One year ago I was hoping to check out the new Garden of the Gods 10 mile course.
One year ago I thought at the very least I would be able to finish the new 10k course.
One year ago I couldn’t even volunteer for this race less than 5k from my house. Because I wasn’t sure if, instead of being happy to help all the excited racers at a fantastic local race, I would just feel more depressed and jealous that they were all doing something I couldn’t do.
Please excuse the maudlin reminiscing, but ever since the 4 weeks last year when walking and standing for longer than 15mins was pretty painful and I wasn’t allowed to even try to run a mile, I try to appreciate every run that my back allows me to do. Every race that I can experience the thrill of pushing myself to that point of OHMIGAWD-WHEN-WILL-THIS-BE-OVER or the amazing beauty in the new places that I choose to race-cation. That I can build mileage back to my pre-back-problem days and spend so many hours running up and down mountains without excruciating nerve pain. No one knows for sure what caused the pain of a bulging disc 10 days after my longest race in May 2017, when the rest of me was feeling recovered and ready to get outside to play again. My PT couldn’t tell me whether it was due to too many mountain bike crashes landing on my hip, or too many miles on my feet or biomechanics issues from spending my youth in gymnastics training (most likely it’s a little of all of the above?!).
All I know is that I didn’t mind how horribly slow the rebuilding of my running fitness felt last summer. Especially because once I was given permission to run, I still had varying levels of back and then nerve pain shooting down the side of my body for another 2 months. So any mile that I could run without the pain was truly a blissful mile. Admittedly I did a few races last summer that my back might not have been fully prepared for … but once the pains started dissipating, it was hard to think of dropping from the 50-55k race adventures in Fernie, BC and Crested Butte that I’d had on my calendar all year. I was disappointed that I finished my ultra in gorgeous CB unable to really ‘race’ down the hills as I love to do, but the perfect scenery helped distract me from the aches. And thankfully after doing a smarter re-build of my mileage through the fall while I was distracted with cyclocross racing, I finally found myself able to consistently run long distances again without pain- hurrah!!
So I’m optimistic 2018 will be different! I survived my big birthday race in May without a repeat of the angered disc. I’m trying to be positive that I’ll make it through the year of race-cations and adventures with only the pain of tired and sore muscles. And so when I was asked to join the Marmots on the Triple Crown Runners Team this summer, I knew it was meant to be! I’m excited to be following in the footsteps of prior Marmot talent such as my running friends Katie Benzel and Carrie Renaud from the 2017 team, and can’t wait to experience the Triple Crown Races of 2018 with the newest Marmot team!