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Saturday, November 29, 2014

I'm baaack! Race Report: Wrightsville Beach Turkey Trot

If you know me or read this blog you know that I had a partial meniscectomy in August. This was my first major layoff from running since I started over 20 years ago; counting the injury and recovery, I did not run for three months. Some good things came out of the down time (including rekindling a new love...competitive swimming), but I am glad that it is over.

On Thanksgiving I took the next step in my return to running. I ran a race! I have been back running since mid-September and have done a few tempo runs (around 6:40 pace average) and several hill workouts. My goal for the Wrightsville Beach Turkey Trot 5K were threefold:

1) Start controlled and finish strong
2) Be mentally tough when it starts to hurt (I have been focusing on that with swimming)
3) Enjoy being able to race again

Admittedly, I also had a time goal (sub-20:00) even though Coach Tom Clifford discouraged me from having one.

Thankfully I can report that I did all three (four).

It was a beautiful morning and 2,000 runners came out to participate. I went out in 6:30 pace per mile for the first 800 and picked it up each 800. I was surprised at how my body responded to each drive and it was exciting to finally have control of my body/legs/pace again.

Of course it hurt as races do towards the end, but I was pleased with how I responded mentally and physically. Swimming has clearly helped me in both departments.

I ended up taking the women's title in 18:56. I have not been that thankful after a race in a very long time.

Many people told me that time away from running would end up being a good thing. They were right. I did not enjoy the time, but they were right. The body is an amazing machine and with some hard work it can return better than before after a set-back.

The next four months will be an experiment in combining swimming and running while preparing for a 26.2 mile PR. Less running mileage than before, but I have become a believer that less can be more, especially when some of the pounding is replaced by non-impact aerobic training like swimming.

Be thankful,


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