Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Little Victories

In the last few years I've had lofty fitness goals. I completed my first triathlon a few years ago. I've run 19 half marathons and three marathons in the last five years. I've challenged myself and gotten faster. This last year has changed my perspective and the number of miles I'm logging. My focus right now is getting healthy (which is a work in progress) and being consistent with running and cross training. Even a 5k that isn't close to my PR can feel like a victory.

Last fall I decided I wanted to run a half marathon every month. That was my lofty 2017 goal. Then I had an abscess drained and have been fighting infection for the last five months. I wanted to run a half marathon in April, but there's no way I can train for a half right now. I went to my doctor a few weeks ago, and I still have the infection that caused the abscess. They can't figure it out. Yesterday I had a MRI to see if they can determine the cause. Until that's figured out I've got to limit myself to shorter distances. I want to run for the rest of my life, and to do that I have to be patient. If I push too hard now and wreck my body, I won't be able to run. That means appreciating 5ks for right now.

Last weekend I ran the Run for the House, a local 5k benefiting the Ronald McDonald House. A good friend of mine (I affectionately refer to her as my little sister) was part of the race organizing team, so I wanted to run it to support her hard work. I originally registered for the 10k and realized that wasn't a good idea. I haven't been logging a lot of miles, and any time I pick up the speed my body isn't happy. 

The race takes place in Okemos, a Lansing suburb. Race morning was foggy with a chilly rain/snow mix. I'll admit that when I looked outside I really wasn't excited about going for a run in that weather, but by the time the race started late morning the weather had mostly cleared.

I felt sluggish at the start but pretty quickly found some motivation. When you run a lot of local races you start to see familiar faces. A few years ago when I was more competitive in the 5k there was a woman I'd see at different races. She and I would go back and forth winning our age group. At a 5k a few years ago on a sweltering May morning she sprinted up from behind me and beat me at the line. She made some kind of snarky comment about beating me, and after that she become my running rival without even knowing it. About a mile into the Run for the House I saw her ahead of me and kept her relatively close - about 10-15 yards ahead.

With about a half mile to go I had nearly resigned myself to the fact that she would beat me. I just wasn't feeling it. But with a quarter mile left I saw the finish and kicked it into high gear. I sprinted past her and smiled all the way to the finish to win our age group. I ran 25:20, more than two minutes slower than my PR, but sprinting past her to that finish was my little victory. 

I could barely breathe, but I always have a smile for the camera.
My euphoria was short lived when I spent the rest of the day in pain because of this f&*king infection. It reinforced the fact that I need to be more judicious about running until this is under control. Hopefully the MRI reveals an answer to the problem so we can clear it up and I can start logging some serious miles again. Until then I'll take my little victories where I can find them. 

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