Guys – I ran in my first race since the New Jersey Marathon last year!
Since November, when I was cleared to run, I have been plugging away. Day after day, week after week – I have been slowly building up my endurance, speed, and mileage.
I remember the day I was given “clearance” (which coincidentally was on Election Night – I busted out 2 (pretty slow) miles, but 2 miles none the less. I was ready to keep on the daily 2 mile run train BUT Coach James quickly squashed that and reduced me on a walk/run plan for the next 2 months. Since then I have building up my distance (which now varies between 3-6 miles daily) and since February I have started added some “Quality” (or speed) sessions to the mix.
The inclusion of Body Roc and Yoga has also helped me build flexibility and strength, it had notw come time to test these legs (and “new hip”) in a road race, specifically the Bolton Road Race.
It’s not an easy race – I mean with a tag line that is “Come Run The Hill” BUT I knew I had to get back out there. I also signed up for it because we are getting to that time of year when many runner’s come out of “hibernation” – after a long winter it’s these annual races that runner’s gravitate toward to catch up and compare the latest news, races, injuries and whatnot.
The plan was to use this race to see where I was fitness wise. Yes – I have had some quality workouts in my training, but the longest repeat to date had been 1 mile. The Bolton Road Race is 5 miles and there is one monstrous hill that you have to conquer at the end.
I was so happy to have the support of Mark and Harley at the race (it helped that the weather was gorgeous). Mark took the reins as my “official race photographer” and Harley was more than happy to be my warm-up buddy. He is more of a sprinter than a long distance runner but he helped shake out my legs (and some nerves).
Going in to pick up my packet I was thrilled to see so many familiar faces – Connecticut is a small running community so I have missed seeing many of the people during the last year.
Soon though it was time for the race and before I knew it – we were off.
I will not bore you with specifics of the course but just some random race thoughts –
- I can’t believe I am back.
- How does my hip feel??
- Next time don’t line up in the back of the pack
- Why are people passing me??
- Yeah – I am passing people.
- Is this the hill – nope it’s only a “baby” hill
- There’s Mark and Harley – I hope he got a picture of me.
- Water – Nope. I’m good.
- Why do some people look like they are running so effortlessly. I feel so clunky.
- Here’s the hill – let’s go!
- Oh god- this hill sucks.
- Alright someone is beside me and giving me encouragement – I can’t stop now.
- The TOP OF THE HILL – smooth sailing from here on out.
- Mission Accomplished!!!!
- When’s the next one…
My mile splits for the Bolton Road Race were 8:35 (I blame myself for this – I lined up to far back); 8:08; 8:08; 7:58; 9:31 (THE HILL) – yup definitely mission accomplished. To put that in perspective – when I started back in November I was running 10:30s and feeling winded after 2 miles – on Sunday I was almost an average of 2 minutes faster. Don’t get me wrong – it’s still a long way from sustaining an 8:10 pace for a marathon (which was my scheduled “pace” for the New Jersey Marathon) but it’s definitely a confidence booster.
I hung out for a bit but then it was time to go home to shower, stretch and rest.
After the first consistent effort in almost a year and ALL THE EMOTIONS CAME OUT. Mark commented that he had almost forgotten was “post race Anne” was like – let’s just say that a combination of Runger and Tiredness took over and it was not pretty.
As for my left hip – NO PAIN! NO DISCOMFORT! NO CLICKING!
My range of motion is still improving (anyone else feel like they are running “faster” then what a photo actually shows?)
I would love to run a fast half marathon in June but one thing recovery has taught me is that 1) You don’t take anything for granted and 2) recovery is never a straight line.
So I will continue to listen to my body and each week build upon the fitness and strength that I am gaining each time I lace up my sneakers and head out for a run.
Onward we go!