Lesson learned: part I.

"Take the picture so I can sit down for the next 2 days."

“Take the picture so I can sit down for the next 48 hours.”

Another race down, another medal acquired…and a HUGE lesson learned. This started to become lengthy, so I’ll post a bit now and finish up later on today.

It’s safe to say that I have never been happier to cross a finish line than I was yesterday morning at 8:30 am on the Ben Franklin Parkway. However, instead of feeling the elation that comes with spying the finish line and racing the giant digital clock for stolen seconds back on a finish time, I was just glad I could walk. Second race in a row where I thought my tendon would explode…not exactly my ideal “2/2.” Around mile 4, I literally turned to someone who was visibly struggling and said, “You’ll be okay. My tendon feels like it’s going to rip apart.” To which her friend responded, “That’s intense.” They started running immediately, ha.

Let me just say this now: if you’ve experienced a fairly serious injury and don’t yet feel 100%, you probably shouldn’t race. You shouldn’t even sign up for a race until you’re healthy. Period.

So what happened yesterday? I chased the runner’s high, but ended up with a bag of frozen corn on my knee. Again. Sigh.

When I equated nights before races to Christmas Eve in my last post, I meant it. I love racing. I love the adrenaline rush that comes from strolling through an expo, giving your name to a volunteer, and receiving an oh-so-official bib. I love crafting race-day playlists; greeting the sun as I pin my bib to my jacket and lace my shoes; love the electric buzz of the waiting corral; and all the fooooood. (Snacks and swag were a bit lacking this year, but I do have some good finds to share). I just love the whole darn thing, from creating the training plan to the post-race blues. It’s exhilarating.

I was so caught up in the shimmer and glow of racing for the first time in 6 months that I ignored my body. Again, lesson learned.

Friday night, Rich and I popped over to our usual pre-race dinner spot: Chickie’s and Pete’s restaurant, a Philly sports staple. We chowed on crab fries, snagged some pizza, and I realized then that although I had been wavering on racing earlier in the day, that I was going to go for it. We even made a “derp pact” at dinner, meaning that neither of us intended on truly “racing” the 8k*, but that we’d stick together and plod along at whatever pace felt right. We were just out to enjoy ourselves and have a good time.

*LAST YEAR: was a RACE. I came in just 30 seconds behind Rich. He talks about seeing me at the turnaround point– 3 miles– and thinking, “I’m dying and she looks CRAZY.” I had planned on running a 43 or so minute race, and ended up sub-40 mins.

If you run, you know that race expos can be a goldmine of delicious free samples. Last year, I acquired so many free samples of granola bars that I didn’t have to purchase any for two weeks (this was, of course, before I started making my own delicious specimens). This year was decidedly lame in the snack department, but there were two standouts: Larabar Toasted Nut Roll– short ingredient list and a really hearty flavor that reminded me of Christmas time– as well as “Eureka” brand bread, also sporting a surprisingly short and recognizable ingredient list.

Goofin' off at the convention.

Goofin’ off at the convention.

Loooove me some race day samples.

Loooove me some race day samples.

Rich and I crashed at my parents’ house right outside of Philly. I got a great night of sleep (which I NEVER do before a race…should have known something was fishy…), woke up at 5:45 and had breakfast, and got out the door at 6:45.

I usually go for oatmeal with a little pb and a banana before a race, but I couldn't pass up my last TJ's Harvest bagel. A little coffee & crunchy pb for good measure, and I saved the banana for post-race.

I usually go for oatmeal with a little pb and a banana before a race, but I couldn’t pass up my last TJ’s Harvest bagel. A little coffee & crunchy pb for good measure, and I saved the banana for post-race.

I was in fantastic spirits the whole time, and practically skipped to the starting line.

Dude's cramping our style...just trying to snag a pic of the Art Museum in sunlight. buddy.

Dude’s cramping our style…just trying to snag a pic of the Art Museum in sunlight. buddy.

After 20 frigid minutes of waiting (it was in the high 20s yesterday morning), we crossed the start and, after high-fiving the mayor of Philly (Rich has high-fived him in every race we’ve run down there), we blasted our way towards City Hall. I. Felt. So. Good. I saw my parents, hugged them, and we took off like bandits…

Loving my city.

Loving my city.

And after only a half mile (and one more high-five from Mayor Nutter) I knew I was in trouble.

Stay tuned for part II…

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