Sunday, November 29, 2015


Not me. Not ever.
.  . . And I’m back. 

I’m feeling supremely good. I have the runners’ high that everyone speaks of. When I began the running journey in 2008, I thought people were mad for getting excited over running.

Who gets giddy, excited, high from running?

I'm the girl who "ran" Track and Field in high school and did all the weight events to avoid the running portion of Track and Field. I never understood the runners high. When I got deeper into my marathon training, I learned that it is an actual thing and it's something somebody even like me can have.

Training has been difficult. I started off strong in the spring and summer, but after going through a difficult “break up” in the late part of summer and early fall, those necessary training runs fell by the wayside. A friend called me out on Face Book and suggested I do a 10k that was to benefit brain tumor research. After dallying on signing up for a 10k closer to home, I immediately signed up for that one. I was re-commited to endurance training and dug out my marathon training schedule from 2008/2009. I started laying down the miles.  Muscle memory is great when you're revisiting a neighborhood you haven't been to in awhile, but the muscle memory I experienced with these runs was amazing. Sure, my muscles got a little tired and fatigued. My lung capacity isn’t what it was, but these runs were nothing like the first 3, 4 and 5 mile runs I did when I first found the sport of endurance running.

I was feeling good, but not great. And, certainly not confident. I figured I would use the 10k (6.2 miles) as a training run and just train through. This way, I wouldn’t need to worry about time, a PR or anything. But, I’m a runner, I worry about those things. As my coach from my first marathon told me- Have 3 goals: 1 that you can achieve with work, one that is doable, and the third should always be to finish. My goal was to do a sub 1:21 10k. That was my pace during my marathon, and it was a better 10k pace than the race I did with the closeted smoker. With my toes on my left foot bothering me after a 5 mile run the week before the race and my bridge of my right foot bothering me, I readjusted…. Sub 1:30. Well, that’s what I told everyone and what I tried to tell myself. But I still wanted that sub 1:21 even though I was doubtful I could achieve it.

Within the last year, I discover I have a small wheat intolerance, which forced me to change my eating regimen the night before my long runs. For my 10k, I had a giant bowl of quinoa, some grocery store sushi, 2 glasses of red wine and promptly overslept. I woke up at the time I should be leaving for the race. Fortunately, my ex-boyfriend who was a runner drilled it into my head that you need to lay out all your clothes on a chair the night before. That way you can’t possibly miss anything. When the chair is empty, you know you have all your stuff and you’re ready. 

After waking up late, I threw my extra quinoa in the microwave and ran around the house like a maniac cursing that I slept through my alarms and the imminent road closures I would experience when I got closer to the course. Unable to do my traditional pre-long run morning ritual, I shoveled breakfast into my mouth at red lights. Some how, as I got closer, the road divergences weren’t too bad. Pulling into the parking lot, I finished breakfast and had half a banana.

The rest of the morning was a lot of pre-race festitivies to get the runners excited about the run. This was, after all, a brain tumor event. Survivors were wearing grey shirts. There were probably 10 of us I spotted on the course.

The first mile was slow. So slow. People kept passing me. I was getting discouraged, but dug in. I had been here before, slow to start and run my own race. I kept telling myself, "don’t psych yourself out. Just run the pace that feels good." I knew looking at my watch, I'd inherently slow down thinking my pace was impossible, so I just kept running.

One of my running friends who had run the 5k, found me just after mile 4 and we ran a mile together. She had to peel off to meet friends for brunch, but she told me I had a downhill to look forward to for the rest of the course. I passed people who had passed me, shared waves with other brain tumor survivors and almost crashed into a woman who decided to cross the course at the finish line. 

When the official results came out, I was floored. I didn’t run a 1:21 10k; I ran a 1:13…. A full 8 minutes faster than what I wanted and a full 18 minutes faster than what I expected. This puts my overall pace at 11:46. Sure, it’s a race pace, but my natural pace is somewhere between what I WAS running and this. Now, I have a new sweet spot, a new training pace. I know I can endure long runs at this pace. 

Coupled with tempo runs/intervals/200 repeats/hill repeats, you name it, I’ll get my sub 2:30:00 half. What’s more this and the ballroom go hand in hand. My balance from ballroom has strengthened my core and overall improved my form. My running strengthens my cardiovascular and allows me to keep up with my daning parter/coach. 

I’m absolutley humbled by what I’ve been able to accomplish. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times: It’s Amaing What You Can Do Without A Brain Tumor.