The Finish Line

I haven’t posted in a while…I’ve been in a bit of a rut.

For the past 3 months, I have been training for my first half-marathon.  My workouts consisted of 4 running days and 2 cross-training days.  My running days varied between 3 and 5 miles, with a weekly long run thrown in the mix at a max of 12 miles.  All of my runs were consistent running with an average pace of 9-11:30 minute mile depending upon whether I was tempo, easy, etc.  My cross training regimen consisted of strength training, cardio/strength circuits and Krav Maga.

During this increasingly strenuous training schedule, I became more aware that my body was not adapting well to long runs.  I began to feel sick to my stomach on any run greater than 6 miles; I could not eat for up to 2 hours post-run.  My legs were tired, my toes ached and belly churned.  I became increasingly negative about the big race.

Then, I ran a “tune-up” 10 mile race to prepare for my half.  It went well!  I paced around 10:20 per mile, which was 25 seconds faster than my goal.  I was feeling better about the big race, but I still carried around a lot of anxiety.

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A week after the 10 miler, I went for a long run.  I planned on an easy run, and going about 13 miles.  At mile 5, I noticed some discomfort in my left knee.  By mile 7, I was unable to run without a consistent achy pain.  I stopped.

The RICE method filled the following week.  I took a break from running, and focused on cross training.  By the following Thursday, I tried again.  I could pace for about 2 miles, but after that, pain.  I gave it another week.

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It was the Thursday before the race.  I taped and braced, but I was unable to run for more than 30 seconds on the indoor track without pain.  I broke down in tears at the gym.  I had to accept what felt like defeat.  I had worked so hard.  I had put every ounce of myself into a finish line that I would not cross.

March 30th came, and went.  I see the posts and pics of Run the Bluegrass finishers and I am consumed by mixed feelings.  I am so proud of all the runners!  I just wish I could have raced with them.

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Today, I am still unable to run without pain, but I’m confident that I will bounce back.  I hope to finish at the Autism Speaks 5K on the 20th.  Prayers are greatly appreciated.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. The righteous person may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all; he protects all his bones, not one of them will be broken.

Psalm 34:18-20

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The Miles Ahead

It is acceptable to say that I am a confident person.  I have been called strong-willed by multiple people, and to me, that is a HUGE compliment.  It is atypical to become a strong-willed person overnight.  Almost always, a strong-willed person has had to overcome a myriad of obstacles that served to mold them into a down and dirty, teeth-clenching, goal-setting maniac.

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If everything in life was in our favor what a world this would be!  We would never have bad mornings that created a spiraling and terrible rest of the day.  My hair would always look as though I cared enough to fix it.  Results from a new fitness regimen would be instantaneous; there would be no weight gain or debilitating muscle soreness and fatigue.  There have been days that I have been so sore that it was excruciating to walk – these were the moments I began to wonder if I was determined or just plain crazy.

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I have struggled many times during my journey to re-awaken my inner athlete.  When I began “running” in May of 2012, I couldn’t run more than a couple of minutes at a time.  Thank goodness for Couch to 5K on my iPhone (I highly recommend this for the beginner – I promise it works!).  I have to admit that I was extremely jelly of the random “runner” on my neighborhood path.  There she was, bounding along with her perfect ponytail and strong stride, leaving me in the proverbial dust.

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There were days that I prayed for the strength to walk out my front door.

I kept at it.  I told myself that any time I spent on the pavement was beneficial.  I started to appreciate simpler things like sunny days and the smell of laundry as I passed houses in my neighborhood.  As I connected with the outside world, being perfect didn’t seem that important.  I ran my first 5K in July of 2012, and had a blast!

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Running can provide life with a lot of perspective.  Joel Osteen, a popular televangelist, has an excellent way of relating running to life.  He says that while running you must focus on here and now.  The past is obviously behind you, and if you look back too often you risk stumbling and scraping your knees.  If you focus too far into the future, or upon how many miles you have left to go, it’s incredibly easy to become overwhelmed and tempted to give up.

So as I look forward to my longest race ever tomorrow, I must remind myself that I am prepared for here and now.

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And hey, when you are running your first race of a particular distance, you’ve automatically achieved a PR.

Here’s to that finish line,

Audrey

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