Yesterday I ran a local Halloween half marathon close to where I went to high school. A beautiful course setting, I’ve run before, on the roads through a large park. But this was a little out of my comfort zone … this course had trails. EEEK.
I was registered for quite a few races before I found the one I ran yesterday. But along with a really neat sparkly skull medal (HA) I liked this race for the challenges it presented me with. Hills and trials. Don’t get me wrong, I love running hills, but I LOATHE running trails. They scare me.
This race couldn’t have come at a better time for me. I feel like me again. My head, heart and body have aligned and it feels FABULOUS. So I was completely up for the challenge of this course. And boy oh boy, was it challenging.
I spoke with a few runners after we were finished. All of us agreed that this course was harder than even San Francisco … and it had DIRT DOWNHILLS.
I was sure I was going to eat dirt, literally. So … I just screamed running down them. Not like a crazy wild woman scream, but more like a whiney sissy scream. Yep. I own it.
Sure, I could have walked down them, but I was bent. This race would be my “comeback” race. And it was.
I have struggled for months to run a 9:30 mile pace again … and sadly that isn’t even my goal pace! I did it a few weeks ago and then two weeks later somehow managed a 6 miler under a 9 minute pace. All I can say is that running is baffling.
Anyway, all I wanted to do yesterday was to finish this out of my comfort zone race, faster than I finished San Francisco in July. I didn’t care if it was by one second. I held back in San Francisco and ran slower to keep on track for Ventura. So I figured this more challenging course and terrain was going to be my gauge. Am I “back” physically or not. Can I now push myself to where I want to go, without the constant worry of injury? Am I really me again? Needless to say, emotionally, a lot was riding on yesterday’s race.
And so off I went. Hitting the pavement, dirt and hills in the heat of the late race start sun. And in the end, I crossed that finish line over 9 minutes faster than I did San Francisco. My finishing time was 2:06:38 and I finished 8th (out of 82) in my age group. It wasn’t a personal best for me, but I’ve learned courses dictate performance. I know by now that my time coupled with considering course difficulty is a better indicator of “where I’m at” than just my finishing time.
On top of doing much better than I had hoped. I was greeted at the finish line by a dear friend and Sidney who put my medal around my neck. Talk about a special race moment! Yep, I cried.
Comebacks are a funny thing. And they are getting funnier as I age. I never know what to expect of myself after an injury or set back. Do I expect more? Less? What factors do I measure in? I can tell you this, I am really thankful for new age groupings, HA!
Anyway, all I know is that I still have dreams and goals set in my heart and head. And as long as I feel healthy … and crazy … enough to chase them, I will.
No, I am still not quiet where I was earlier this year. And no, I am not where I want to be. But after yesterday, I finally feel like I’m at least headed in the right direction again. And for this, I am truly grateful.
Well, I hope you all have a day where you feel like you are finally making a comeback!!!