading up to the 2015 Marine Corps Marathon and RIchmond Marathon. My big goal, other than finishing two marathons in three weeks, was to qualify for the JFK 50. I've had my eyes set on JFK for a little while, but I knew I could hit the qualifying time at one of those marathons. MCM turned out to be quite warm (yet again!) and I missed the mark there. But, I knew I had it in me to get the mark at Richmond. Fast forward 19 miles and I found myself with my first ever burst blister while running. May seem minor, but definitely didn't love running with a bloody foot. Fast forward to the last 10k and I got my time! JFK 50 here I come!

Except I haven't even signed up and first round of registration closes in nine days. NINE DAYS. So, what's the hold up? Honestly, I wish someone would tell me because I haven't the slightest. 

I haven't stopped running completely, per se. I mean, I have 7 races alone in April (two to go -- hooray!) so miles are still being logged. But no training plan is being followed and no regular training runs have been logged. 

I could come up with a litany of excuses -- malaria (okay, that's a real excuse), transitioning to a new, intense job, learning the schedule of being a DC commuter, etc. but those are easily surmountable things. (Again, maybe not the malaria -- that was a beast.) I've always managed to get back in the training groove -- but not this time. My running is just feeling off -- and I hope I figure out a way to turn it back on.