|Photo by Byran's wife. Kim, Rich, me, Bryan, and Gary|
I ran 20.65 miles. 19.5 of those were pain free. This makes me happy. As soon as my back started to feel a little off, I shut it down and got out of the race. Right now, I am not trained to run very far and had no business expecting to finish a marathon.
So why even go? Because I had six athletes entered in this race. I wanted to be present to witness their success or to provide support and perspective if needed. I also wanted to give myself the chance to run as far as could with Kim and Gary at a sub-4 pace before I stepped off the course. I wanted to be helpful. I wanted to feel like myself again. I also wanted to try out a pair of new shoes, Adidas Adios Boosts (breaking all the rules). I wanted to see how far I could run before the pain started so I would have an idea of where I stood. I never expected to finish. I never expected to get 20 miles!
Bucks County is a really nice race, especially for those who enjoy running on dirt. I would do this race again, but not as a goal race. In my opinion the course is slow but the dirt does minimize impact. I felt that I was working too hard to hold the pace we needed to have a chance at breaking 4 hours. But I am out of peak shape, so I was not surprised to find 9:00 per miles tiring for me. I also feel it ended up being a very warm day that started off cold. Many people were over dressed. I was extremely dehydrated during the race despite drinking often.
I am happy I went. I had a great time. I enjoyed running just to run. I feel disappointed that I did not finish, but not really. The reason I can race well is because I train hard. I felt I hit a wall at 18-19 miles and it Felt GREAT to hit that wall. There is something amazing about running until you are out of fuel. This is how to stimulate change. I was feeling amazing at 13 miles. By 15 the work was getting harder. By 18, my legs were exhausted and by 20 I was done. I am sure it did not help that I gave away one of my 2 gels to a lady trying to BQ, but I had a feeling she might need it more than me.
I always have fun with Kim and I wanted to start the race with her. We found Gary just before the start. I have trained Gary for months but never met him in person.I really love my job. I can build relationships with people through cyberspace. Then we meet in person, feeling like we know each other so well. It was nice to see Rich and Antonio out on the course and Kirsten there for support. It also was great to finally meet Bryan (and his wife) in person, who is one of my newest runners working on a Spring goal.
About Back Pain.
What can I say.... I have back pain and no one knows why. The best news is that no one knows why I have back pain, so I can rule out anything really serious or really scary. I can go on and on, but it doesn't matter what is wrong. What matters is that I focus my efforts on making things right.
About Rebuilding the Car.
Now that I feel much more confident that I can get through this, I will use what I know about training in a healthy and safe way to rehab myself. If I stumble along the way, I will seek out guidance from medical experts. However, if my pain is a result of strength and flexibilty imbalances (caused by me adding A LOT more sitting to my life) then I can work through that on my own.
I like Anthony. He makes me crazy, but he is one of the most honest, genuine, kind people I know. He too is working on recovery. It is a struggle. He posted a great photo with the caption: "Time to rebuild the car." I like that! Anthony, let's rebuild together!
My plan is simply to do what I know how to do in a slow, realistic, and systematic way. I expect this process to take months. I plan to race more as I rebuild. I am starting with a decent residual base so I feel that I am in a good place. I hope to share my progress here.
At the very least I would like to show how proper training and self-care can help people reach goals that often seem impossibly out of reach. And if I cant get through this pain, then I hope to demonstrate what graceful acceptance of limitations look like. I will plan for the best, but prepare for the worst.
Please, follow me along as I attempt to rebuild and return to a sport that makes me feel complete.