Walking back from an aborted run, I weighed less on the thought that this was failed run but more so a preemptive move. A quarter mile was all it took before I stopped and finally accepted the truth.
It has been months since I accepted any truths before me. I’ve been shrugging them off and passing them aside, refusing to accept the fact that I am unhappy.
I’ve been unhappy for a long time now. It’s not just one thing, but all little things put together and created this one vast wisp of dark aura. It’s nothing that I can’t handle. Though some of the sad plumes are larger than others, with a little help I can see the blue in the skies and the bright rays of daylight again. But first, I need to accept that I am sad.
After a quarter mile today, I accepted one of the many truths looming around me. It’s a recovery year for running. No matter how much I dream to be back running sub 8s and long distances, I know it’s not going to happen this year. I’m far from my best form but I’m progressing a lot quicker than expected. To which, some rest is never a bad thing. With a 10 miler & a half marathon approaching in ten days, I must first err on the side of caution. So a failed run that I would normally see as failure became an aborted run so I can rest my legs for the forthcoming races. Sadness. Acceptance. Some happiness.
Knowing that I’m sad and accepting it will hopefully allow me to be happy again soon. Just accepting that I needed to stop to ready my legs for a race brought some joy in me today. A joyful anxiety knowing that I will race again soon and do my best. But that’s just one of the number of unhappy things that has clouded me.
The absence of acceptance has made me more sad that I should be right now. Surely I can change that around; but first, I need to accept the truths before me. And one of the truths is that it’s okay to be sad.
The anxious butterfly feeling before any race is often sickening. But ask any runner and they know that it’s a good feeling. The nervousness eats you up days before and kills you as the minutes tick before the start siren blares. These gut wrenching moments are what runners live for.
I was living for the moment I can race again. A race where I’d know if it was the return of something beautiful or the beginning of the end. I wanted to vomit but more importantly, I want to be set free and run my heart out.
Queued up in Corral B, I couldn’t help but choke back tears. 5 years ago, I was over a block back in the open corral with the rest of the masses (about the distance of the 2nd green traffic light).
Today, I was mere yards from the starting line. The only the elites and Corral A separated me from the start.
The minutes ticked away from the start of the 2012 Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8K as I desperately stretched my calves in my coveted B corral. The uneasiness of my stomach matched how much confidence I had in myself this perfect morning. I didn’t know what to expect; only hoping for the best as I waited for the race to start.
And waited until I was finally off, crossing the starting line on my first race in almost a year.
Down Columbus Drive I strolled with the rest of Corral B. Left foot then right foot repeating in front of me as I made my strides along this enormously populated 8K. Left onto Grand Ave and there was the first mile marker. I cross the starting line about 1:14 seconds from the start of the race. If my math skills are correct, the first mile clocked in at 8 minutes.
8 FREAKING MINUTES!
When I first started running again just over a month ago, I clocked in at 9:30. Today, at this very moment, I threw down my first 8 minute mile in over a year. As exciting as it was, I knew I was going too fast. I had to slow down and left people pass me. I can’t afford to be injured and losing everything again. So I slowed down only to clock an 8:15 for mile 2 and then again for mile 3.
Not the kind of slowing down I was expecting, but when you’re racing, the adrenaline and competitiveness kicked in. As I round to Michigan Ave, I saw the Mile 4 marker and then I almost stopped in my tracks. My math was blurred but for some reason the previous mile clocked in a sub 8. Hitting 8 was one thing but breaking sub 8 in the same hour? Improbable!
This was the point where I noted to myself that I have never ran more than 5 consecutive miles in over a year and my body felt like blech. I wanted to stop and walk but I sucked it up and pushed myself to finish strong. And strong I did as I crossed just over 42 minutes.
Official 8K time: 40:20.
Not only was this my best Shamrock Shuffle time ever, but my second best 8K time. And to think I only gave 80% this day.
40 minutes and 20 seconds for an 8K. Wow, I was fast this day. But the best part was not that I was fast but I was back. And with that, I raise my glass to a return to a wonderful running (recovery) season.