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Snap Back to Reality, Oh There Goes Gravity – My First Try at Racing Again

RunEatRalph

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Good morning! I hope you all had an excellent 4th of July, whether you were celebrating Independence Day or not. Last week, I decided that I was ready to give racing a try and signed up for the local Percival’s Island 5 miler. It’s flat, fast and fun.

If you’re just now tuning in, I ruptured my Achilles tendon way back in December and worked long and hard to get to this point. I got back to running at around 16 weeks and made up my mind that I was just going to ENJOY running instead of being so damn goal oriented. I’ve mainly been a social runner and taking it easy, but the more I’ve been running, the more natural it’s starting to feel and the more I feel myself wanting to pick the pace up a little. I really miss racing for the competition and the camaraderie too, so combine that with feeling good and there you have it.

I haven’t been doing much running while holding anything close to race paces, so I felt like I needed to “feel it out” with a fast run a couple of days before the race. Public Runemy #1 Robbie was a willing partner to help me out. We ran 2 hard miles sandwiched between 2 easy miles. They were around a 7:00 mile pace and to be honest they felt harder than I remember them feeling. The tricky part is that it’s HOT (you may have heard). It’s hard to tell if the struggle is how out of shape I am or how miserably swampy the weather is. I think it’s both, really.

I was so nervous the night before the race. I had so much doubt and even some fear. It’s hard to forget the complete shock of a ruptured Achilles. The thought that one wrong move can cause such damage is tough to shake. Sure, the injury was a freak accident in a way, but there was a clear path to set it up to fail.

The morning of the race, I felt better. Friends help. People told me what I needed to hear. Seeing and chatting with other runners got me relaxed. I remembered that there’s no pressure at all for me to do well. I’m doing well just by running again.

Off we went in the sweltering, suffocating heat. I started out a bit too fast (surprise!) but got settled in after a quarter mile. I felt alive! For 2 miles, I held a 7:00 pace. Then came reality. Mile 3 was over 30 seconds slower, but felt no easier. The wheels were falling off. My unreasonable optimism sometimes causes me trouble. How could I think that after struggling through 8 miles last Saturday at an easy pace I’d be able to get through 5 miles at race pace?! Dummy.

Once I realized that I wasn’t going to be able to sustain what I’d started, I lost the drive to push through. I slowed down. I walked. I got passed by several runners that knew how to pace properly. Crap. Mile 4: 8:31

img_4251 Definitely some pain in that face.

With less then a mile to go, I got passed by two more guys that looked about my age. I finally drew a line and decided not to let them beat me. I picked up quite a bit the last half mile and left those two guys behind me with a 7:46 mile 5, finishing strongly back at my 7:00 pace that I started with. I ended up finishing 33rd overall and 4th (I hate that) in my age group.

So there’s a video of the finish, which is pretty cool. My finish is tainted somewhat by the guy PUKING AT THE FINISH LINE, just before I come in. I wish I’d given that much effort. I’d feel better about myself.

I was pretty drained after the race…so I hydrated with some of the red, white and blue ribbon.

img_4250

This race was good for me. I now know my current limits and I know that I don’t like them. I will change them.

Anybody else race yesterday? How’d it go?

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OMG that video though!!!!!    😂

Congrats on the big return to racing!  You'll be better than ever in no time!

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22 minutes ago, Running Nutz said:

OMG that video though!!!!!    😂

Congrats on the big return to racing!  You'll be better than ever in no time!

I know! That puker ruined my big moment haha.

Thanks! I really hope you're right. :)

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His name is RunRalphEat. Nice race, though. It's hard going from running for fun to running with a goal in mind. 

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Congrats on the first race back! Can't imagine the anxiety coming back to running after an injury like that, but hopefully this gives you some confidence back. And some goals.

And that video... I couldn't stop laughing at that poor guy. 

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57 minutes ago, Gonzo Runner said:

Congrats on the first race back! Can't imagine the anxiety coming back to running after an injury like that, but hopefully this gives you some confidence back. And some goals.

And that video... I couldn't stop laughing at that poor guy. 

I've watched it at least 10 times now and forwarded it to friends. I've backed up the video about 15 seconds to watch that guy come around the corner. I love everything about it. The music. The guy standing at the finish line. The timing chip making the computer beep nonstop while he finishes up. But my favorite part is when he loses it 4 feet from the finish line, and then walks it in. 

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15 hours ago, Scott said:

I've watched it at least 10 times now and forwarded it to friends. I've backed up the video about 15 seconds to watch that guy come around the corner. I love everything about it. The music. The guy standing at the finish line. The timing chip making the computer beep nonstop while he finishes up. But my favorite part is when he loses it 4 feet from the finish line, and then walks it in. 

I've watched it at least a few times. The poor guy definitely hydrated before the race. That was a LOT of puke. You're right that the music, the beeping and the finish line guy somehow make the whole thing even better. :)

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16 hours ago, Gonzo Runner said:

Congrats on the first race back! Can't imagine the anxiety coming back to running after an injury like that, but hopefully this gives you some confidence back. And some goals.

And that video... I couldn't stop laughing at that poor guy. 

Poor guy, indeed. At least he can be confident that he tried his best.

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I love your patriotic outfit!  Kudos to you for getting back out there.  Try not to compare to where you used to be, especially in the sweltering summer temps.  Keep loving the process, and the results will come!

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16 hours ago, SIbbetson said:

I love your patriotic outfit!  Kudos to you for getting back out there.  Try not to compare to where you used to be, especially in the sweltering summer temps.  Keep loving the process, and the results will come!

I'm definitely loving the process right now, other than all of the dehydration.

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Way to rock the red, white and blue.

Funny how your brain can still pick out a pace, even though your body isn't ready to go there again.

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