As nerve racking as races are, I have always considered myself a pretty good racer. I love the thrill of racing. It’s the only time you get to show off all the hard work you have been putting in. It’s about that feeling of standing on the start line, wiggling out your legs and deep breathing to keep the butterflies in your stomach from flying out of your mouth. It’s fantastic. The one thing I have never been that great at is stretching.
“Ugh, I just ran 8 miles. Now I have to actively stretch?” Seriously, I am a horrible stretcher. I’m a runner who gets back after a run and hops in the shower almost immediately. This is a terrible habit and definitely my biggest weakness. Ironically, it shouldn’t be because I am extremely injury prone. I have injured just about everything you can on your leg from hip flexor problems, inflammation in the knee from IT Band issues to Plantar fasciitis, calf issues and the Freiberg’s disease I have in my right foot. Seriously, you would think I was an expert at recovery, but I’m not.
I have been told many times to do yoga. I’m not really one for the whole zen thing, but I’m trying to be more into it because I am such a high strung person. So stretching and deep breathing might be my answer to a lot of things in my life. I found a Groupon for a local place called Oceanside Yoga. I’m still debating whether I want to take the plunge.
My next big focus will be stretching and recovering properly after my runs and races. This last week, I was sore almost every time I ran. I did do some stretching because my hip was very tight after that half. My goal is devote 15 minutes after each run to stretching. I also want to incorporate more ice baths. (I already have my boyfriend on the calf massages, so we’re covered there!)
Another weakness of mine is running on Sundays. I have no idea why, but other things always just seem to take priority. I’m lucky my running clinic meets on Sundays. This will solve that issue.
Last Week in a Nutshell
I recently joined a local running group called Terra’s Trails Running Clinic. My running partner Erika Carter and her husband Johnny Carter influenced me to join. This way I’ll be doing various races on my next few Saturdays. I’m thankful for this because it will keep me in check. I never really planned my running path after the half marathon, so I’m very excited for this new venture.
Our first race was Saturday at Guajome Park in Oceanside. It was the first race of the Dirt Dog XC series. The Wild Duck 5K was quite an experience. Let me put this bluntly, I haven’t dashed or sprinted crap for over 3 years. I felt more nervous for this race than the half marathon. I remember pulling up to the park at 7 am and literally jumping back in time to high school. Although, I found it was just as new as it was nostalgic. My butterflies were swirling around as I observed young runners and masters runners huddle in their groups.
I had literally no plan of attack for this race, since I signed up last minute and it was a 5k. The first workout I did was literally the day before this. There was a young girl and her mom near me on the start line. They looked fit and ready to take this on, so I figured I would use them as my pacers. This worked for the first mile, but that 12-year-old girl had some quick wheels. She took off and my next mission was to just keep catching as many people as I could.
My splits were 6:55, 6:20 and 7:12 for the last 1.2 miles. My overall time was 20:34. It was fun racing a shorter distance. It was definitely over more quickly than that half. A 5k doesn’t really give you enough room to be a baby about the pain in your legs or the burn in your chest, so you have to roll with it. I pushed myself as fast as my body would let me. Participating in this race most certainly convinced me it was time to start putting in some workouts.
One of the other reasons I love running is the atmosphere that surrounds these meets. There is a camaraderie between people you don’t really find anywhere else. We’re all here to have fun, compete and challenge ourselves. You find yourself cheering for people you don’t know and encouraging others to not give up because you know how they feel. We’re all out there, legs burning, arms pumping and breathing heavy. We want to race better. You can feel the hunger brimming off the faces of those around you. I’m even lucky enough to run into fellow Chico State Alumni: Thomas Whitcomb and Dillon Breen (not pictured.)
My Goals for This Week:
- Do two workouts
- Don’t skip Sunday runs
San Diego Beer 5k Run on August 29th (Gotta throw in some fun runs, don’t worry the beer comes afterward.)
51st Annual Balboa 4-miler on September 5th (the day before my birthday!)
What are some weaknesses and strengths you find in yourself?
Does anyone else use yoga in their exercise routines?