Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Back on track and Santa to the Sea Half Marathon recap

HELLO! Long time, no write...I know, I know.

It has been a long time since my last post. My groin injury really sucked the life out of my running and writing. It has been a tough second half of the year. Here goes a quick re-cap...I'm sure I will fill in the details over the next few posts:

I was on cloud-9 after my Salsa Dash 10K. I was super high on my great time and how great I felt during and after the race. I was going to use this run as my base to decide how to approach my half marathon in December. I was feelin' good!

Then came the injury. Pretty much sat on my butt for 2.5 months. End of October came around and I finally felt ready to start jogging. Things were looking good. No pain. YES! I was back on track...and then came the knee issue. Same leg as my groin pull. Major knee pain within a couple miles and would not stop. This prolonged the slow return to running. How was I going to train and pull of my half marathon in less than 2 months?!?

Well, I managed to get all my long runs in...but they were all VERY SLOW and full of pain. But I was able to get through an 11 mile run two weeks before the half so I decided to go for it.

Santa to the Sea Half Marathon arrived this last weekend. Sunday morning arrived and I was ready to go with my knee brace and ibuprofen tucked into my running belt. All I wanted to do was finish under my time from last year (which was a terrible experience).

I started out WAY too fast, thanks to a friend of mine who thinks 9:20 is a good "warm up" pace...HA! 9:20 per mile IS speed for me. So I ran with her for 2 miles and then said goodbye. She finished right at 2 hours!

I slowed down big time. I was not going to let my mind overwhelm my body and what I knew I was and was not able to do. Mile 3 came around, I was feeling okay. The first 3-4 miles are always super hard for me. There is a war going on in my mind during those first miles of "Ouch, this hurts and is no fun. I would rather be in bed" and "No, just have to do this! Keep going" and "WHAT AM I THINKING!?! 13.1 are CRAZY!"

Then mile 4 comes around and I start to feel warmed up. I tap into that runner's high and try to find my groove. But at mile 4 this last Sunday, my knee was screaming to please stop. It was terrible. I jogged along praying that the pain would go away, but no luck. So I popped 3 Ibuprofen at the water station and praying for pain relief ASAP.

The pain continued for the next 4-5 miles, but I was determined to not stop. Walking = GAME OVER for me and my knee. Beyond my knee though, I felt great! Mentally I was on track. The rest of my body was holding up just fine. Other than the knee, I was running comfortably.

Then glorious mile 9 came around! Everything started falling into place. After my intense hunger pain at mile 8 disappeared (the entire mile I was day-dreaming of food and for about a quarter mile, I talked to another friend I found about all the yummy foods I was craving), I suddenly realized I was going a lot faster than I had been for the last 9 miles and my body wanted to go faster. AND, no knee pain...absolutely gone while I was running. It actually hurt to walk! So I had no choice but to run. The last 4 miles I was cheering, chatting with everyone I ran alongside, thanking volunteers who controlled the angry traffic jams as we ran through major intersections of the city. And before I knee it, I could hear the finish line. Then I could see it. The last 0.1 was a full out sprint...I wanted to be done!!!!

Crossed the finish line at 2:15:27, a 10:20/mile pace. Not bad. 10 minutes faster than the year before. At the finish line, I felt really good. Tired legs, hungry belly, but good.

My third half marathon, but the first I can say I actually ENJOYED.

So, what's next? REST! Get this knee back to normal. I am also having some pain in my right foot so that's no good either. As soon as this foot pain goes away (it is actually quite intense, but the foot looks fine) I plan on continuing my regular running schedule. Next race...don't know and right now that is okay with me! I will be enjoying running for running, not running for racing :)

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