Sunday, November 5, 2017

My Best Worst Race

On Cooper's 11th birthday, I busted him out of school for a pizza birthday lunch.

The birthday boy had a chocolate birthday cake, per his request.

When cake is involved, the brothers are eager to help celebrate!

A few school friends joined Cooper for indoor climbing.

Collin never reached the top, but had fun trying!


Memaw and Papa dropped by to give some birthday wishes.

Halloween 2017 brought out Napoleon Dynamite, Dad (aka Chris), and a Star Wars guy

Trick or treating is best done with friends!

Chris kept a good sense of humor about his Halloween mini me.  

Cooper has his first band concert. I believe you are looking at the next Kenny G!

The before picture for the Monumental Marathon.

Finishing a marathon/half marathon calls for a celebration with friends!

A few of my favorite gals to run through life along side.

For the last eight weeks, I've nursed back to health one wounded hamstring.  As you may remember from a prior post, my physical therapist recommended six full weeks of rest.  And his version was absolutely, no way, don't think about it running.  (I kept telling him I felt like there was wiggle room with that statement!)

Even though I was tempted to sneak in a few (painful) runs, I was compliant.  For six weeks, I transformed into a race walker which was something, but not something enough for one former runner itching to run.

After six weeks, I gradually started to get back to running.  I steadily inched up the miles and picked up the pace to a place that was a slower, shorter version of before.

And that was the place I was for the Monumental Marathon (in which I signed up months before my injury).  Up until the race, I was waffling between what to do: marathon, half marathon, or nothing.  Nothing was not a good option.  Yet, the thought of running a marathon with hardly any training and a recuperating hamstring seemed daunting.

I started the race with my friend Kara who was also battling a sprained ankle.  We agreed to enjoy the first few miles together, and then make a race day decision at mile seven (the split off) as to which race to run (half or full).  The first seven miles were lovely.  Kara is an engaging running partner and the conversation filled the miles.

By mile seven, it became apparent to me that the half marathon was my best option.  An aching hamstring and lack of training made 20 more miles a bad choice.

I decided to just enjoy the rest of the race.  This wasn't a race that would gain me a PR, or even a respectable time.  I pulled in my headphones and flipped on peppy music, but left the volume low so as to not drown out the vibrant sounds of the race.

Without race tunnel vision, I could truly enjoy the sights and sounds that can be found on and along the course.  I slapped hands with the children that lined the course desperate to cheer.  I thanked the police officers who acted as traffic patrol at the busy intersections.  I gazed in gratitude at the intercity middle school band fumbling with saxophones and baritones while performing a variety of spirited tunes.  I cheered on the young runners racing along side parents.  I read the hilarious signs created by spectators along the course.

And when I entered the finishing shoot, I didn't sprint to the finish line.  Instead, I took in the exuberance and energy radiating from the crowds.  This was a party, and I was able to run through the center stage.

What I learned at this Monumental was that sometimes running a race is not about gaining a PR or nailing a competitive pace, but learning and enjoying getting back on your feet.

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