Let's do an update on a few things that have happened during the last few weeks.
As you know, I have been experiencing some issues with my right foot. Out of kind of nowhere, I started having pain after running, and then pain starting when I ran. It happened kind of quickly. According to the weight bearing xrays, for some reason the arch on my right foot is super or hyper pronating, causing the bones in my foot to roll inward, which then causes the bones on the top of my foot to smash together when I run, causing a new and special kind of pain. My podiatrist said that had we not caught it sooner we would be looking at having arthritis set in. Rather than get the custom $300 orthotics, I decided to give some different inserts a chance.
While these inserts have been working to some degree, I battled new blisters and finally went back to my older running shoes (not worn out, just not my favorite) and sort of found some balance.
I ran my first 10k (6.2 mile) race on Thanksgiving. It was an amazing experience. I ran for 71 minutes straight. I've never run more than 58 minutes, or 5 miles. It was incredibly challenging, both physically and mentally. The race was mostly trail, with some pavement. I've never run on trails before, and always used the reasoning that it was due to my clumsiness.
I did survive ~ I just had to watch the ground more closely than usual. At less than a mile I had rolled my good ankle (which happens to be attached to my bad foot) but it didn't hurt that bad so I kept going.
Something I've learned about myself is that I don't like to stop and walk. Some people use the Galloway method of running, where they run some and walk some, always, even for marathon distances. While Mr. Galloway has some very good reasoning behind his training, it is just not for me. I don't discount others who do it, or their choice to take walk breaks. I just won't. I find it much harder to run again, which is why my speed workouts once a week annoy me, though I know they are important.
That said, this race was not about finishing in a certain amount of time, or setting any records. It was about running 6.2 miles without stopping.
Even up to the starting gun I was not 100% sure I would do it. Could I do it, physically? Sure. I had run at least 5 miles more than once and felt like I could continue.
But I'm convinced that running is 90% mental. No matter your amount or intensity of training, if your head isn't right, you will not do what you set out to do and you'll find yourself stopping short, and then being angry and disappointed.
I've experienced this in many training runs myself.
Throughout the course, there were several people doing the run/walk method, several of which finished before me (lol) but there was something else I noticed. Some of the people I passed around mile 4 and 5 who were walking looked utterly defeated. They looked angry at themselves, and I sensed that they did not achieve what they had set out to achieve that day. I could not help but feel empathy for them; and I wanted so badly to get them all revved back up to finish the race. But I was having enough of a time keeping myself moving. It's weird, but in every race, I am always the only one pacing at my pace. I'm either that slow, or good at pacing while others burn out. I pass alot of folks in the last 1/4 of races.
I tried to pace myself around an 11 minute mile (30 seconds slower per mile than my 5k pace), but it varied widely from 10 - 12 depending on the terrain. I had to be careful as trail running has many little "obstacles" from mud to tree roots to pine cones, and at times the sun streaming in through the trees meant I could not see my feet at times.
I ran the entire race. 6.2 miles. 71 minutes straight.
The last half mile was the toughest for me. Both knees hurt, and my foot was hurting. I honestly know if I had stopped at that point I would have fallen over. But I pushed through it.
Talk about pain.
But glorious pain it was.
Crossing that finish line felt amazing. I still wonder if it really happened. 6.2 miles? Just a little over a year ago 3.1 miles seemed an impossible feat.
My foot needed to be out of my shoe pretty much immediately. Some ice and aleve later it felt fine. Friday my ankle was killing me...good thing I have a checkup appt with my podiatrist on Tuesday. I may try to run that morning.
In other news, I'm planning a post in my head for later on this week about the slippery slope I've found myself sliding down. Stay tuned if you want to learn from my mishaps. It will deal with a very real issue that I've been pulling back the layers on over the past few months.
For tonight, celebrate with me. I have much to be thankful for this year, and reaching my 10k goal despite the issues with my foot prove that if you are determined enough, you can accomplish things you never imagined you would. I still don't believe we can "all be anything and everything we dream" or we would all have record deals and sport contracts. But I do believe that if you find something you are good at, and practice it alot, you can amaze yourself. I could easily have talked myself out of running that far on Thanksgiving day. I could have come up with several really good excuses for it, and many of you would have agreed with my logic.
But I didn't. Despite my own doubt, I did it. And no one, and no thing (including foot pain) can erase that fact from my ongoing legacy. It is now part of my history. And a part I am particularly proud of.
Feels good. Now, what's next goal-wise? I'll be pondering that.