so my racing career started back in 2001 .. i was on my company’s corporate Sun Run team .. hardly any training and it hurt like hell. i mean, HURT like hell. i finished the Sun Run that year, did not feel so good, ate with some friends, went home, showered, and jumped into bed. 13 hours later .. at 2am .. i wake up. i’m lying there thinking “hey, i don’t feel so bad .. excellent”. i get out of bed and holy mary……….i fell back down. everything HURT .. and i mean EVERYTHING. there were muscles in my legs that hurt that i didn’t even know existed… it took me almost a full week to recover.

now if that wasn’t enough, my manager talks me into entering another 10k – the Pacific Spirit Run .. i think it was only another 3 weeks away. what possessed me to commit to it, i have no idea .. but i ran a few minutes faster in that race and i was hurting. the accomplishment of having run faster though — that was amazing.

after that race, i decided to pull back and do some shorter distance things and EASE my way back up to a 10k. so i did a few short races that year and it was great – i had a lot of fun … and that’s how the story started …

that was 2001. fast forward to 2004.

i ran the Turkey Trot 10k (which wasn’t a REAL 10k, i was told) and i felt great – my times had come down every year i was running. after the race, i was approached by someone in one of those “serious running club” singlets .. we chatted briefly and he invited me to one of their workouts the following Thursday. i didn’t really take it seriously because it was so intimidating. he was a serious runner – among the really fast guys who i’m NEVER EVER close to.

Again, I don’t know where i mustered up the courage but i went to the workout. Ok, I drove to the workout and sat in my car. I didn’t know if I could join them – I thought they would think i was too slow .. that only fast people ran in their club. I mean – these were serious people!! Ten minutes of sitting in my car and i managed to convince myself to get out and just do it. It was something i was giving back to myself .. an investment in myself. The workout was HARD and I was the slowest person there. They were so nice and encouraging .. so week after week, i went back. Eventually, they invited me the join the club and asked me to run on their relay team (Haney to Harrison). Now if i wasn’t intimidated before, i was now! How could i run on their team? I mean, i’m SLOW – why would they want me? I joined the club and reluctantly agreed to run on their mixed relay team. I was assigned a 13km leg in the relay race .. I was really nervous because my training runs were only 6.5km up til then – that’s only half the distance!! Sure, I raced 10k’s but that was always a stretch for me! The day came and went .. I had fun although i still felt like somewhat of an outsider. The club members, though, were so nice and friendly. It was an easy transition.

It was at that relay — after running 13km — that I felt I could run a half marathon. And so it continues …

2005 – 31 races later and my first half marathon. What a stellar year. Not only did my racing times get better, but I completed my first half marathon faster than what i had hoped to do! I was on Cloud 9 .. and i couldn’t have done it without the people in the club .. they helped me train, they ran with me, they gave me advice .. they supported me every step of the way.

Now, 2006 is coming to an end. what have i accomplished? well, it’s been a year of the highest high’s and the lowest low’s. I started off the year in fantastic racing shape and i met some really great ppl out of a local running store .. i was getting personal best’s in the beginning of the year and getting my best half marathon time in February. The months after that were not so stellar … my times weren’t improving – in fact, they were getting slower! how could that be?

In June, in preparation for my 4th half marathon, i suffered from an acute muscle spasm in my lower back during a 15mile run. I could barely move – I was bedridden for 10 days .. no exercise, no sitting up, mainly sleeping, and barely eating. I was in hell. I saw everybody – chiropractor, physiotherapist, acupuncture, massage therapy .. everything. Eventually, i got the green light to do some “light” running .. so i had to start all over. i had no idea how much fitness i was going to lose .. and it showed. i had to pull out of two races .. it was demoralizing showing up at a race, chip in hand, to hand it in – to admit defeat – that i was incapable to doing something i loved so much .. to see my peers warming up and racing – where i used to be.

Seven weeks after my injury, i raced a 10k and i had to stop once during the race and walked .. and my time was awful. i had lost a year’s fitness, or so it seemed because of my result. Two weeks after that, i did another 10k in squamish and although i had improved a bit, i was still disappointed.

In September, i did a half marathon in Toronto and it was the worst race i had ever had in my life. My heart rate was through the roof, my head was fuzzy, i couldn’t get into my running rhythm .. at 11k, i basically threw a tantrum and tossed away my gloves and visor .. for the last 10k, i ran/walked the whole thing – finishing in the worst half marathon time i’ve ever had. To recover from yet another disappointing performance, i spent the week following doing some really nice enjoyable runs to get that half marathon out of my system .. to remember again why i loved running so much.

Since then, I’ve done a number of more races and they’ve been quite favorable – thank goodness! However, it’s been so taxing .. what possessed me to commit to running a marathon in December, I have no idea .. probably the crazy crew that i run with. But there I was .. late October/early November .. peaking my mileage and racing on the same weekends .. it was nuts. I was hurting .. and not focused .. either not focused on the race or not focused during my long runs .. either way, it was bad.

I am now at the end of my recovery week and I’ve got a 2 hour run to do tomorrow, which seems short compared to the 3+ hour runs I’ve been doing. Then I’m on a 3 week taper til the marathon.

I’m really not sure how i’m going to do at the marathon – of course, i have a goal .. under 4 hours .. BUT i’ve got a different goal inside .. and honestly, after last Sunday’s 3.5hr run, i don’t know if that’s even possible. I don’t want to set myself up for failure.

What I’ve been thinking about lately is what am I going to do after the marathon. i had been thinking about doing the Napa Valley Marathon in March for my birthday .. for two reasons – i LOVE to run and i LOVE wine. =) but the last 4 months of training has taken its toll .. marathon training is such a huge commitment. it’s hard to juggle racing and marathon training. i love racing so much and the series that i run in starts up again at the end of January .. there’s not much down time after Sacramento til I have to start training again.

I suppose I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.

so there’s my mind dump for tonight .. to marathon or not to marathon?!


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