Wow, have I been excited about this upcoming race! I trained hard this summer with a Fleet Feet running group that took my running to an entirely new level. I looked forward to TNT (Tuesday Night Track) and even made it to a few of the Joggers & Lagers on Thursdays!
One weekend on a 19-mile long run, my knee started giving me issues at 17 1/2 miles. Really? I’d already done 17 1/2 miles and now I’m having issues?! I hadn’t done anything weird, just running on a gradual incline with other runners toward the next traffic light. Hmmm. A slight discomfort on my outer right knee and before long, it had gotten to the point that I couldn’t even walk on it. I limped/walked/jogged back to the store and spent the rest of the afternoon icing it and taking it very easy. That Monday, I headed to a recommended sports Dr. who confirmed it was my IT band. Thinking I had caught it early enough, I was good to go and didn’t have any issues, even after a subsequent 21+ mile run! Whew! I still had a few weeks until race day so . . . .
Some of the M2 group after our course preview day of 21+ miles. It was foggy that morning and we were drenched!
Here we go! At the Expo the day before the race. Super excited!
Prairie Fire Race morning brought fabulous temperatures with clouds and little wind. I couldn’t wait! I lined up with my some of my regular running buddies, targeting a 4:12 goal (my PR was 4:42 but I know I had trained much better this time around!). We were doing great and I was keeping pace until about mile 12 and the knee twinges came back. By mile 13 I was back in the same boat I had been several weeks earlier. ARE YOU KIDDING ME????? I seriously could have just curled up into a fetal position at the side of the road and CRIED, I was that upset! But, a quitter I am not, so I plodded on, alternately walking/jogging/running. I still had over 13 miles to go!
Running is most definitely a mental sport. When the rest of my group had continued on without me and then another one of my friends had passed me by, my mind was spiraling out of control. I had to be my own cheerleader to continue on so I put in my earbuds, focused on each step, and vehemently told myself that I had no choice but to finish this race. And by doing so, hopefully I didn’t do any permanent damage to my body (cross fingers). With my Garmin as my guide to keeping my time in check (I did NOT want to be any slower than 4:42, God willing!), I crossed the finish line with a time of 4:40:17. A PR! I headed for my parents, whom I had spotted on the bridge awaiting my arrival. I was also lucky to find my Dr. who had a tent set up so he could work wonders on my dumb IT band.
My official stats from the website:
Place Bib# Name City/state S Ag Pace Div/Tot Time
301 624 Deb 44 10:42 15/36 4:40:17
Even though by this point my knee was in agony, I made sure I semi smiled for a somewhat decent race picture. I must have known that the next ones wouldn’t good!
My running pal, Brittany, and I. We trained well together. She had an awesome race, finishing at 4:12 and tying for first place in her age group!
My not-so-pretty finish picture. The exhaustion and agony was REAL, people!
My 2 medals and my Finisher tech shirt
I took a week and a half off from running, which was brutal. When you’re so used to this as your stress release and you’re unable to do it, you can go crazy. The leaves were starting to change and the temperatures were perfect, which was a tease. Then again, I had to put a brace on my knee to help control the pain and I couldn’t even walk properly, never mind run!
What now? Well, I’m a 2nd time marathoner, which is a pretty cool thing. I have since signed up for the winter training session to help with accountability to enjoy more time with the people I’ve met who enjoy running as much as I do. I have signed up for a 1/4 Half Marathon race next weekend (6.55 miles – a 1st for me – and didn’t want to overdo it) and the Turkey Trot 10-miler in November. The goal for the winter training session is a 1/2 marathon on New Year’s Day, one I’ve run in the past, although at this point I’m not yet sure if I’ll actually be running that race or not.
And what about another marathon? Well, I’ll be honest and admit that I’m not sure if my body is meant to run those lengths of distances. That being said, though, if I can run 1/2 that distance with such an awesome time, and with the proper training, of course, then why not?