Not what I expected…

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This was not the result I was hoping for when I registered for Sunday’s half marathon last spring. That’s a DNF (did not finish)…or more accurately, a DNS (did not start). If you’ve been following along, you already knew I made the tough choice to sit out the race following my injury flaring back up in November.

I’ve had to work through some emotions during that time, and the past few weeks were pretty tough watching everyone else get excited about their races. It felt like when you got passed up by the cool kids in middle school. I wanted to be happy for all my friends, but I’ll be honest that some days, I had to work at it more than others.

I began to wonder if this was a sign that my days of longer distance running were over. “Maybe I should stick to 5k and 10k races,” I thought. This was the result of having a challenging training season prior to the injury’s re-emergence. I was doing well until October, when I had all the car drama. That took me away from the Houston Fit group on Saturdays as I was consumed with selling the old car and buying a new one. Solo runs on Sunday felt harder. I tried to follow the plan of running without music, but that is hard on your own, and without the neat routes they select for us. By the time I got through that, the injury flare popped up.

And then this weekend happened. Thanks to all the activities I was still a part of due to my Ambassador duties. I felt a part of the running world again. It started with hearing Meb Keflezighi share how hard it was for him to sit out of a race when he was injured, and using that to come back (and then having him tell me personally that I would come back…and to focus on my cross training and what I could while I heal).

Saturday’s EXPO reinforced this. Seeing the joy of so many people gearing up to race the next day began to give me hope that I could be among them. A quick spin around the booths led me to find a race in Galveston in April that not only looks like a lot of fun, but has a 5k option.

So I thought, “Hey, I can do that. Even if I don’t start training in earnest until Charity Ball is done in 3 weeks, that’s about the same amount of time I trained for my very first 5k.” And the bonus? I have running experience I didn’t have 7 years ago. I have the backing of all I learned in physical therapy to improve my form and work to prevent further injuries.

But it was today, race day, which really brought me back to thinking I could do longer distances again. I decided to cheer from the finish line, instead of sitting at home and moping (Thank you Eileen for the pass!) To see the runners crossing the finish line took me back … to my first half here in Houston 3 years ago, and even to my second in Galveston 2 years ago. The sense of accomplishment, mixed with exhaustion and all kinds of other feelings, is just awesome.

And I want to feel that again. And I will.

Church tonight reinforced it. This week’s readings included the ones where we are told our bodies are not our own, and that they are a temple. I felt it was God’s way of telling me that I need to do all I can with the body I have been given, while I’m young and healthy enough to do it!

Other than the 5k in three months, I’m not sure when or where I’ll attempt a half, or maybe even (gasp!) a full. Houston is high on my list…you can’t beat running in your town with friends to cheer you on. But I’ll have to see how my return to running goes. When I’m closer to getting ready, I’ll make a decision … but it would be great to be running one of those distances a year from now.

Sounds like I may have just come up with my first Before 40 bucket list item.

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