12 years ago I ran my first 5K. I wrote about it here and OH MY GOD, reading that post brought back memories of how nervous I was. I trained for it ENTIRELY on a treadmill because I was scared of running out in the real world.
Since then I’ve run over 20 half marathons, 25 marathons OR MORE, 1 being a 110K which is probably the best shape I’ve ever been in doing 68 miles in under 15 hours. I’ve done several sprint triathlons and one olympic distance triathlon. I achieved a sub-25 5K and a sub-2hour half marathon. I’ve run over 1000 miles on the trails since 2011 when I started trail running and considering I don’t run trails but on the weekends in the winter, that’s pretty good.
So, you would think that an 8-mile race would be NO BIG DEAL and yet here it is…the day before that race and I am TERRIFIED. Almost as nervous as that first 5K! Not quite as nervous because I know I’m ready and I’ll be fine but I’m so much damn slower than I was when I peaked at my 110K 2 years ago that it’s hard not to worry about the cutoffs.
I mentioned this race to a new walking/running friend in Knoxville over 8 weeks ago now and told her I was going to wait and sign up after one week of trying to transition from walking to running…I wanted to make sure I could do it. She just shook her head and said, “Just sign up! You’ll be fine!” And you know what I did that night? I SIGNED UP. And you know what? I’ve been fine! It turns out 2 solid months of walking rigorously was great training to start interval running. And now I’m running most of all of my long runs with just periodic walking breaks.
In the 7 weeks I’ve officially been training I’ve run/walked 182 miles. Mostly run, because once I started officially “training” my intervals started a 3 minutes walking/2 running but within 2 weeks or so I had mostly turned off the intervals and was just walking when I needed. I wear a Garmin GPS/Health watch and it adjusts my step goals based on my activity level and right now it thinks I should be walking 14K steps a day. That tells you how active I’ve been. I haven’t stressed about a particular training plan, my goals was to just do AT LEAST 3×3 mile run/walks during the week and do a weekend long run starting at 4 miles and working my way up to 10 miles. But everything else was just bonus, I’d walk/jog when I felt like I needed it or when I had friends heading out. I tried to do trails on the weekends but I also hiked them with friends during the week.
I’m still worried a bit about my pace. My road pace is about 12-minute miles but my trail pace is still 15-minute miles on moderate trails and the pace for cutoff is 18-minute miles. I’m hoping I bank enough time on the easy trails that I don’t panic about being slow on the hard trails.
The only sucky thing is tomorrow is also Wesley’s first city swim meet and so Wes, Nyoka, and Donnie will all be there and I’ll be worried I’m missing his first event. Hopefully I won’t, but it’s hard to tell because I don’t know how slow I’ll be. My kids don’t expect me to be at every sporting event so Wes isn’t upset, but I feel bad that my thing is the same day as HIS thing because then we can’t be there for each other.
Either way. I’m back. I stopped running for the better part of a year to the detriment of my physical and mental health. But also the mental health suffering carried a lot of the blame for not being able to get out there. I’m back to good in many ways now and even better in ways I never expected. I had a rough day of stress yesterday and I handled it without turning to food OR alcohol. That’s the kind of progress I care the most about.
A special thanks to the friends who got me out of the house and on my feet the last 4 months. I can’t thank you enough and I’ll be carrying all of you in my heart all 8 miles tomorrow. You saved me in ways I’m not sure I even I fully understand.