Thank you so so much to Runner’s World for inviting me to cover this weekend as an influencer. The weekend influenced ME more than you will ever know.
“I know I feel like more like myself when I run, or at least I feel like the self I like best.”
(from Bart Yasso’s new book, Race Everything.)
This has been an incredibly hard year, but for a good portion of this weekend, I felt pretty close to my old self.
Is it the endorphins?
Is it the confidence from staring down a challenge?
Whatever it is, I’ll take it.
Last we spoke, I had just finished my first trail race.
But I had many more miles to go. I’d originally signed up for the Grand Slam — the 3.8-mile trail race, a 5K, 10K and half-marathon. I’m running the NYC Marathon in 13 days (eeeep!!!!), and I wanted to use the half as part of a long run, so I put aside my ego and decided not to do the 10K so as not to run 9 miles the day before a long run.
I honestly don’t have a ton to say about this race. Relative to the tough, hilly trail run and the longer, ALSO REALLY TOUGH half, this was just a little warm-up run, really.
The 5K/10K/half all started at the Steel Stacks area, and the 5K went out through the back streets … and over the Fahy Bridge (which we all developed a super love/hate relationship with throughout the weekend), straight into a sweet little hill.
We both wanted to save our legs for the half, so Zoe and I decided to take this easy. Still, I was surprised to see our first mile was 10:2x. We both thought we were going easy but not that easy (for us.) We ran about the first 2.5 miles together, and I finally felt a surge of strength, so I forged on ahead for the last half mile.
Runner’s World Half-Marathon
As I said, I’d wanted to use this half-marathon as a long run. I’d wanted to do at least 17 to top what I’d done the week before.
After a rough night’s sleep, I hit snooze a few too many times and was left with only about an extra half hour before the race. I’d originally planned on/hoped for 5, but as I set out and my legs were tight AF, I was OK with the snooze.
With tight legs, a lower fitness level and knowing I had a tough course ahead of me (2013 recap), I was a bit nervous. But Zoe and I vowed to stay together, and I’m so so glad we did.
Here’s the elevation profile — it included a total of nearly 1000 feet of climbing.
We took off, and I was feeling pretty good the first 2-3 miles (as you can see, before we started hitting those hills.) Zoe’s calf was really bothering her at first, and she wanted to walk the hills. As I had zero chance of PRing and just wanted to get miles in and not run alone, I was happy to walk with her. By the second hill, my calf was bothering me too.
Despite complaining about the hills, I do love this race for its hometown feel. I even ran into a woman I know from NYC who was from the area, and she gave us a bit of a tour as we ran, and the locals come outside of their houses to cheer.
Zoe and I really just used this race as an opportunity to get in some miles to give us each confidence for our upcoming races. (She in Hawaii, me at the NYC Marathon.) The fun thing about running someone for hours is getting to chat with them. Zoe and I hadn’t known each other super well, and we had all sorts of Real Talk while running, which helped those latter miles go much faster.
And I felt a huge amount of personal growth this weekend/on this run.
A job loss, a breakup, losing my mom.
A lot of stuff has happened this year.
A lot of it out of my control.
But I’m still standing. And not only am I standing, I’m still running.
In other years, dominating a race to me has meant hitting a certain time. This year? Dominating a race = showing up and finishing, and for that, I’m proud.
People have been telling me for months how strong I am, and while, yeah, I haven’t really had a choice, I have become stronger this year, and I finally started believing that myself yesterday.
Strong and proud.
(Oh yeah, and I ran/shuffled two more miles after the race. I didn’t get up to the 18 I wanted, but I did the best I could yesterday, and that’s all I can do.)
BRB, time to go sit in the recovery sleeves.
How have you found your own strength through running? How do you recover from a tough weekend of training?