Friday, May 17, 2013

Back In the Saddle (Again)

My first official race report! So exciting. There are so many wonderful running blogs out there, including my own personal favorite:

By far the best part of reading these blogs is the RACE REPORT. After hearing about someone training and working so hard to achieve whatever goal that might be, you finally get to hear whether they met their goal, what was unique and fun about the event and live vicariously through them as they cross the finish line.

The Johnston's Wichita Half Marathon is traditionally held in late April/ early May.  This run has been the same for many years and traditionally starts from a downtown park, runs an out and back course along our river walking paths and is a no frills very fast and flat course. This year the brand that bought up our fall marathon bought up the spring half marathon as well.

So now we have Prairie Fire Spring Half Marathon. Through some pretty substantial sponsorships, loads of marketing and lots of razzle dazzle, the spring half was held on Cinco De Mayo for the first time under the new leadership.  We had a wonderful cloudy, cool morning, a new course and almost twice as many runners as usual participating.

The actual run itself was not exciting or sexy or fabulous or fast or anything remarkable. My primary reason for the excitement was because it was my first race post-Nicholas. I had been in trial for most of April and found myself completely unable to make time to run. And so the challenge for me was simply to figure out if I could finish a half with minimal (no?) training. And to gauge how my body would hold up to two + hours of effort.

The race ended up being a complete blast. I had wheels and ray ray as my committed support crew, as they both wanted to run the half and didn't care about their time.

Scott initially claimed a plastic baggie
over his phone would not affect
photo quality.

Scott lied.
Through the intervention of 'not caring about his time' and an abundance of red wine, my husband joined in the fun with our little pack.  Around mile 1, we found our friend Amanda, who has a baby just a tiny bit older than Nicholas and also needed a "first event after baby" under her belt.

Shot from a friend's truck. I lost the ill fitting green hat and found
the adorable Amanda Oakleaf!!!
And so we ran. We ran though various residential and commercial neighborhoods, some beautiful parks and along our river path. We ran by

my office

the Keeper of the Plains

Friends University

And despite hardly training and being a squishy version of myself. Despite feeling that familiar ache in my lower abdomen and upper thighs. Despite relying on others to carry the conversation because I was out of breath. The miles just ticked off. Miles one through nine just flowed. We walked every mile marker for a minute or so, prodded on by Scott to run again, Scottie always the coach.

I struggled with my posture (as I always do) and was given consistent reminders by Scott to put my hips forward, pull my shoulders back, shorten my stride. I hurt. BAD...the last three miles. But after so many races and so many miles and years of running, I have the ability to acknowledge the pain, separate myself from it and just keep moving forward. Ten years ago, I would have quit when it started to hurt.  Now I just embrace the pain, accept my body is not where it needs to be and keep running. I looked at Scott at mile 12, during our walk break and sincerely said "This just hurts." Knowing I wasn't risking injury or anything but a little soreness, he told me we would probably pick up the pace a hair the last mile. (!)

And we did. And I lived. I did not mess with tracking mile splits but my final time was 2:25:28 or 11:06 minute miles! Now, my fastest half marathon is roughly 35 minutes yes we have some work to do. And yes I am not "back". But back in the saddle? I think so. Finishing 13.1 mile, no matter how ugly is a solid distance and a solid accomplishment. It felt good. So the saddle hurt and my body is not broken in. Yet.

Me, Kim, Nate, Nickki, Scott, Amanda, Renee, Kristen. Finished and happy.

The rest of cinco de mayo was spent shuttling kids, meeting up with la familia for a Lopez celebration and pretty busy mommy/ daughter/ wifey stuff. But for 2:25 minutes during a cool spring morning, I found that part of me that has gone missing the last year. The happy runner girl. The runner who high fives every kid cheering on the runners. The runner who laughs with friends at her lack of training. The runner who dresses "ironically". The runner who always forgets to stop her watch the at the finish line. I feel like I'm waking up that part of myself that has been in hibernation. And the fire is rekindled.

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