Year of Running 2015: On the Move

So I’m still pretty new to this blog thing. I follow a lot of various running magazines/websites on facebook that often link to posts from popular running bloggers. I read one from Courtney atΒ Eat Pray Run DC, that linked to her Year of Running post, asking other runners to link up. So I thought this would be fun. So here is my post. My year of running. Especially fun for me since it’s my first official year on the move. I haven’t run a lot of races this year, but hoping to change that in 2016. Click her button below to play along.

Eat Pray Run DC

Best race experience: This would have to be the Health Solutions 8k I ran on the 4th of July. It was my first race distance longer than a 5k, but I pushed myself to the further distance and am so glad I did! I needed it to prove I was capable, and the support along the race route was amazing! Gotta love small-ish town Iowa! πŸ™‚

Best run: My best is probably my longest. I had a 9.2 mile run in August (or maybe it was September?) when I was trying to build mileage for the Hot Chocolate 15k in November. Again, it felt amazing to just be able to prove I could do it. Of course, I then was sidelined with plantar fasciitis.

Best new piece of running gear: This would have to be my lululemon tights. I had been eyeing them for a while, and even bought myself a pair, only to end up returning them because I just couldn’t justify the cost. But my dear, sweet daughter bought them for me for my birthday.

Best running advice you’ve received this year: I honestly don’t know that I’ve received any running advice directly from anyone, just lots of reading on the interwebs. Probably the best advise I’ve read though, is to just keep going, and don’t ever give up.

Most inspirational runner: I don’t really have any one person I find inspirational. I’ve read a lot of inspiring stories that all play a part for me. Otherwise, I try to be my own inspiration.

Favorite picture from a run or race this year: I have two. The first is probably actually my very favorite. This is from my 8k, and the first race I ran for a medal. Yes, I’ll admit, I’m in it for bling. πŸ™‚ And it was just an overall amazing day and race for me, physically and mentally.

The second is from the Hot Chocolate 15k. You’ll probably notice I wasn’t running. This is where I injured my knee, and had to walk the last 2 miles. But I was determined to finish. I like this picture though, because it keeps me humble, and reminds me to take things slow and be patient with myself.

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Race experience you would repeat in a heartbeat: Both the Hot Chocolate and the Health Solutions 8k. I loved the experience of the 8k, and would love some vindication at the Hot Chocolate, with a better outcome. And, well, chocolate! πŸ™‚

If you could sum up your year in a couple words, what would they be? Enlightening and motivational. I actually have another blog post set to post on New Year’s Eve. A post about my year in review as a whole, not just related to running. And the word I used to describe it was enlightening. I’ve learned so much about myself this year. As a runner, I’ve learned that I’m capable of so much more than I would ever give myself credit for. And to be patient with myself, the best will come in time. As I’ve progressed this past year, I’ve pulled so much motivation from myself. The more I would do, the more I wanted to do. And the more I wanted to succeed. I guess you could also use the word “addicting”. πŸ™‚

I feel like I have grown so much this year in my running. And I even started a race bucket list. Does that make me officially a runner? Can’t wait to see what 2016 brings! (at the very least, two half marathons on my calendar, but hopefully, no more injuries). What are you looking forward to?

 

Post-Race Recap

Well, I made it. Barely. 

It’s kinda funny, actually. My daughter joined me for the Hot Chocolate Chicago race. She was running the 5k, I was running the 15k. Before the race, I was pointing out how our sweatshirts were embroidered, “Chicago 2015 Finisher”, but not all were. We had a laugh about how you get the sweatshirt before the race, even if you don’t finish. 

Little did I know, that almost ended up being me!

Before the race started, I warmed up with some slow jogging before joining my start corral. I stretched what little I could while waiting for my group to reach the start line. I had done a squat at one point, and felt a pinch on the outside of my left knee. 

I started out slow, as I typically would for that long of a run. Not that I had much choice with the sheer number of runners. You certainly don’t run these races if you’re all about the time and competition. Weaving amongst all the walkers is a little more than a nightmare. But I was in no hurry. 

I made it through 4 miles, no problem. Somewhere around mile 5, I felt that pinching feeling on my knee again. I walked a couple times for a short while, and it would go away. After mile 6 it seemed to linger more. I continued trying to push thru, but slowed my pace. Up until this point, I was probably running about 10:15-10:30 pace. 

I was coming into McCormick place and things felt fine. I picked up the pace a bit, and as I was exiting, it was almost like my knee completely gave out. It was excrutiating! It hurt so much just to walk. Shortly after, there were a couple volunteers, and one lady asked if I was ok. I said I’d be fine and carried on. 

I thought I was closer to the end, but I hadn’t reached mile 8 yet. Either way, I was determined to finish. 

A little while later, the same lady came up behind me on a bike and asked if I was sure I was ok, and offered to get me a cart. I refused. I didn’t start this race not to finish. And as long as I could walk, that’s exactly what I was going to do. 

I quickly realized that if I quit bending my knee, and kept my leg as straight as possible, it didn’t hurt much at all. I walked as fast as I could, which was pretty slow for me! I tried starting a slow jog a couple times, but there was no way I would be able to do anything that resembled running. 

I wanted so bad to run this race. And it hurt so bad. Not just physically. Emotionally I was just done. All the feelings of failure kept creeping in. I wanted to cry. In fact, I had to hold back tears more than once. I couldn’t even finish strong. But I finished. 

I went to the medical tent to get some ice. The lady that helped me there was trying to figure out the pain and felt it might be bursitis. But it seems like the location more resembles ITBS. I’ll give it a few days of icing and taking it easy and see how it feels. Hoping to avoid any more doctor/PT visits. 

Either way, it would seem I will be launching another hiatus. I have until next June to get my act together. I plan to do this right so I don’t encounter any more problems for my half. 

But right now, all I know is this – regardless of what happened today, or last month, I am not a quitter. I’ve committed to being healthier, and running. And I’m too strong to let anything get me down. 

Running teaches us to keep moving forward, one step at a time, especially in the most painful moments. 

  

Anticipation

The answer to the big questions in running is the same as the answer to the big questions in life: do the best with what you’ve got. ~Unknown

I meant to write this post last weekend, but time has a way of escaping me now days. So here I am. Tomorrow is my first big race.

 
A lot of you may be thinking 15k is really no big deal. And maybe even for me it isn’t. I mean, I ran 9.3 miles once already just in my daily run. But that was once. And before I had to take time off for my foot problem. I’ve been a little nervous about it since then, but not at the same time. It is what it is. It’s not like I’m racing for time, or to compete. I’m running for me. To accomplish something I set out to do. And how I get there isn’t at all important to me, just that I do.

Last Saturday, I was debating what to do with my run. I had already worked back up to 5 mile runs, but I really felt I needed to push myself. Prove that I could log more than that before going for 9+ this weekend. I settled on a 7 mile run. It was fine, my foot hurt a bit, but I survived. If I could make it through 7, I can manage 9.3.

This week, I’ve just been trying to find the balance between letting my foot rest, and logging some miles to keep me moving. Just enough, but not too much. Hopefully I’ve done ok, and will be good to go tomorrow. My foot feels fine today, so that’s always a good thing.

So, onward and upward. I may not run my best race, but I will run the best race I can tomorrow. It’s going to be a beautiful day!