Sunday, November 30, 2014

November ..... The Month of the Running Comeback

During the month of November, I ran 4 races including a 5K, two 5 mile races and a 13K. Here is my place, finishing time and pace for each race:

I came in 53rd place in the Halloween 13K with a time of 1:15:30, which is a 9:21 min/mi pace.

I came in 69th place in the Returning Warrior 5 Miler race with a time of 44:00, which is an 8:48 min/mi pace.

I came in 27th place overall and 2nd place in my age group at the Chilly Chase 5K with a time of 25:55, which is an 8:20 min/mi pace.

I came in 297th place at the Pete Keyes Turkey Trot 5 mile race with a time of 44:57, which is a 9:00 min/mi pace.

For someone who just had surgery 6 months ago and is making her running comeback, I would say that those are some pretty great race times. A few months ago I was not sure that I would ever run again or if I would ever be good at running again. It definitely took me quite awhile to get back into running and it was a bit of a struggle at first. I am actually a faster runner now than before I had surgery. Being healthy again makes it much easier to run.

Out of all of the races that I ran this month, I am most proud of how well I did at the Chilly Chase 5K. I decided to sign up for this race because I wanted to run a shorter race after signing up for 3 longer races this month. I knew that I had a chance to do well in this race because my pace kept continuing to improve and this was going to be a smaller race.

There were only about 100 people who ran this race so it was nice to run a smaller race for a change. When the race started, I was out towards the front of the pack and there were only about 15-20 people ahead of me. I definitely got caught up in the hype of this race because my first mile ended up being around 7:50 and I never run that fast. I knew that I needed to slow down if I wanted to do well so I did.

As I finished my second mile, I did not see anyone ahead of me that looked like they would be in my age group. I was feeling good and I knew that I was going to have a really good finish. When I was around mile 2.5, I turned around and did not see anyone who was very close to me. I thought that I was going to be able to finish the race without anyone in my age group passing me.

At mile 3, I turned the corner to the finish line. I only had 0.1 miles left and I could see the clock at the finish line. I knew that I was going to get a personal record for my best 5K time. I was running as fast as my legs would let me when 2 girls blew past me right before the finish. One of those girls was in my age group. She beat me by 5 seconds and took 1st place in our age group. I was a little upset at first that I was so close and I had missed 1st place by 5 seconds. However, I would say that coming in 2nd place in your age group and getting a 5K PR is still a pretty big deal.

November was a really good running month for me and I had a lot of great races and runs. I am glad that I am finally back into running and even faster than I was before. I am going to continue running through the winter, but I always cut back my mileage during the winter months. I like to give the body a break from running and I plan to do other forms of cardio this winter. Amy and I actually joined a gym so that we could take classes and do things other than running. It was funny that we both ended up running on the treadmill the night that we signed up for the gym. I have been doing other things at the gym besides running since then. I do not have any upcoming races, but the month of November was definitely a great finish to the 2014 running season.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Things That I Am Thankful For

So my last few blog posts have not exactly been the happiest blog posts. Recovering from surgery and returning to running certainly has been a roller coaster ride. Some days it is frustrating to not be able to run like I used to, but I am finally starting to enjoy running again. I might not be getting my distance back quite yet, but I have certainly improved my speed quite a bit. I actually think that I can run faster now than before I had surgery. I used to run a 9:30 - 10:00 min/mi pace for most of my runs and lately I have been able to keep my pace below a 9:00 min/mi pace. I was even able to maintain a really good pace at the Returning Warrior 5 miler race this weekend.

Jay, Amy and I all signed up for this race together, but they ran the 10 mile race. I definitely was not ready for 10 miles and I am glad that I stuck to the 5 mile race. I definitely could not have run 10 miles on Sunday, but I felt pretty good running 5 miles. When I started the race, I went out at a pretty comfortable pace. Shortly into the race, I saw Jackie and we ran together for about a mile. It was nice to have someone to talk to and run with for a little bit. I was hoping to run the race in 45 minutes, but figured that I would probably finish between 47 and 50 minutes. I went out a little more quickly than I should have so I had to slow down a little bit. I did not think that I was going to meet my race goal because I felt like I had slowed down quite a bit. However, I have improved my speed so much over the last few weeks that I really wasn't running as slow as I had thought.

