Archive | July, 2012

As long as I’m not running too much, I shall strive to land on the Flywheel leaderboard every now and then….

17 Jul

I’m obnoxious, but c’mon… when you’re injured, it’s the little victories that feel so good.

Advertisements

Remaining Optimistic and Yet Realistic

12 Jul

On Sunday, I ran one of my favorite races, the Boilermaker.

I ran it last year for the first time, and had a blast.  T’s best friend, Steve, is from Utica, so we stayed with his parents and were spoiled rotten for a weekend.  (Holla to Mrs. G’s brownies!)

Us last year at the post-race party

Well, we did we the exact same thing this year:  Friday after work T, Steve, his wife Danielle, and I hopped in a rental car and drove the 4.5-ish hours to Utica.  Upon arrival at the G’s home, we proceeded to pig out on the aforementioned brownies and “tomato pie“, (don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried this Utica special.  It’s delicious!) and guzzle a bunch of Saranac.

Saturday involved T, Steve, and Steve’s brothers playing golf while Danielle and I sipped wine on the patio at the club overlooking the green.  (That may be the most obnoxious and WASPy thing I’ve ever typed.)  Then we headed back to the G’s, where Mrs. G had prepared a feast of pasta that we housed before turning in relatively early.

I may be a fool, but I didn’t have nearly as much trepidation for this race as I should have.  In the 5 weeks that preceded it, I ran one 4.5 miler.  This was in prep for a freaking 15K that is hilly as f**k.  Not very smart.  The one smart thing I *did* do was pay a visit to my PT, Aaron, on Thursday.  I had him massage and stretch me out in advance of the race.  My feelings when I woke up Sunday morning didn’t get much deeper than, “Yippee, I get to run today!!!  I’m really out of shape.  This should be funny!”

Honestly, my one wish was that my foot wouldn’t hurt.  I knew that I was going to feel tired and out of shape, but I could deal with that.  What would be a crushing blow would be having the PF come back flaring like the little b*tch that it is.

As Danielle and I hung out in our corral waiting for the gun, I thought about how much I’ve changed as a runner.  For years, I would be waiting in corrals thinking, “La la la, I’m going for a run!  NBD!”  It wasn’t until my 7th marathon, the 2010 Flying Pig, that I ran my slowest marathon and I asked myself why I wasn’t trying to get any better.  Since then, I’ve become more and more aware of my pace, and intent upon improving.  My running has become a bit more purposeful, as I’ve incorporated things like speed work and tempo runs.  I don’t think I’ll ever be able to go back to the hobby jogger I was before.  I should clarify, in no way am I kidding myself.  I am certainly still a hobby jogger.  I fully realize I am a very mediocre runner.  There is no delusion going on here.  What I mean is that I don’t see myself ever again being the lackadaisical racer that I was.  There are good and bad sides to that, I guess.

That finish time was 4:41:55. Yeesh. I made, like, 3 bathroom stops, too.  Love how I still look all victorious and sh*t.

Sooo…back to the Boilermaker:  the gun went off and off we went.  I pressed START on my Garmin and the f*cker did not respond.  Looks like I’ll be buying another one of those bad boys.  I’m actually glad it wasn’t working, however, (not glad I have to buy a new one) because it kept me from obsessing over my splits, which I know I would have done.  I just ran.  What a novel concept.

I lost Danielle around mile 3 and watched her fade into the distance, up the first hill, at the golf course.  I was all by my lonesome now– just me and 14,000 sweaty companions.

I struggled up the hill a bit and was bummed when I completely lost sight of Danielle.  I kind of gunned it down the other side, all the while internally chastising myself, “Slow the f**k down, you dumba**.  You’re going to regret this.”  Then, the course flattened out a bit and I just continued to put one foot in front of the other.

Oh, hai. Apparently I ran most of this race with my eyes closed. This is pretty much the only picture in which I have them open.

The whole time I was running, I was delighted to be doing so.  I checked the clock each time I hit a mile marker and as the miles ticked by, I dared to hope I could come in under 1:20:00.  I couldn’t remember what my time was last year, but I knew it was just under that.  The clocks seemed to indicate that this was a possibility, which was just insane to me.  But I didn’t question it.

The second and worst hill came along and I attacked it feeling tired and energized all at once.  When I got to the top, I made the turn and looked around intently for Amanda, who is the girlfriend of one of Steve’s brothers.  I thought I remembered her saying she would be there.  There was a huge crowd there (and really, all along the entire course– love this race!) but I didn’t see her.  I kept looking and looking and slowly realized that I was actually still climbing a hill.  I had forgotten that this was the hill that goes on and on and on.  So Amanda provided a welcome distraction for a while, even though I didn’t see her!

On the downhill, I once again gunned it and cursed internally at myself.  As the course flattened out and I came upon mile 8, I knew I would see the G’s soon.  Sure, enough, I heard Mr. G’s enthusiastic hollers before I even saw them!  I gave them a tired smile and wave and knew I was in the home stretch.  I tried to kick (ha!) and made my way down the gentle slope to the finish, feeling very glad that the end of the course goes that way.  The hills had pretty much taken everything out of me.

T calls this one “I’m every woman!”

Look at that smug smirk. It says something like, “F you, plantar fasciitis!”

I ambled along through the finish area, sweaty and happy and feeling pretty awesome, all-in-all.  The gang had made a plan for a meeting place that turned out to be a not-so-distinct spot, so I kind of wandered around ’til I miraculously found Danielle.  Thanks to a few people running with phones, (including me) Danielle, Steve, T, Steve’s bros, and I were eventually able to convene and drink many, many, MANY Saranac brews, which were going down oh-so-smooth.  YUM.  As my buzz kicked in, I thought I couldn’t possibly be happier than I was in that moment.  I had run a  race I was pleased with, after months of no running, and everything including my FOOT felt good.

I had to cut T out of this one of me and Danielle because he was photo bombing, per usual.

Smushy face. T, by the way, KILLED his time from last year! I am so proud!!!!!

My time, it turns out, was 1:18:53, (8:28 min/miles) so I *did* come in under 1:20!  Not only that, but holy crap– I beat my time from last year.  By, like, 9 seconds, but STILL!  For me, this is a very pleasant surprise.  I guess all the Flywheelin’ has kept me in decent cardio shape.  Either that, or I was so jazzed to be running again, or my watch was dead and I wasn’t obsessing over my splits, or I knew the course this year, or it wasn’t quite so blistering hot this year.  Whatever the reason, I was completely giddy (ok, and also drunk) all day on Sunday.  Monday I was also on Cloud 9 and my foot felt good, though my quads were aching– which is only natural, considering those hills and the fact that I am out of running shape.

Tuesday, yesterday, and today my foot feels a bit stiff.  I nixed the plan to hit up my running class on Tuesday (session #8 of 10, for which I have paid and haven’t attended once– GRRR) and instead went to Flywheel Tues and Wednesday.  Although now that I was able to run a long-ish race with no pain and all I want to do is run run run run run and start training for fall marathons… I am DETERMINED to be smart about it.

I am staying optimistic, and yet realistic.  Just like my headline suggests.

And that’s all I have to say for now. 🙂