Sunday morning I jumped into Run 716 in Buffalo. It is a first year 15K put on by Score This !!!! that began at the Flying Bison Brewery downtown, and it was amazing. My friend Jamie texted me the day before with an “I’ll do it if you do it”.
I thought for a moment. It’s been almost a year since I have raced, and while I am building really well towards this marathon, I am not in race shape. But I am at the point where a recovery week entails a long run of 9 miles…. so I am well on my way (I am heading towards a fall marathon). Plus, it was the chance to run with my longtime friend. I also wanted to know if I was REALLY okay with having a race result that was an easy run. I always say I am not attached to numbers and placings….. but am I? There was one way to find out.
“I am in.” I told him. Bonus: it was to benefit the Food Bank of Westen New York. A race put on by Score This !!!, for a great cause, on a great course with a great friend…. how could I refuse that?
I felt excited to put a number on. I felt excited to realize that a 9-mile long run is a recovery week. As I said it’s been nearly a year since I pinned a number on (aside from the Buffalo Marathon relay).
We did a 10 minute warm up, caught up with friends and then…. the race was on! I ran with Jamie who is coming back from injury, and we ran a nice easy steady pace. It was the perfect morning. Running and great conversation. I’d much prefer running 15K and catching up, then sitting at a bar and doing it over a beer. This is just my scene, my jam.
I felt awesome the whole time. I am at the point where easy running feels easy again. This time around it’s not “wow I can’t believe I ran this far” … it’s …. “it feels good to be back to this, but this time so much healthier.” Mentally and physically healthier.
I have always been the athlete who refuses to live in angst about fitness, performances, or lackthereof. I have always been the athlete who loves to experience joy and life at it’s fullest. Now dont’ get me wrong, there are some amazing athletes who THRIVE on being angry. I like to use that with certain athletes. Piss them off I say, they run amazing!
But me…. I thrive on happiness. Every race picture I have ever had taken, I am smiling. I smiled the whole way on Sunday. Even when I am in the hardest effort of my life, I smile. Coaches have told me it means I am not working hard enough, but even when I am drooling blood, I will smile. I just learned to stop allowing external forces tell me how I feel, how hard I am or am not working, and I bring it from within.
For eight miles, I wasn’t working that hard. To be at that point fitness wise…. that was a HUGE VICTORY. It has taken me months and months to build to this point. I started with averaging 8 miles a week, and now I am up to nearly 40. I started at the beginning again and I have carefully and conservatively built my fitness. I have been through too much to rip myself apart. This is based on intuition, and extreme listening to my body.
I designed the plan, and Curt consults me along the way.
Now at mile 8, I had that feeling. I almost cried. That feeling of I think I can pick this up a bit, should we test the legs, how many people can I pass in this final mile? It got me so excited. So I went. The thought of you haven’t done ANY speedwork never entered my mind. I just ran. I found that feeling of nudging up right next to the red line. I stayed just a bit behind it, but I FELT IT. It felt GOOD.
Run 716 was an awesome checkpoint for how things were coming along. Our pace would put us at a 4:30-4:40 marathon (theoretically) if we ran the marathon tomorrow. My long run is up to 13 and I have hit 40-mile weeks. I hit 40, brought it back a little bit, and I am going to brush it again this week. I am running 5-6 days a week. I am riding a TON, with some 200-mile weeks in there, and I am finally back in the pool. The 6-month break was exactly what I needed.
I am down ten pounds. I am working a really amazing program to improve my body composition. I literally eat whatever I want, no kidding. No pills, powders, shakes, products. Real food, any food I want. Including brownies. And bread. I have learned so much, and when I am done working it, I will share. With my disordered eating history, it’s truly the most freeing program I have ever done. So stay tuned.
In a few weeks, I am embarking on a 200-mile bike trip along the Erie Canal. Panniers and all. I can’t freaking wait.
This new chapter has been amazing. I am loving the process and loving the progress. I am being careful and conservative and taking the proper time to build this foundation. I know what overtraining feels like and it took me a long time, many doctor visits and a boatload of bloodwork to even diagnose it. It took a lot of stepping back, walking, and life changes to crawl out of it. I know there is a better way to build an Ironman than that. It’s called intuition and experience.
I would highly recommend this race. The race crew, volunteers, Police…… I felt like there were just as many of them as there were athletes. Just when I think Score This !!! has hit their peak, they come along with a race like this and smash that thought. No one puts on races like they do. No one. PERIOD.
Thanks for the below photo Diane Sardes! Please note that our feet are off the ground. That might be a first in my running HISTORY!!!
Thanks Jamie for talking me into this event, and for letting me run with you!