I Didn’t Listen to My Body and I Don’t Even Care

Hi. My feet hurt. My feet have hurt for the last several weeks and I have kept running on them feeling them get worse and worse and knowing I was running myself into an injury. Yet for some reason, I didn’t care. And honestly, I still don’t care. I haven’t run since Wednesday, which is only five days ago. For the last week and a half of running, I have been seriously considering quitting altogether. While running 12 miles around the lake two weekends ago, I was thinking about how I didn’t even really like running long anymore and how I would be much happier just running however much I feel like whenever I feel like it.

I don’t want to train for things anymore.  Or at the very least, I want a break from training for things.  I don’t want the pressure of a deadline and I don’t want to feel like I have to run through discomfort if I don’t want to.  That doesn’t mean I’m not going to do races for fun if I feel like it.  I have a ten-mile race toward the end of August that I am doing because Matt does it every year and he wanted me to do it with him.  It will be fun.  It also doesn’t mean I’m going to stop running longish.  I like being in shape to drop in on things like running the 8 miles around Mackinac Island if I make a trip up there and feel like running around the island.

But I’m not going to force myself to run when I don’t want to.  I’m sick of that and it makes me sick of running.  I walked to work this morning (two miles) and I was just as happy as if I had run before work.  I’m not going to run through pain just because I think I am “supposed” to be running, which is what I had been doing the last few weeks.  Nooo thank you.

Last week, I made plans to go to a social run tomorrow night, and I really want to go to that, but it happens every week and I’m not going to grit my teeth and run with painful feet just because I’m impatient and want to go to the social run this week instead of next.  I’ll see what tomorrow brings, but I’m pretty sure it isn’t going to bring pain-free feet.

Oh, and I finally deleted my running club Google doc.

Race Recap: Crystal Lake Firecracker 5k (27:04)

This year, I went up north with Matt to his family’s cabin to celebrate the 4th of July.  Every year, at least some of his family does the Crystal Lake Firecracker 5k.  This year, it was Matt, his dad, and me!

I had not raced a 5k since October and since then it has been an uphill battle to get back in shape after the injuries that plagued me all winter.  My PR is 24:49 from September 2012 and that October 2013 5k was 25:40, if the results that I just looked up are correct.  Going into this past Friday, I knew that I was not in PR shape, it was not a PR course, and I just wanted to have fun while doing the best I could given the day.

I didn’t know the course, but I knew that there were hills in the beginning and a narrowish trail in the second half.  I didn’t have a “goal” going into the race per se, but I had kind of an idea of what I thought I could do.  I knew I wanted to get under 30 minutes and I thought something in the ballpark of 27:50 would be achievable.

I started the race with Matt and his dad.  Matt took off ahead right away, and I kind of went off by myself, as well.  However, after a couple minutes, I regrouped with Matt’s dad and stayed with him the whole rest of the race.  It was nice having someone to talk to, as well as having someone to pace myself with.  I’m not the strongest when it comes to the mental battle of pushing hard, so having someone to keep me going at a good pace was pretty much amazing.

Like I said, I really didn’t know the course.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that all the uphills were over by the end of the first mile.  I was also very happy to see 8:46 on my watch at the first mile marker.  After that, it was all flat or downhill.  I love to fly down the downhills, but the main one was on a narrow trail, and unfortunately I got blocked in behind a couple girls running side-by-side.  I wasn’t able to get around them until they stopped to go around some mud.  If I had it my way, I would have flown down and gone right through the mud.  When I think back, that is one of the things I regret about the race, but there is no point in worrying about the “what ifs,” so I’m doing my best to let it go.  I can’t control when I get blocked in!

Matt’s dad had gotten a couple people ahead of me on the trails, but once I was able to get around those girls, I ran back up to him and we stayed together the rest of the race.  I had no idea how close the finish line was once we got out of the trail, but it ended up being closer than I thought, so I didn’t really get to kick.  That’s the second thing I regret about this race.  I didn’t pick it up until I saw the clock, but by that point I only had about 50 meters left to go.  I did almost out-kick a girl who had passed me earlier, though, which made me happy.  She finished about half a step in front of me. 🙂

My finish time was 27:04.  Despite the couple things I wish I had done better (trail and kick), I finished a solid 45+ seconds ahead of my expected time.  I am very happy with that result.  I think I could have run faster (five minutes later I was ready to do it again…), but again, I need to move on from that and dwell on the good things!  I had a fun time and I still ran faster than I thought I could have.

