I started running again in the Spring of 2010, racing again in October 2010. I was in love. Did a few runs on my own, then buddied up with dear friend, Alison, in December for the Festival of Lights race.
She challenged me, and said I could do it. The Gate River Run. Honestly, I thought she was crazy. But when someone gives me a challenge... It's hard for my competitive spirit not to say OK!!
Like any good student, I started researching. Soon I found out thru my new favorite place to go at the beach, 1st Place Sports, that they had a River Run training program starting January 4th - talk about a New Year's Resolution!
So I joined up. When we got back to school on January 3rd from Christmas break, the first thing I did was talk to my kids about goals. I decided to call them goals, not resolutions, because I wanted us to actually achieve them. So we all wrote down 1-3 goals. I told them mine. They already knew about my obsession with running since I made them run everyday. Now that might sound harsh, but they also had their teacher running right along with them. And when we had our Mile Run test just a few weeks prior, they all had amazing and record breaking (for themselves) times!
The program started on a cold Tuesday night in San Marco. We went for a 5k run thru the neighborhood. When I left, I felt excited at the course ahead.
Over the next few weeks, we met regularly ALL over town for Saturday morning runs and sometimes races and always downtown on the river on Tuesdays. It was a cold winter. I don't like to be cold. I sometimes wore obnoxious amounts of layers! But I was warm!! I met wonderful people and made many new friends. Many that are teachers. Guess we all need that stress release! It was a wonderful experience. I was increasing my mileage and amazing myself with ever better race times. I was a runner! I hit TEN miles February 12th out in Black Creek - I never thought I could do that! And then I did 10.5 the next week!
But then I hit a roadblock. While pulling up some of the dead plants in my garden after our cold winter, I felt something pull in the back of my knee. I was done for the day. I iced it and took Advil. I had a race the next day at my alma mater, the University of North Florida. I had to be there! It was Homecoming! And I was there. I hurt, but I was going to warm up properly and run. I got to mile marker 2 and quit. I couldn't go any further and limped back to the finish line. My first DNF. And at UNF. Not cool.
The pain was intense and for the rest of the day I could barely walk. I had no idea what it was because the pain was in such an odd location on my leg. I researched the internet but nothing. I iced and Adviled until I thought I'd turn in to both!
The next week, I didn't go to my training class on Tuesday. Everyone was running in Saturday in the Ortega River Run, a 5 mile race thru beautiful old Jacksonville neighborhoods. But I wasn't there either. I sat at home with an ice pack and graded papers...
March 1st was FCAT Writing for my kids. Stressful, tiring day. I needed my friends - and a run. I went to the meeting spot early and walked 3.5 miles and over both bridges. I met them for class and then left before the run. Saturday came along and we were out in Ortega again. I hadn't even tried to run for the last 2 weeks, praying hard that I was healing. It did feel better... We started out and soon I was alone. I was walking. Thankfully there were slower pace groups who I was able to keep up with or I'd probably still be lost in Ortega! I tried jogging just a little bit and it didn't hurt!! I tried a few times, but never very much. I had one week till my BIG DAY.
Tuesday came along and I met my group. They again left me in the dust as I walked, but this time I pushed it a little more - I ran a lot. Then I'd walk, still not wanting to risk Saturday. I did both bridges - walking them only - even though everyone else was avoiding them this week. I felt I needed the endurance push. I hurt on Wednesday - but not too bad. Just muscles that were mad at me! :)
I was encouraged - feeling strong and confident - until Friday afternoon when my legs felt tired and achy. The negative thoughts started and I kept pushing them away. I kept my normal pre-race Friday night routine. I packed my race bag - way too much stuff! I went to bed and prayed for sleep. I got it! Saturday morning I awoke excited but still a little scared and worried I wouldn't be able to run the whole distance...