So be sure when you step. You step with care and great tact and remember that Life's a Great Balancing Act.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

One weekend: Two hard races

Race #1:
This was Brenna's race - a very short, very fast, very straight course.  Hayden opted out so this was a unique opportunity for Brenna to claim something, and have a moment to shine on her own.

I was excited for her.
I was ecstatic as she lined up on the start line in her form-fitting pants( showing off her perfect legs) and her race bib plastered to her Hello Kitty shirt.  She was the image of intimidation.
Just like most races, there was that uncomfortable wait from the lineup to the start.  Brenna's face began to appear nervous.

Of course, I am on the sideline, frantically waving and jumping up and down - so she could be less nervous and more mortified.  I shock myself sometimes by behaving like that mom.  You know, the embarrassing kind that I swore I would never become.

When the race started, all the kids started to run.
I don't think Brenna expected quite the stampede.
Lost in the shuffle, she started to freak out.

My baby girl was scared.
She wanted to quit.
I jumped in the race, grabbed her hand, and a mere few seconds later, she flew into the finish.
She was very proud of her well-deserved medal and wore it for three days straight:

Race #2:
This was my race - a half-Ironman distance relay race.  Naturally, I was doing the run portion (a half marathon).

I signed on to do this 5 weeks ago, very honored to be part of such an amazing team.  It only dawned on me a few days later that 13 miles is a really long distance.  After taking many weeks off due to injury, my first long run, 10 miles, was brutal.

I took a week off for my triathlon, and then returned with another 10-miler that slightly boasted my self confidence.  I followed up with a 12 miler and 13 miler - and then declared myself ready because I had no choice.  But being part of a team relieved a lot of pressure and I actually felt like I really was ready.

The race day morning air was saturated with energy and excitement - I loved being part of it all while not putting on my wetsuit.  As I watched athlete after athlete jump into the water, I was filled with delight that I was remaining dry.

Our swimmer, a talented athlete who is returning to the sport after a life-altering medical condition leaving her short a limb, bravely jumped into the water with all the others.  If she was scared, it did not show.

She swam a fantastic swim - I was there to help her out the water but honestly, she did not need help.  I switched the timing chip to our cyclist and he sprinted off with his bike.  Now, I just had a two hour and 20 minute wait.

I laid down, drank water, did some drills.
I was concerned about my feet because I felt a blister forming.
So I re-adjusted my shoe a few dozen times.

I started to run a little after 10am - very aware of the elevating sun and warming air.  I was also aware of my foot that I cautiously wrapped in mole skin, but it felt okay.  The tailwind made that first mile effortless, but everything after that got exponentially worse.

Miles 2-6 were fine.  I was still aware of my foot but I was averaging 7-minute miles with relative ease.  But then Mile 7 started and my foot started to hurt.  Despite my best effort, I must have changed my gait because then everything else started to hurt.  My quads.  My hamstrings.  My other foot.

I struggled to hold 7:30s and then 7:40s.

Even though I managed to put on a smiling face for the camera, my form, or lackthereof, is a complete giveaway of my crumbling condition.
Mile 4                                            Mile 10
 At Mile 11, I was in so much pain that I was doing the unthinkable:  stopping.
I wasn't even walking - I would just stand for a few seconds to allow the pain to subside.

I wanted to quit.
But I had a team relying on me.
The stopping-running method is not efficient nor recommended but it did finally bring me to the finish.

With the heat and lack of training, I wasn't expecting anything phenomenal but I also was not expecting such excruciating pain or a piddly 1:36:07.  Our team finished 20th, and while respectable, I wish I could have ran slightly better.  But, we had a great time and I am thrilled I got to participate.

When I got home, I inspected my foot to find out that my blister was actually a Planter's wart.  I removed it with a pair of tweezers and after much stretching, I am pleased to emerge unscathed despite a little bruising to the ego.  At the end of the day, I am so grateful to be able to run, even with a nasty wart.

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