My Non-Racing Year (Part 1)

For those of you who follow me…or just know me and want to read my journey…I haven’t run a race in 2017. Not one. This is the first time in 10 years that I’ve not run one race. Now that it is October, I feel like I can finally write about my journey of NOT racing. For all of my runner friends, read and lament or better yet, read and learn.

If you’ve been paying attention, I stopped writing in Feb. In fact, I stopped publishing before then. I intentionally stopped writing because I was working on a story…one that I hoped would discuss a culmination of my running career. It would put me in an elite category. It would make me stand out from other runners. So I stopped to focus on my training and really work toward my goal–running an ultra marathon…off of pavement. This race (Land Run 100) is a local gravel bike race with a growing category for runners. The race begins in historic downtown Stillwater and quickly runs you onto the hilly gravel/red dirt roads of Oklahoma for an amazing 50km. I was stoked for this; I trained well. I ran a 20 mile run on gravel in 4 hours and felt great. I was so close to the taper runs and the panic and anxiety of race day. But…4 weeks from race day–the time period where I only lacked 1 more long run (24 mile or so), I went out on a Sunday afternoon. The weather was gorgeous–too beautiful for February. I laced up for an easy 10 mile recovery run (my “short” distance at this point). I sprinted those hills so easily. By the time I reached mile 5, my knee was tight. By mile 7, I was limping. By mile 8 I called my husband. Something was very wrong.

That was the last and longest run I would run for 2017.

I’ll skip over the chiropractic, massage therapy, and orthopedic recovery I went through. It is easily summed up in this–my left hip was weak, and I ignored the signs. My IT band was tight, and I didn’t stretch it enough. My patellar tendon was inflamed and rubbing inside, and I was too late to fix it before the race without causing further damage. The official verdict: rest and no running for 6 weeks.

So on race day, I supported my husband while he attempted to ride his single speed bike all 100 miles of the course (with minimal training) on a race day that would cause most riders to quit at the 50 mile marker or before and most succumbed to the freezing temps, sleet, thick mud, broken derailleurs, and exhaustion. I can proudly say that after 12 hours on the bike he made it to mile 87 and called it quits because his body was shivering and losing body heat on that very lonely road in the dark.

And I watched every runner cross the finish line. My finish line.

The story about how I trained and how I finished and what I thought during the process was a dream…one that still won’t be written on this blog…for now.

And so I stopped writing. And I stopped running. And I gained weight. And I drank more wine.

Occasionally, I dragged a friend with me for a 3 mile run. The most I jogged was 6 miles over the summer. I kept a good record of 3-6 miles every other week from June until August. Those miles were easy, mindless, mere maintenance and recovery running. Though I rebuilding, I wasn’t starting over. My knee and IT band felt great. I was doing yoga again and loving it. My new goal was to get the kids back in school so that my fall training could begin.

And then school started–my hopes of training were new and fresh! Fall racing…here I come!

Or so I thought.

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