Tuesday, May 3, 2016

We Rocked Music City!

I looked out the window of our hotel room and saw rain pouring down. The sky was dark and lightening flashed through the sky over the city. We turned our focus on the news and watched a reporter "reporting live from the race starting line." He was hunkered down under a large umbrella and said that due to the severe weather, race administrators were discussing the possibility of delaying or canceling the race! A news anchor reporting from her dry, comfortable studio piped in with an enthusiastic comment that she talked to runners and "they like rain!" (Insert my head shake and eye roll here.)

Not knowing how the morning would play out, Maryanne, Traci, and I went through our normal pre-race routines. When it was go-time we hurried down the street, two blocks in the rain, to the gear check trucks where we dropped off our bags. We immediately retraced our steps back to the hotel lobby where we waited with approximately a dozen other runners who were also awaiting to hear the verdict of the race.

Race delay: 35 minutes. We were in corral 10 which meant we had another 45-55 minutes until we started. Ugh. Looks like it's time to get Traci another cup of coffee and make new friends with the other runners in the lobby....

Luckily, by the time our corral started the rain had stopped! So off we went starting our 13 mile running tour of Nashville with 35,000 other people just as crazy as us! The course took us through some beautiful areas and past some great sites including downtown Nashville, Music City Center, Vanderbilt and Belmont Universities, gorgeous neighborhoods, and historic buildings.  All which came and went as we ran up and down each hill. 

Oh, the hills! I was so nervous to run this course because of the hills! After six months of physical therapy, I now had to trust the process and believe that the work I'd done had prepared me for this course. I wasn't yet convinced.

I ran at a conservative and consistent pace both up and down each hill with the goal to keep the same pace for the whole race and not push myself to injury (again). Honestly, I just needed to get through this race to be able to gain my confidence back in running. My body was ready, but my mind wasn't quite there yet. This course was my test and I needed to ace it....

Traci and I paced each other which helped the miles fly by. Focused on one hill at a time, one mile at a time, our watches buzzed with every mile bringing us closer to the finish line.

Then, mile 11.5 hit and Traci's calves decided they didn't want to play nice anymore and began to cramp. We slowed our pace and focused on just getting to the finish line. After two hours, thirty two minutes, and eleven seconds, Traci and I officially crossed the finish line!

Having recovered from her surgery, Maryanne powered through the course and finished strong with an amazing time of 3:07:51! Congrats on a great race, Sissy! All of your "practice" for this race paid off!

Despite not bringing enough fuel on the course (I hadn't taken the race time delay into consideration until my stomach started growling at mile 4), I'm ecstatic to report I had a strong, PAIN FREE race! I feel fantastic and it's not just the runner's high talking. :-) 

Now, these Sole Sisters get to look forward to two more races together this year: Missoula, MT and Brooklyn, NY! (Right, Maryanne? You're joining us in Missoula?!) Watch out, this trio may be running in a city near you soon! (We are sporting the number of how many half-marathons we've each run: Traci 5, me 30, Maryanne 4!)

Finally, here are some random fun photos from our trip...

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Back to the Basics

It all started with an overachieving friend and a big idea. 

"Let's run the Spokane Half-Marathon!" Traci said so convincingly that I thought "sure, why not!" Usually it was me on the front end of big ideas, but not this time. 

Not surprisingly, when the race crept up in October and I had undertrained, I ended up with my first "official" running injury. Granted, my body had given me plenty warning signs prior to the race which I'd stupidly ignored. 

Smiling through the pain and appropriately wearing my "Give it your all" tank top, here are a few photos highlighting the race:

Two weeks later, I found myself at U District PT beginning my journey of weekly therapy for IT Band issues. It hasn't been a fun five months; my progress has been slow and very painful.  But, I promised myself I would be the "perfect patient" and do everything I was asked to do because I got myself in this situation and I would do whatever it took to get better and run again.

Some PT treatments have been not-so-pretty:

I have learned that I can endure the pain and I will never look at a plunger the same again. Luckily, my therapist is amazing or I'd probably hate her.

My upcoming half-marathon in Nashville, TN on April 30 is the carrot dangling in front of me moving me forward. In order to reward myself for my PT, I got a gallon jar and have been matching my distances run with money. My first deposit into the jar was $.50 for running half a mile and it has gradually increased each week from there. I will cash it out when I head to Nashville. 

I'm writing all of this because today marked a number of milestones:
1. I ran my first race in 5 months: The Rapid Rabbit 5 Mile Run.
2. I ran WITHOUT pain! 
3.  I BEAT last year's time, running a PR for this race!
4. I found a 24-year-old girl who I used as my pacer and in the last quarter mile when she was struggling on the hill, I came up beside her and told her she was doing awesome and couldn't stop now. I told her to run with me, and we ran side-by-side up the hill. In the home-strech to the finish line, I told her to sprint and beat me because she'd been ahead of me the whole race and deserved to finish before me -- and she did! After the race, she thanked me for helping push her to the end. I thanked her and told her she probably helped me more than I helped her!

Now I get to look forward to building strength and mileage each week until Nashville. I have one more race in the books between now and then with a solid plan in place to work from.

I'm excited for what is yet to come!