Hi guys, hope everyone is staying warm here in the midwest. I am enjoying a couple days of easy workouts to recovery from the Tecumseh Marathon (which was a week ago today). Here is a little race report. …
We headed down to Indiana (Russ, Lori, Raul, Dean, Tom, and I) and met up with Scott .. a friend of ours that lives in IN. Russ, Scott, and I headed over to the University complex to check out the athletic facilities at Indiana University, we saw the athletic training facility, basketball arena, track and field indoor and outdoor, etc, .. student union and stopped for a caramel apple spice at Sbux (those drinks are CRAZY good)..good thing I was running a marathon the next day.
To the grocery store to get some snacks and hydration, and yippee, they had an awesome olive bar (a little addiction of mine). Back to the hotel to organize things and pick up our numbers for the race. A little R&R, then off to Noodles and Co. for my gluten free pad thai (yummy). Then browsed Urban Outfitters for a bit and we headed back to the hotel. Time to plan for the AM, eat some M&M’s and hot cocoa and off to sleep. Race morning the temps were cold (about 15 degrees) and I was feeling ready to run. Achilles got taped up (a little tendonitis from training on the hills) and I was feeling pretty confident. Took buses to the race and got there about 20 minutes before the official start. Stayed pretty warm and before we knew it, we were running on the trails. The first 2 miles or so were pretty bottle necked and it was hard to get into a rhythm. In the first 5 miles we crossed a stream and my shoes were soaked. Kinda irritating but did not think too much. The course was slippery in spots due to the rain the days before and some areas were just frozen. As the course went on, I realized why my time was slow a few years ago. This course has some major hills and it is BRUTAL for those that don’t spend a ton of time on the trails. NOTHING like a road marathon. You are constantly turning your ankle, stepping over tree roots and watching for the safest place to lay your feet down. Rhythm???? There is zero rhythm while running this course, something I love about road marathons and road races. Aid stations were every 3-4 miles and I had brought energy gel to take every 40 minutes or so. By the second half of the course I was in some ways welcoming the streams as they were cooling the feet off after stepping on rocks and roots for 13+ miles. I was starting to pass several runners and was feeling strong. This is where I discover why I run the longer races..stamina, is something I thankfully have. Runners were very polite in letting me pass them and moving to the side of the trail. One thing happens when I get tired, I usually will pick up my pace, I become more focused and VERY competitive..probably a little cranky too. 🙂
I remember thinking at about mile 21 that my back really hurts and my left leg is not really very stable, just so happens that it was the left Achilles that was bothering me. I started praying a bit to my higher power and asking for just a few more miles. At this point it really helps me to break the remaining part of the race into very manageable sections. Two more miles, then 1 mile more. At 24 miles I was too tired to think and got to the last stream and saw no one in front or behind me.. I stopped and just looked at the stream before me and really was not entirely sure what to do. Then my cognitive thinking came back and I ran across it. In the last mile you are deep in the woods and are bordering a lake. I knew the end was coming so I picked up the pace and sure enough off the trail, up the service road hill, and around the corner I could hear the announcer. It was simply amazing how great it was to hear people cheering and the announcer calling names. I ran strong to the finish (probably because at that point could not feel my legs) and crossed the finish in 4:18.
I was corralled over by the race official and was handed a plaque that said “1st place age group winner”. That was my goal as 2 years ago I was 2nd. My time was quite a bit slower than I had hoped for but I had forgotten how brutal the course was and still ran 10 min faster than 2 years ago. Considering the knee surgeries and back issues I have had this year, I am pretty happy with the effort. It’s been a tough year, a few minutes after the race, I got a big hug and congrats from Russ and had to just sit down and take the whole thing in. I got a little emotional as I remember several times over the last year that I thought my running career was over and I am just so grateful for those that have helped me overcome the set-backs this year. It’s times like these that I remember WHY I run, not to win my age group but because so many can’t and one day in 2000, I almost lost the chance to use the gift of running that was given to me.
The race was fun, the group that went down there was fantastic, the race was memorable and the experience will be remembered forever. However, I will be sticking to the road races from this time on, easier on the body. My true love is racing on the road.
So… now a week or so to recover and then to the next progression. I will concentrate on gaining some speed and doing a few indoor track races and some 5K’s on the road throughout this winter. I am looking forward to the break. I am consulting with Dr’s at the Barrow Neurological Institute a week from Monday in AZ. Hopefully they will shed some light and their thoughts on the back/spine condition I deal with daily. I am interested in what they will say and what might be done to continue managing the spine instability and discomfort. Some things we are in no control of. The injury and condition I have no control of but the management and rehab. I do have control of and I will do what it takes even if that means changing the pathway for the future.
I am so excited to head to AZ in 9 days. Looking forward to running in the desert and hanging with the ‘rents. I am also excited about 2010, so much in the plans… lots of new fun stuff at Form & Fitness, expanded opportunities for my running clients, and I plan to take a major step towards expanding my horizons and offerings to others… YOGA 🙂
Also, I am sooooo excited and happy for some close friends who are having their first child due on Jan. 4.. I can not be happier and more excited for them. They are so deserving of this wonderful gift of life.
Stay warm, enjoy the holidays, and don’t eat too many cookies. 🙂