Saturday, September 15, 2018

Race Recap

I decided to jump into one more race before surgery next week. I wanted to see if I could actually race instead of jog, so I picked a small 5K in Longmont that benefitted the Safe Shelter of St. Vrain Valley.

It's hard to go into a race knowing you're neither physically or mentally prepared nor structurally sound, but the truth is that I love racing. Yes, it terrifies me, and I have all these limitations and demons to address. Still, there's a deep sadness in my heart when I'm completely removed from my sport. It's not a great idea to wobble through a race, but there's always a risk, even when you go in fully prepared.

The one thing I've noticed is that I tend to have some breathing issues about two miles into things when I'm actually running harder. I don't know if this is a panic type thing, but I've found slowing slightly and regrouping seems to help. The problem is that it's easy to settle into a tempo pace from there instead of putting the hammer down, which is a little bit what I did today. I got sort of lost in thought out there after the halfway point. Before I knew it, we were at the finish, and I didn't have any time to try to catch the two ladies in front of me. They seemed within reach, but I lacked confidence. Both of them looked so smooth and strong. While I was glad to keep them in view, I really wish I could have trusted myself enough to make a move. Racing is so unfamiliar to me right now, though.

I've got some noticeable imbalances to deal with, but I'm incredibly grateful that I'm running at all. Every time I say that a part of me thinks, "Yeah, but I want to really run again!" Patience isn't my forte. I have to be patient, though. If I'm not careful, too many things could go wrong. Some days I get to explore the trails; other days I'm limited to a short stroll and some biking. I just never know how much I will be able to manage on a given day, so training on a set schedule isn't likely.

But I got through a race with minimal pain. After the 10K I jogged, I had to really back off everything for a while until I could walk again. Imbalances lead to tightness and strains, so I'm forced to honor what my body says. Sometimes it says stop. Today it allowed me to be a part of the running community, and that makes me happy. I know. Even us Eeyore types smile now and then.

My time isn't great, but I feel oddly optimistic about it. Now to get through this surgery and back out there as soon as possible without being reckless.

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It's not a spectacular performance, but there's room for improvement.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

The Silly Things We Do

I should probably correct the title to I instead of we, but I suspect I'm not the only one who makes some not so sensible decisions when it comes to running.

I'll keep this short since there's not a whole lot to report. Yesterday, I went to watch the Fortitude 10K in Fort Collins. My main job, I figured, would be to cheer on my best friend who was running with the fast people. I don't quite know how or why it happened, but next thing I knew, I was standing at the start in the very slow wave thanks to the generosity, kindness, and encouragement of a few people. Obviously, this wasn't a wise decision considering my fairly recent surgery and the fact that I am scheduled for another procedure in a few weeks, but there was this tiny part of my brain that kept repeating, "Why not?"

In an effort to stay out of the race because I figured I might be tempted, I ran on the trails the day before and did a slightly faster jog the day before that. My theory was that tired legs would prompt my brain into making a sensible decision. It didn't work. From there, I convinced myself that I would jog the race. That also didn't work because once I was running, I looked around and decided I really didn't want to see a person in a dinosaur costume beat me. From there, I eased into a tempo pace, about the max I can handle right now anyway, and did my best to move forward without hurting myself too badly or running into anyone or anything on the very crowded course.

Everything was going well enough until about the halfway point when I had some tummy issues and something didn't feel right. I experienced some lower abdomen pains that I attributed to the surgery and considered stopping but convinced myself that dropping out midway through the race would be hugely disappointing. Plus, I had to get to the finish area one way or another, so I kept going, slowing here and there to better access the discomfort.

I finished strong, but when I stopped, I really didn't feel right. A lady asked if I was OK after I bent over and put my hands on my knees, a gesture someone going my speed shouldn't need to do. I told her I was but I felt a bit woozy. I'll spare anyone reading the gory details, but I guess you could say shit happens, only this was more of a small, bloody deposit. I'm sure it's related to the surgery, maybe not directly but there's a connection. Well, that wasn't pleasant. Fortunately, there was a bathroom with running water where I got myself cleaned up. I had a few rough moments getting myself back to the car, but everything sorted itself out by that evening and I should be fine. With my lopsided gait, I've got some uneven soreness and tightness that's rather concerning, but a few rest and easy days should help.

I'm not listed in the results, but that's probably a good thing. My time was embarrassingly slow, though I was glad it was under 50 minutes on such a fast course. Mostly, I was glad to spend much of the day with someone I care about, even though a lot of the time I wasn't very good company. I fell asleep on the way to the race and was too beat after to offer much in terms of conversation. Still, it was good to get out and away from routine. Additionally, I pushed myself out of my comfort zone in pretty much every way yesterday, and that has to be good for my mental health.