It must be something special when I actually feel drawn to do a blog post two times in two weeks.
This past weekend I had one of my best races ever. I ran the 3rd annual Navy Nautical 10 miler out in Millington at the Naval base. I mentioned in my previous post that I ran this the first year they held it in 2010. That was when I was just starting to get into running. That previous Dec, I had just run my first half marathon. I went through some major personal life events that Dec/Jan/Feb/Mar and was just trying to stay on track with my health so I could balance myself. I remember the race was terribly hot.
I also remember that when I started running, I had no clue. I did not know about carb loading, hydration, how wearing some fabrics could complete tear skin off you! These are all things that you learn the hard way. Although I was learning, I had an attitude that was so positive. I had experienced no injury and I was running for fun. Often, when I go to races, I see the folks out there that are new like I was. I am still an amateur but I guess I have a bit more knowledge than some folks starting out. I love to see the experiences of folks experiencing races for the first time. How it makes you feel and the sense of accomplishment. Learning through the physical and sometime emotional pains of it. I remember when I first started running and sometimes I would just go out and completely solve my problems during a 5 mile run. I would see things around me that I would never normally notice…a pretty bird, deer, and a smiling face of a passerby. I think sometimes when we caught up in the ‘race mode’ that we forget these things. We get caught up who is doing the longer ultra race, our place in an age group, the next biggest thing.
I blurred out the other names in these results as I didn’t want folks to get upset if I was posting their names in my blog.
2010 Navy Nautical Mile 10:02 pace
2011 Navy Nautical Mile 9:36 pace
2012 Navy Nautical Mile 9:14 pace
And my newbie first half marathon results…..
2009 St. Jude Half Marathon 9:20 pace
For me, it was not only the ‘friendly’ competition…but I also kept getting injured. In late 2010, I got a calcaneal stress fracture and then again in midsummer of 2011 I got a gastrocnemius strain. These injuries came from unwise decisions of an inexperienced runner. Doing something like my first marathon on Jan 30, 2011, then Sylamore 50K in Feb, then red loops a couple weeks later (after having too much beer the night before I might add). I kept wondering ‘why’….why can’t I get faster? Why am I getting hurt? Why am I not as good as other people around me. This also coming from someone that rarely has to go to the doctor and was having to go to physical therapy 2x week for a running injury now.
This would briefly describe 2010/2011 for me. I also found myself searching for my happy place with running. Was it a marathon, ultra marathon, 5K, duathlon??? What was my ‘thing’? In the midst of injury, I got my first road bike. Opening up a whole new world for me.
So for 2012….what has changed? What am I doing differently?
1) Not getting caught up in what everyone else is doing.
2) Realizing that what is important in my life are the people and experiences. The things and some of my accomplishments – they won’t be there when I die.
3) Finding a happy medium and realizing what my strengths are.
I often go back to my Aunt’s passing. Something that really impacted me as I never saw it coming. Often, I think about her when I run now….around mile 7 of yesterday’s race…I bellowed for a few seconds as it hit me. There is no way running a race will be as painful as what she had to go through with her cancer. I also think about the fact I am going to be an Aunt later this year. This brings me a sense of joy and helps me keep my life focused. Finally, I think about CrossFit and the trainers and partners I work out with there. They push me and show me that I am selling myself short.
There is a sense of joy in knowing that yesterday I PR’d. Not only the 10 Nautical Miles (11.6 miles) but that I PR’d as far as my pace for anything greater than an 8 mile race. Back in 2009, as a newbie….no Garmin, no fancy clothes, no hydration technique…that was my fastest race at the St. Jude half marathon. Ever since then, I battle getting my pace faster. Why? Because I lost the true joy of running and got caught up in the wrong things.
In yesterday’s Navy Nautical race, I got my pace down to a 9:14/mile. This amazes me as I was still chatting with folks and even stopped and picked up a turtle to move it to the other side of the road. This means I still had a lot of gas in my tank. I am really excited to see how the marathon will go this year. I know that MCM has tons of people and can be terribly congested. It is not a race to go to for a PR. My current marathon PR is 4:23:59 from Miami (I might add that was pretty warm also) so I am wondering how October in D.C. will go, not only physically but mentally for me?