I’m Finally Back!

Army Ten MilerSMALLIt’s been about nine months since I’ve written and now I’m considering changing the name of this blog. I am no longer becoming a Tough Mudder. My opinion of this mud race has considerably soured since I last wrote.

Back in September, I was set to run the race with a team of six other people. We were pretty excited to bring new people in to experience the event. To make a really long story short, three of us never got to run it, myself included. The traffic going into the event was horrible. Although we should have arrived to the site we plenty of time to spare, we didn’t even make it to the parking lot until the last waves were scheduled to run. We couldn’t get into the parking lot which had turned into a giant mud pit after storms moved through the area. We saw large groups of people who had already finished the race trying to get their cars out. It was a deflating moment. We had pumped ourselves up and it was heartbreaking to watch others who had finished walk by with their headbands. By the time we finally got turned around, we had spent about six hours in the car going less than two miles. Thousands other had the same experience we did. We got a refund but we were definitely disappointed.

TM and local authorizes played the blame game for who was responsible for the traffic problems. Was it TM’s fault for overselling and selecting a location that was only accessible by small country roads that aren’t used to such heavy traffic? Or was it the city’s fault for allowing the event to happen at the site in the first place and for not properly planning for the traffic? It seemed like a combination of the two and I chalked it up to a fluke.

Then, in early December, my boyfriend and I flew down to Tampa so he could run the TM with his sister. And we had the same problem. Unbearable traffic. Lines of cars as far as we could see. Since there was no end in sight and we had my boyfriend’s niece and two nephews with us, we pulled out of the traffic line on the highway while we still could and went to a beach. The kids had more fun with that anyway.

We’re officially done with TM now. Perhaps we’d consider something like Spartan Race but I might be done with long obstacle courses. Now I’m trying to focus on just running.

My boyfriend and I ran the Army Ten Miler in October and the Rock-n-Roll Half Marathon in D.C. in March. The Ten Miler was great. The half…eh, not so much. We moved in December and I got off track because of packing and unpacking. Plus, there’s no free gym in our new building like there was at our old one so I’ve had to adjust to running outside. Which I generally like better. Except in January and February. By the time the half rolled around, I had done very minimal (read: basically no) training. I still managed to run through mile six at a slow but steady pace. By the time I got to mile seven, I was hurting. I did a lot of walking toward the end but I made it over the finish line, even though my knee was killing me. I paid for it over the next few days. Going down stairs or hills was awful.  

Now spring is here and running outside is AMAZING. We live close to the National Mall now so we often run down there to avoid traffic. I’ll never get tired of D.C. It’s still the best city in the world in my book.

I’ve struggled to get back on track and deal with carrying the extra weight I gained over the last few months. The first time I ran again was rough. I could barely get through a mile without huffing and puffing. Surprisingly though, I’ve found that my body is still pretty well adapted to running. I finally felt like I was getting back to my old self this weekend when I ran the Ocean City Race for the Cure. The course was really flat and had an amazing view. Halfway through the race, my boyfriend told me my pace was getting better. I tried not to look too often at my Garmin to see how far we had gone and what pace we were keeping. We picked up the pace for the last three tenths of a mile and those strides felt wonderful. Not to sound cheesy, but there really is something Zen-like in hitting a good stride. Anyway, I was disappointed to finish at just over 30 minutes (30:09, about 3.5 minutes under my personal best) but proud that I could still run a 5K without feeling like I was going to keel over. I also was delighted to see that I ran the last mile in 9:10, not too far above the pace I was running before I got off track. I could have kicked myself for having to stop THREE TIMES to retie my show. I’m convinced I would have been under 30 minutes if I wasn’t such a spaz who doesn’t know how to master a skill they teach you in kindergarten.

I’ve got the Race for Hope coming up in May and a 10K in July. I’m signing up for an 8K in Williamsburg at the beginning of June and my boyfriend and I are talking about doing the Tower of Terror Ten Miler in Disney in October. And maybe the Army Ten Miler again that same month. But only if I’m feeling crazy.

I’m not really sure where this blog is going but I will continue to write about running, but also anything else I feel compelled to write about. But trust me, I will try to avoid politics.

I’ll finish by saying that the Boston Marathon and the events in that city in the days after were horrible on so many levels. That race is the pinnacle of American marathons and so many people enjoy being a part of it, runners and spectators. Obviously, the attacks have only shown that Boston is full of some of the toughest people in the world. And runners won’t easily be deterred either. These people were running 26.2 miles by CHOICE. Do you really think they’re going to be scared off by a couple of punks? Boston is now tougher than ever and runners have only tightened their bond.

Boston Strong.

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