I have been blogging for a really long time. I took lots of breaks in there but for a while... blogging was the thing for runners! I enjoy writing so much more than trying to caption something on instagram.... and I learned that recently. Instagram became a quick way of writing but didn't really have that therapeutic element that a blog has. Anyway, I've decided that on Thursdays I will pull up some old blog entries and put them here for you. I'll also provide the link to the original. Today I'm sharing happier (running) times when I was healthy and running fast! Injuries are exhausting, and sometimes it's painful to look back, but sometimes its encouraging. While this particular post was a time I was running really well (and still is my 8k PR), when I read back there were lots of set backs then, too... and I got through them! Thanks for sticking with me, and if you're feeling like you'll never get through this round of injuries... YOU WILL! I've done it many times before, so I know it!
November 22, 2010
This weekend was AMAZING!
It was the Philadelphia 8k, half-marathon, and marathon events... and it was also my birthday! Matthew picked me up on Friday from my parents house where I left my car, and off we went. It was a longer car ride than I remember from last year, but that was probably because I actually had a race to run so I was a little anxious about getting to the hotel and stretching out. Since I was registered as an elite runner, I didn't have to worry about picking up my number at the expo, they set it aside for me! Almost the entire week I had been making jokes about being called "elite." Philadelphia considers a runner "elite" if they can show recent proof of a time that is equivalent to or faster than the 5th place finisher the year before. However, 2009 was an unusually slow year for the Philly 8k, so I was able to get complementary entry with a time that probably will never be considered elite again-30:4x. That's as fast as I've gone for a while, what can I say? I felt pretty sure that this years race would be a significantly faster field and I would be the slowest "elite" for sure. Afterall, I hardly qualified for elite status to begin with. So I made these sarcastic jokes about being elite as a way to cope with the fact that I was likely to get my ass handed to me.
As it turns out, Philly was very good to us "elite." I felt out of place when I entered the heated tent with a handful of Kenyan runners, along with some runners traveling from Flagstaff, AZ- A hot spot for Americas top distance runners, but I played along like I actually belonged there. I saw one girl I knew from the BAA... but it didn't help my confidence too much since she has been beating me by a whole minute in 5ks that I considered great races for me this year. I felt like she wondered what I was doing in the tent. I just kept telling my legs that they needed to get it done and crack 30 today. My pr, 29:24, was a long shot... but to at least break 30 would justify my heated tent usage.
I found myself more confident once getting to the starting line. No one, except for that one girl, knew anything about me. As far as they were concerned, I was one of the fastest runners on the line. They believed it and now I had to. I decided to use a lesson from the birds, and just run as if I were part of a flock of starlings. The gun went off and I got right out. Many women were already putting a decent distance on me, but I knew I was running faster than the 6:00 minute goal pace, so I didn't worry about them, I just wanted to move as strategically and effortlessly through the flock as I could and hope that I pulled off something worthy of the free food in the "Special Guests Tent"
I hit mile 1 in 5:45 which put me in probably 9th place. Should I have freaked out and settled from there? Maybe... But I felt good so I just said "you've been here before, just hold it until you can't anymore, and then fight for it" I was running sub 18 pace, so I figured it'd get real ugly at 2.5ish. "You're elite, damn it! You've got this!" I told myself. I even heard another part of myself laugh on the inside after the thought crossed my mind. Hah! All the sarcastic jokes about being elite were now sounding serious in my head. My mind was repeating the jokes that I said so many times back to me, but the sarcastic intonation of my voice didn't exist anymore. I had actually fooled myself into thinking I belonged at the pace I was running... which was over a minute faster than my goal, and nearly 2 minutes faster than the time I posted to qualify as an elite.
I hit mile 2 in 11:30. Exactly 5:45 again. It was happening very easy. At that point I had already run by Matthew and John who were keeping count for me. by mile 2 I had positioned myself in 7th about two strides behind the 6th place woman. I learned a lesson on passing from Joan Benoit Samuelson the hard way back in July. Perhaps she had learned the trick from Lance Armstrong as I have seen this move done many times in Le Tour de France. I made sure that when I passed the women in front of me that I did not give them any room to catch my back wheel. Basically, as they do in cycling, I threw on a surge to prevent any drafting. I did not want her to use my energy against me.
