My 2014 season was cut short due to health issues. I spent the rest of last year, getting my body back and making sense of what I went through. I was angry at my body for betraying me. I lost the weight, ate sensibly, exercised and trained for my races. Seriously, WTF body.
There were many moments that I would whine and cry about things to my trainers/friends S & J about the journey I was on. My running soul sister J was there for me whenever the doubt and fear would visit me. Last but certainly not least, my family, friends and running buddies were there to listen, encourage and support me through the peaks and valleys. All of them reassured me to take it a day at a time, breathe and it would get better. This fueled my drive to keep going.
Since last November, I have completed two 5ks, two 10ks and a half marathon. This was the most racing I have done within an eight month period. All of the races were special and I was able to accomplish the goals I set for myself. Yet, the races that have stood out in my mind are: The San Luis Obispo Half Marathon last April and Zooma Napa Valley 10K last Saturday.
San Luis Obispo was my first half post health issues. It was a beautiful course through downtown and back roads of SLO, wonderful crowd support and just so much fun.I was able to reconnect with lots of running buddies that I met through the SF Marathon last year. I totally remember running my heart out on the course. Some of the highlights were: seeing Erin, Paulette and Charles out on the course. I was crying as I approached the finished line because the training and journey back to racing the 13.1 riddled me with doubt and fear. I mean could I do it? Would I be able to finish and complete it healthy? I recall the volunteer asking me if I was okay as she placed the medal on my neck. I told her, I was more than okay and mentioned it was my first half post injury. She congratulated me and gave me a high five. It took awhile for me to soak in the moment of finishing. It meant the world to me that my parents were there to see me as they have never been to my races. I also couldn’t thank my BF R for spending the entire weekend with us and being the best cheer / crew person ever. It was such a sweet surprise to see her at mile three in downtown SLO right before the first climb and probably one of my top ten running memories. If you are looking into running a race in the Central Coast, I would recommend SLO. It lives up to the Small town, big race theme in terms of race support, schwag and organization. I am planning to go back next year for the 5th anniversary. Highlights of SLO:
R & I at the finish
Charles, Laura & I
Last Saturday, I went back to Napa to race the 10K of the Zoom Napa Valley series. Leading to the race, I had memories of what happened to me after running the 2014 race. It made me a little anxious and scared. Who wouldn’t be? In the back of my mind, I knew that I was healthy and more than capable of running this year. I usually bring someone with me to a race but I used the time to reflect and spend some “me” time. I stayed at the same hotel, had a late lunch at V. Sattui, visited Cakebread Cellars and Bouchon Bakery on Friday afternoon. Mostly the same stuff I did last year. As much I wanted to indulge in the wonderful restaurants of the region, I opted for the Mac and Cheese at Whole Foods for dinner. What can I say, I am a creature of habit and why change the night before a race. As I was eating dinner, I couldn’t help but feel thankful and blessed to be back to running in Napa. It’s like I have come full circle and there was nothing left to do but run.
I love that the expo for Zooma is small and intimate vs. the big expos. I was in and out of picking up my bib and other schwag in less than five minutes! Record time for me. On the way to the expo I spotted Amanda and her family checking in. I also ran into Laura on my way out . The highlight of Zooma was being part of the amazing and inspiring ambassador team. I attended the mocktail party at the Marriott. It was great to meet other ambassadors and wish everyone well the night before the race.
Photo courtesy – K. Baker
I kept tossing and turning on Friday night. I felt some nerves and also excitement. I rolled out of bed at 4 am. Ate breakfast and got ready. I walked over to the Marriott to catch the bus. I was thrilled to have found Laura on the same bus as me and hung out with her before the team took a picture at 6:30 am. It was time to line up and start the race at 7 am. I found my groove and just concentrated on the mile I was in. I felt good and kept a good pace. The weather was okay. It wasn’t as warm as I thought it would be. I had to take a bathroom break after one mile (darn you meds!;) ) I felt better after the potty break, my body felt much better and I found my groove for miles two and three. At the 10k turnaround point, I took some Gu to keep my energy up. I took in some water from the aid station and continued to run at a strong yet conservative pace. When I got to mile four, I felt my body start to wear out and as much as I pushed I had to walk. It helped to take the break and fueled me to run strong during the last two miles of the race. I felt so proud of myself for having the courage to run the race and the ability to finish strong. Such a great morning ! Congrats to all my teammates and all the participants for completing the race!There may have been some tears as well. Thank you Zooma for all the love and support this year. It was a pleasure being an ambassador!
So what is next for me? I am excited to run the 2nd Half of the SF Marathon next month. I will also be running the SF Giants Half four weeks after. It will be something to work towards and I am more than up for it.
I have learned so much this year about myself. Setbacks and bad shit happen but it is always important to keep moving forward. Embrace the journey and maybe you will surprise yourself. Never give up..