So, I did the RnR Mardi Gras Half Marathon on Sunday. I know, I know, I'm 'injured'. I'm actually on the rebound now. While I'm still playing it safe and keeping the mileage low until I'm 100%, I have had many runs pain-free. See, tendons are tricky. They can sneak up on you in a heartbeat, so it's important to come back slowly.
However, since I am now a proud member of the Brooks ID Bluestreak Program (puffs feathers out), I received comp entry to this race. This was my first ever time NOT paying an entry fee, so I really felt obligated to run, if I could. I promised myself that I would NOT do anything stupid and try to run through pain, so I didn't even make the final decision to go until Saturday morning. I'm being smart now- I will NOT run through pain. That is a promise. One little concern came up, though. I hadn't run outside since my ankle/groin issues started. I chose the TM for my runs so I could get off immediately if the pain started, and not have to worry about making it back to my car or house. Plus, I've been XTing and could go from the TM to the bike in a matter of seconds. Anyway, I did run outside Saturday morning, and it felt awesome, so I was on my way to the Big Easy.
My life wouldn't be my life without little 'funnies' happening along the way, so I will share a quick one. My parents had made me a paranoid wreck about traveling to N.O. alone, talking about all the post- Katrina crime, blah, blah, blah. I *think*, but can't prove it, that my mom or dad called K and had a little "heart-to-heart". The thought of this really makes me laugh, but anyway... he 'decided' to go literally an hour before I walked out the door. He even offered to drive me in his new truck, so that was even *extra* nice. The difference b/w he and I (not the ONLY difference, but one) is that he doesn't quite have the lead foot that I have. We were finally entering N.O., and I swear, I was about to wet my pants. I find this weird b/c I have a bladder of steel. I am a school teacher and have held my pee for hours before. It got so bad that the moment the convention center was in sight, I told him to just drop me off, I didn't care where we were. When I got inside they were hosting a BET convention and a cheerleading competition- weird combo. Then it was like planes, trains, and automobiles to find each other again. Haha. So, not sure what my bladder was thinking there.
I was a little nervous about the new Brooks ID top. It is florescent yellow, which I really don't mind, but it was also TIGHT. It's one of those long bra thingies, but since I am so tall, it barely made it to the top of my shorts. Any of you that know me, know that I'm not really into revealing clothing. I mean, I like to look stylish, but having my stomach showing for God and all his people to see just doesn't do it for me. So, that was stressing me out a bit. I didn't really have any goals for this race other than to finish pain-free. I asked K to meet me somewhere around the 8-10 marker in case I had to drop out. Remember, I will NOT run through pain. I wanted to finish in a respectable time, but didn't really know what that meant- maybe 1:30-1:40????? Totally not sure, as I have lost SOOOOO much fitness. Here's what went down.
1) 6:54 Um, it's totally crowded, which I am really hating. I saw a few men from the Mobile running group and I'm feeling stupid b/c I can't remember ANY of their names and they all remembered mine. Oopps. We run for awhile and chat. They are doing the full.
3) 6:47 I see two other Brooks ID girls, both rocking the yellow tanks! I talk to both of them, and they are aiming for 1:35 in the half, so maybe we can run for awhile together? Goodness knows I like to talk.
6) 6:58 Brooks ID girls are falling back and I go on. I try to talk to this really pretty girl with this ROCKIN' Saints outfit on. She basically ignores me. At first this kind of hurts my feelings, but then I try to remember that some people just want to be left alone. So... I respect that and shut up.
7) 6:59 I see K here and he tells me he won't be at the finish line, so to find my way back to the hotel. Um, okay. I tell him my ankle is feeling GREAT!
8) 7:08 This is my usual trying-to-eat-gel-while-running slowdown. You would think after all my racing I would have this down pat. Um, no, gloves pose a problem.
9) 7:02 I'm tiring now b/c I'm out of shape. Oh well, feeling okay and talking to a girl named Kate. She's super nice, but her Garmin went dead. I'm keeping her updated w/ our pace. We'll be together until mile 12 when she takes off and leaves my tail in her dust. Haha- go girl!
11) 7:16 I'm really feeling out shape now, but enjoying the scenery. The road is a little rough, so I'm being careful to protect the ankle.
12) 6:57 I can hear the finish line and it sounds awesome! There's this weird overpass thingie here. I hate running on these.
The best part was actually AFTER the race. I finished and this Brooks ID guy comes up to me and asks how it went. I tell him it was great for my first post-injury race. He gives me this weird look and asks if I'm so-and-so, which I'm not. Anyway, we get to talking and he introduces me to two other Brooks gals (both named Erin)that are SUPER DUPER fast. They ask if I want to join in on their cool down, which I wildly accept. We talk about training, where we're from, etc. Both girls are super cool and super nice. I find out the guy is a coach, and I glad accept his email in case I ever decide to go down that route again. We are 2 miles in and the ankle starts to twinge and feel really tight, so I cut through the park back to the shuttle. Despite a time 5 minutes off PR, I felt SOOOOO good.
I can't really explain why I was so happy about the race. It was just one of those Thankful to Be Running type days. The weather felt awesome, and my body felt healthy. Plus, I truly love meeting and talking to other runners. It's another reason why I'm grateful to be a part of the Brooks ID group. Always a conversation starter...
I'm not really sure what the future holds with my running goals or races. My immediate goal is get the ankle 100% and make it to the start of Charlottesville healthy, which I think I can do if I play it smart. I have to be realistic that this probably won't be a PR race, but I'll get okay with that. It's a lesson that I've taken my running for granted. It's also a lesson that I need to respect my body and pay attention to warning signs. I don't consider backing off a PR attempt as 'quitting' or shutting it down. Racing doesn't always have to be for the sole purpose of PR. A year ago, or maybe even a month ago, I would not have said this. Yes, I want to PR. Yes, I want to break 3, but sometimes there are other obstacles to overcome besides that time barrier. I'll tackle those, THEN tackle 3 hours. That's the plan, folks.
Ps. No high school meets until Saturday b/c the kids are doing the graduation exam this week.