I ended up crossing the finish line at 44:00, which was a minute faster than I was expecting. This race was exactly what I needed to turn my running attitude around and to really start to enjoy running again. My pace for the race was 8:48 min/mi and I cannot ever remember running that fast before I had surgery. I ended up finishing the race in 69th place out of 231 runners. I was the 22nd female to finish and I was 10th in my age group. I was very happy with how well I did in this race and I am extremely happy that running is beginning to get easier again. I am just going to focus on shorter distances for awhile and not worry about increasing my distance. Sometimes I forget that it has only been 5 & 1/2 months since I had surgery and I am definitely doing very well for someone who is making her comeback.

As I have been making my running comeback, I have been thinking a lot about how thankful I am to be running again. I am extremely thankful to be so healthy after struggling with stomach issues for 11 years. It was around this time a year ago when my stomach issues began to worsen and running no longer felt good. I love that I am able to run again and I love that I feel pretty good when I am running.

Lately, I have been thinking about how much my life has changed for the better over the past year and a half and I have Jason to thank for that. It is hard to believe that a couple of years ago I was not sure if I even wanted to stay here. Now we are engaged, we own a house and we are planning our wedding. Jason is the perfect guy for me and I would definitely say that he is my better half. I think that Jason has made me a better person and I am so lucky that I get to marry such an amazing man in just a few more months.

I am extremely thankful for all that Jason and our families did for me after I had surgery, but there is one person in particular that I owe a special thank you to. I might not tell her enough how much I appreciate her, but I am extremely grateful for everything that my mom did for us. My mom stayed here for a week and a half when I had surgery and her and Jason spent every day in the hospital with me. My mom did a lot of stuff for us right after I had surgery like cooking, cleaning and laundry. When we moved a month and a half after that, I still had some restrictions so my mom came down to help us again. My mom spent another week and a half down here helping us clean our house, my apartment and move. She definitely went above and beyond and I am so grateful that my mom still does so much for me.

Even though we do not live near each other anymore, I am extremely grateful that I am so close with my family. I am thankful that I still get to see my parents often and that my mom and I talk almost every day still. I wish that I was able to see my brothers and sister-in-laws more often, but I am glad that we still talk often. My family is one of the reasons that I am looking forward to our wedding so much. I cannot wait to have my dad walk me down the aisle and try to keep up with him on the dance floor. We are rarely ever all home at the same time anymore so it will be extremely nice to all be together that weekend.
I am also very thankful for Jason's family. I love that I have gotten to know Jay's family so much better over the past few months and that we get to spend a lot of time together. I am extremely thankful that Amy was persistent in playing matchmaker for Jason and I. I am really happy that Amy and I have become such good friends and that I am close with her family too. I absolutely love her children Andrew and Maddy and I love spending time with them. I also love seeing how great Uncle Jay is with the kids and I know that he will make a great dad in a few years when we are ready to have kids. In conclusion, my life is pretty wonderful right now and I have a lot more to be thankful for than just running.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Halloween 13K Recap

Lately I have been running because I feel like I should and not because I really want to. I feel fine physically so that is not why I really do not want to. One year ago, I was having health issues and I still found running more enjoyable than I do now. I think the hardest part is that I cannot run like I used to and I've even said to a couple of people that my prime running days are over. I am only 26 and my prime running days really are over. I have run 51 road races in the past 6 years, including 6 half marathons and one full marathon. The road race total will definitely continue to increase, but the marathon total definitely won't and it's pretty likely that the half marathon total will not increase either. When I was training for the half marathons and for my marathon, I had a big goal that I was working towards and I do not have that anymore. I'm not used to running just to run. I am used to having a running goal and working towards that goal. I do not have a training plan that I am sticking to anymore and sometimes it is harder to force myself to go out and run when I do not have a set plan. I have a couple more races coming up so hopefully that will make running a little more enjoyable again.

This past weekend, Jay, Amy and I all ran the Halloween 13K. Jay and Amy both had really good race times and they each came in 2nd place in their respective age groups. I finished the race in 53rd place with a time of  1:15:30, which is a pace of 9:21 min/mi. I felt really good for most of the race. The first half of the race was pretty easy for me, but the back half was a little bit tougher. We were running against the wind for the second half and then there was a killer hill between miles 6 and 7. I got a cramp after the hill, but luckily it was not on my surgery side so I was glad about that. Jay waited for me and ran a little bit of the end with me and I even finished the race 8 minutes faster than I did last year. Even though I ran faster than last year, I did not have a fast race time or win a medal or really accomplish anything. I don't feel entirely proud of my race this weekend because I was the only one who did not really accomplish anything. I don't know if I will ever get to the point where I am fast enough to place in an age group. I have improved my pace quite a bit over the past month, but I am still just a mediocre runner.