Finished my first race in roughly a dozen years today. It was laid-back but fun and the clock was kind. I’m sure I’ll feel the effects tomorrow, but no lasting damage was done and that feels like victory these days.
A week ago it seemed awfully foolish to even hope that I would even be able to participate. For a month, I wasn’t able to run more than three miles and there were a couple of weeks in that time when I couldn’t manage any running at all. But a couple weeks ago the chiropractor I had been seeing told me to “put it out of my mind” and as I left her office I felt an old (but still familiar) surge… a little fire in my belly… defiant, determined… I started to think I’d find a way. By last weekend I was feeling a little better and managed a six-mile run and then I knew I’d be fine.
I’m still not sure exactly what was/is the problem – the best diagnosis I’ve got is “you’re not exactly young and you haven’t been easy on these legs”. I can’t exactly argue with that. Lots of adhesions in my calves and hamstrings and protesting nearby connective tissue. Manually breaking it up seems to be the path back to pain-free running; not exactly pleasant but I’m happy if it does the job.
When I committed to running this race a couple months ago, I thought the battle would be to stay motivated and to build up to running longer distances. I was completely caught off guard with how consuming the battle just to be able to run has been for the last several weeks. I’ve wondered plenty of times why I was putting in the daily effort to push myself over a meaningless local road race. But of course it wasn’t really about the race, it was about deciding that I really wanted to do something for myself and then finding a way to make it happen. That’s a rewarding commitment no matter what form it takes, and this was no exception.
So I’m feeling grateful that this body took a little more abuse and carried me 12k today. The old me would have scoffed at the pace*, but the not-exactly-young version of me isn’t judging. Now I just need to put the next one on my calendar.
* Because you’re curious, I finished in 1:08:31, or average miles of 9:12.