Saturday, April 28, 2012

Somebody That I Used to Know

The past six weeks have been a whirlwind, but I’m FINALLY starting to feel like somebody that I used to know. :-) I decided last week, upon the encouraging doctor visit, to run the Cleveland Half Marathon in May. I have definitely cut back on my training significantly (only around 25ish miles a week) and I’ve been focusing on cross-training. I’ve been putting in a few miles (4-5) and following it up with either the elliptical or bike 4 days a week, dedicating 1 day to just cross-training with no running, and running long on the weekend. My latest long run was an 11 miler last Saturday. Since I’ve been running very casually over the past few weeks, I decided to step this one up a little bit without over-doing it. I managed a cozy 7:20ish pace and felt great at the finish. I am feeling super motivated to potentially run a decent half marathon in a few weeks despite all I’ve been through!

Although I definitely feel like I’m in good shape, the only way to really tell is by putting it to the test. No matter what, I always run my best when it’s in a race. The forecast for Saturday was cold and rainy, but sunny and in the 50s on Sunday.  I was thinking a 5k rainy race on Saturday followed by a sunny, comfortable 12 miler on Sunday was my best bet. Fortunately, there was a 5K in Avon at the Crusher’s stadium on Saturday so I decided if I felt up to it that morning, I would do it!

I was at work until late Friday night supervising a charity Cornhole Tournament I put together with my students, and didn’t get home until around 11. I was pretty wound up, and woke up multiple times throughout the night. I beat my alarm clock and was up around 6am, with butterflies in my stomach about the 5k I was to run that day. It felt like it’s been a lifetime since I’ve raced, although it’s hardly been 2 months! The weather looked favorable, relatively speaking of course, and so I got geared up and was out the door.

I got out to Avon a bit early, and therefore spent some time sitting in my car relaxing before the race. I got in a quick mile warm up 20 minutes before the race, was feeling confident, and ready to see what I could put out. I had serious butterflies and felt pretty nervous lining up at the start. My training has been pretty limited, I have done some but not much speed work, and I wasn’t sure if my confidence came from the excitement of the moment or if it was in line with what I could really do that day. I REALLY wanted this race to be the confidence booster I needed to get me back to where I was, and put behind what has been holding my back for the past few weeks. I was feeling ready to get back to me. J

There was a tiny delay before the start, but then the horn went off and so off we went! I started out ahead of pace as usual, and was immediately the front runner with a few close behind me. I kept waiting for one of the dudes to zoom past me….and waiting…and waiting…until I came to the first turn around and realized I was kicking some major butt! I crossed the first mile marker at 6:04, and was feeling a tad bit nervous that I could potentially crash and burn. The last thing I wanted to happen at that point was to get passed by a smart runner who saved it until the end, so I kept my head in the game and kept pushing but dropped my pace a bit. It was a double loop course, and upon the first loop realized that I had a good chance of being thee TOP overall finisher out of both the males and the females. Although this was clearly not the Boston Marathon, it was really exciting to be able to accomplish this lofty goal I’ve had for a while that I never thought was really attainable. AND, that’s just what I was on track to do. As I was coming into the 2nd mile, I knew I had it but wanted a strong finish. I ran my own race from that point on, and kept pushing and pushing. The course was about .12 miles longer than it should have been (HATE when that happens), my Garmin BEEPED at 19:33, but I crossed the finish line at 19:51. Regardless, I was STOKED that I was under 20 minutes AND THE TOP OVERALL FINISHER!  

My goal going in was to be competitive and to at least run a 20:00ish pace. Not only did I accomplish my goal, but I CRUSHED IT! I was interview by a few local newspapers, got a nice trophy, and was praised with lots of kind words by the other runners (mainly for kicking all of the boys’ butts!!---Who runs the world? GIRLS!! ). However, the most important thing I got out of the race was my confidence back. With all of the uncertainty with my health issues, I haven’t felt fully comfortable running like ME. To be completely honest, it embarrasses the crap out of me that I’m on a beta-blocker. I hate saying it outloud, I hate telling people the story, and I hate the constant reminder taking it every day. It makes me feel weak and that I'm less than an athlete. However, cardiac issue or not, neurological issue or not, today proved that I am most certainly far from weak! I'm still kicking butt, and there is plenty of butt still out there to kick. HA!

I must mention the best compliment at the race that came from some random dude volunteer that said to me in passing, “WOW. I loved watching you race because you never quit. Even when you were ahead you just wouldn’t quit! You really wanted to be number 1, huh?” I'm sure he has no idea how much that meant to me. I choked up a little bit, and said “Yep, can’t accept anything but number 1!” Evidently, that random guy gets me, LOL. No matter what, I can't quit---it's just not who I am. More over, the truth is, it’s not so much about being number 1 in comparison to anyone else. It’s about being number 1 in comparison to ME. At that moment, I felt for ME I was number 1. I haven’t felt that way in what seems to be a long time. It was an amazing feeling. MP's back! :-D
I have 12 miles tomorrow on what’s forecasted to be a sunny 50 degree weather day. I’m looking forward to it, and will be brainstorming my plans for the Cleveland Half Marathon which is in a few short weeks. As I said in my last post, my primary focus is to HAVE fun and enjoy the experience---any other goal will just have to add to that!!
I'm starting to feel like sombody that I used to know...:-)

3 comments:

  1. Congrats, MP, on your awesome accomplishment and the sense of confidence and pride it gave you!! Love you!

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  2. That's AWESOME! Congrats on your victory and getting some confidence back. Glad to see that you're doing well!

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