I hit mile 3 in 17:18... So I lost a few seconds... but just before mile 3 I had caught two other women... One of them was the BAA girl from Massachusetts that normally beats me by huge margins. Neither of them challenged me in the slightest, but I stuck with the passing strategy through out and my effort was so strong that I was not surprised to run right by them. My confidence grew tremendously when I realized I was still carrying a clip that would put me just at or just below 18 minutes in the 5k, a feat that I have not done on the roads this year. The best part about it was that I still felt really good! I was not in panic mode, and was not fading physically or mentally...
Immediately following the mile 3 mark, there is a hair pin turn that basically causes you to put the breaks on. That is where the hurting began, but only for a little while since I was accompanied by many steady men who kept the pace going. I can't remember my mile 4 split exactly, but it was low 23's. I remember watching the clock ticking in high 22's from afar, but when I finally reached the clock I forgot to actually look at it. I was just telling myself "one more mile." At this point I felt confident that I had solidified my fourth place finish. I was keeping track of the "elite" women, and knew that I had already passed most of them in their broken state and they would not be coming back. I could see third place running a strong race up ahead of me, and there was no way I was going to be able to bring her in... so I focused on time.
In my last mile I had a pack of men that I had been traveling along with. We started to pick off many other struggling men as we ran into the rising sun. I was starting to feel anxious about the finish, and was starting to lose focus. At this point I knew I had a PR, I knew I had 4th place, and part of me wanted to pack it in to avoid the pain all together... I felt myself drift off from the pack of men as my first negative thoughts crept in... but I quickly reminded myself that i was running the best road race of my life, and I could not look back with any regret. I had to keep fighting for the absolute fastest time I could run. I couldn't leave anything out there. So I surged to regain contact with the men and clung to them as we aproached a half mile to go. As we got closer and closer to the finish, our pack began to dismantle and I found myself leading the charge. I was flagged over to the left to finish in the "womens chute" with my eyes completely glued to the clock that continued to count closer and closer to 29. I knew I had it though, and that just fueled me more. The clock read 28:20 as I switched gears with under 200 meters to go. I was pleased to have even more turn over left with about 50 to go, and I finally arrived at the finish line stopping the clock at 28:51. A 33 second PR!
I wasn't the only PR of the weekend either!
Matthew and John toed the line for the half and full marathon the following morning. I could write several more paragraphs on how amazing it was to watch them both PR, but it's not necessary. Matt ran a 2:2x PR in the half marathon with 1:13:31, and John ran an 11 minute PR with 2:56:39. It was pretty amazing that we all ran in separate events, and were all fueled and motivated by one another. I knew I needed to set a tone on Saturday, and they knew they had a tough act to follow on Sunday. It was simply an amazing experience. To add to it, our close friend Dan Vassalo (who Matt was pretty happy to say he ran with and got to give a pep talk to the day before) WON the marathon! Only the second American to ever do so! It was pretty exciting!
The thing that is great about running a PR, is that it fuels you. When you know you are having one of the best races of your life, it is much easier to look beyond the pain until it ceases to exist. It just shows you how powerful your mind is, and how possible it is to overcome any obstacle... that includes the obstacles I've been tackling at work. Through running, I have continued to remind myself that even with the odds against you, anything is possible... So I will continue to use that mindset as I reevaluate my classroom struggles.
A few things to note here:
So as always, thanks for reading or stopping by! Tomorrow is my wedding Anniversary, so stay tuned for some story about how Matt and I met in the upcoming days! but today I end the post with the quote that was a banner on the top of my blog for many many years but is still applicable today.....
And, when you can’t go back, you have to worry only about the best way of moving forward. – The Alchemist.
Welcome to my blog! I've been blogging for a long time on various platforms. My intention has never been to reach the masses, but rather to give myself a chance to reflect and journal. I feel it at least challenges me to be somewhat coherent, however you can expect ramblings and grammatical incorrectness here!
I've recently been diagnosed with CECS and fPAES and had it treated with BOTOX of all things... So I suspect to see more and more people looking for answers with that in the future and hope to continue blogging so there will be easy to access follow-ups as that was helpful for me.
NOTE: Apologies that some of the pictures incorrectly load sometimes. I try to keep up with the glitches, but can't always! Hope it doesn't impact the blog experience for all the PAES visitors.