Oh, and I’ve caught 5k Fever again.

What Makes a Runner?

Inspired by Beth’s post about when she realized she was a runner (part of her May Running Blog Challenge), I wanted to write some thoughts about what makes someone a runner.  I’m a firm believer in the notion that if you run, you are a runner.  If you you used to run a lot and then you took a year off and you kind of want to get back into running but you haven’t yet and still call yourself a runner, you are a runner.  Basically, if you feel like a runner, you are a runner, in my opinion.

I have had to come around to this way of thinking.  When I first started running toward the beginning of college, I never even thought about such a thing as being a “runner”.  I knew little to nothing about running, racing, and the culture that surrounds those things.  I saw running as a way to stay in shape and to enjoy the weather when it was nice out.  I remember the summer after my freshman year, I wanted to lose a few pounds, so I would wake up at 6am, lace up, and run around campus for a little while a few times a week.  Probably never more than 1.5-2 miles and I didn’t know nor did I care how far or fast I was running.

Fast forward to the summer after my sophomore year when I started getting more into it.  I won an age group award in a local 5k and my competitive drive took over.  Not long after, I met a group of faster, more experienced runners, and I came to look up to them and be inspired by them.  Suddenly my 25-minute 5k felt inadequate and I just wanted to get faster.  I joined my school’s running club because I thought it would help me understand things like how to do workouts to get faster.  Before I knew it, I was sucked into this really competitive world and somehow I learned all these ideas about what a “runner” is.

I thought anything less than 3 miles was not really even a run.  I thought that if I ran slower than 10-minute pace, then I wasn’t a runner.  I also thought that all these fast, lean runners would think less of me because I didn’t have visible abs…

I believe that those ideas contributed hugely to my long string of injuries since February 2013.  “I have to run this many miles even if my legs are telling me no. I have to run faster.  This doesn’t feel easy, but if I slow down I’ll be running 9:30s and that’s unacceptable.”  Sounds dangerous, yeah?

I literally was HAPPY to get a stress fracture in February of last year because I felt like a real runner.  Because people I knew who were fast in my eyes got stress fractures.  A stress fracture meant I was running a lot.  Ummmm.

I quit the running club after the end of this school year.  I had wanted to leave earlier, but I held a board position, so I felt obligated to stay.  It was not healthy for me physically or mentally.  Maybe that is due to my own insecurities, but the environment of the club was such that it exacerbated them.

This morning, I went out for a run.  I left later than planned and I had to be back by 8am to have time to shower and finish getting ready, so I only ran 2.5 miles.  While running, I thought about how I would add on a little if I was close to 3.  Then I thought about why.  2.5 miles is still a run, I am still sore from Sunday, and I had to get ready for work.  And you know what?  I am very happy about my 2.5 miles.  I am a runner.

#alltheawards – Thanks Laura!

The very sweet Laura from The Gluten-Free Treadmill has tagged me in her #alltheawards post. 🙂

The rules!

Accept the #alltheawards award, tell us seven things about you, and nominate seven more blogs.

Since I only started this blog this month, it shouldn’t be too hard to come up with seven things you don’t know about me yet, right…?  If I can get my mind off my hip long enough to come up with seven facts that aren’t seven injuries I’ve had in my lifetime.

Happy thoughts, here goes!

  1. My go-to fun-facts fact: I’ve had four concussions from figure skating growing up.
  2. I spent a month in Israel when I was 15.
  3. I knocked out a tooth in 2006 also figure skating, but it hung on so they were able to put it back in and it is still in my mouth.
  4. I have at least 12 pounds of coffee in my cupboards right now, and I didn’t buy any of it.
  5. I once won an iPad in a Twitter contest.  The host account told me I won a “Bag of Crap,” asked my t-shirt size, then sent me an iPad.  No t-shirt though.
  6. I have owned 13 different domain names.  In high school and early college I used to just want to make a website for everything.
  7. I have studied Spanish (if elementary school counts), French, Hebrew, Japanese, and Italian, but I speak none of them.  Sad. 😦

Only two of those facts were about injuries, so that’s pretty good, right?

Now I must nominate seven more blogs!  I choose…

Becca – 100 Before 21

Beth – Cookie Runner

Jessica – Clif Bars and Peanut Butter

Jessica – The Running Fox

Kerry – BitchFace.me

Georgie – Hey Georgie

Wildcard!  Anyone who reads this is awesome and deserves to do the #alltheawards tag if they so choose. 😉