I decided to do it this year even though I am not in race shape. I've had my first running injury that didn't get better with rest. I pushed through it a lot last spring and summer before finally deciding to take time off and get physical therapy to address the pain and tightness. I've been very tight on my right side and had some pain in the upper right hamsting, pirformis, and hip rotators. I saw my friend Katherine Price, The Body Shoppe Physical Therapy, in Beaufort. I've known Katherine for years and she's a trusted, close friend, and accomplished runner. She was able to point out my muscle imbalances and give me exercises to strengthen and stretch the areas. She's wonderful and will take the time to listen to you. She's very knowledgeable and the community is fortunate to have her. I've also been seeing my friend Holly Fisher of Holly Fisher Massage Therapy in Morehead City. Holly is wonderful as well and the combination of physical therapy and massage therapy has really improved my pain and tightness.
The hardest part of the injury was the mental part. I hated missing the Twin Bridges 8K Road Race last October and I passed on training for a Fall marathon. I could have physically ran the Twin Bridges 8K but I was hurting too much to race it and be competitive. It's also not good to push yourself in a race if you're hurt. The risk of doing more damage is just not worth it. I took most of the month of October off from running and started back in November gradually building my base and mileage back up while doing the Physical Therapy exercises 5 days a week. The exercises were a tough workout and made me realize my core wasn't as strong as I thought it was! I ran 115 miles in November gradually going from 24 miles a week to 34 by the end of the month. I continued that in December running 183.2 miles going from 34 a week to 46. I was pain free on my recovery runs but was still having some tightness on my short tempos and long runs and would get tighter after running but as soon as I would do the PT exercises I felt better.
Since I felt my base was coming back and I had a good 15 miles long run on the last Sunday in December with miles 10-14 at close to marathon pace I decided to do the Resolution Run to see where I was fitness wise and use it as a baseline going forward. I knew I wasn't in race shape but I wanted to race. I missed it. I missed the pre-race nerves, the atmosphere, and pushing myself. I had no goal other than to run hard without hurting and if I hurt the plan was to back off and run easy.
The race started and I went straight to the lead following the police car leading us down Front Street. I knew I wasn't in PR shape so I was smart and didn't go out at PR pace. The plan was to go out around 6:00 min pace but I was closer to 5:50. I felt good though; nothing was pulling and nothing was hurting. I wasn't sure how far anyone was behind me until I heard splashes from the puddles from all the rain we've had recently. I wasn't ahead by much but I was guessing I had about a 10 second lead. Of course I wanted to win the race but not the the expense of hurting so I tried staying consistent on my pace and effort.
Instead of hitting the lap button on my watch at every mile marker like I usually do in races I just hit it at the halfway point at the turnaround. I ran the first half in 9:02, 5:52 min/mile pace. I felt good and I was leading by about 10 seconds over second place and there was a larger gap from second to third place. My goal for the second half was to run consistent and hold on for the win.
I ran the second half in 9:18, 5:53 min/mile pace and Won the race in 18:20! I was pleased with the effort and time. I was thrilled I raced pain free but some of that was adrenaline as I got tighter later in the day from the race. It was a good effort to establish a baseline for my current fitness. The plan is to keep building my base back up and keep doing the PT exercises to work on the areas I'm still having problems with.
I'd like to get in shape for the Crystal Coast Half Marathon on March 5th. I may not be able to get in PR shape by then but I'd like to get close. I've ran the Crystal Coast Half every year it's been held and been fortunate to win it twice. I'm also considering the Tobacco Road Half Marathon on March 13th. It's a great race as well and it is where I ran my first sub 3 hour marathon; a 2:55 in 2010 the first year of the event. The race director puts on a first class event!
The race had nice awards for the overall winners. I won a small cooler and headlamp. The race didn't have chip timing and didn't really need it. If it gets bigger in the future then yes but you can still score a smaller race fine with pull tags without the expensive cost of a timing company. They also had a 1 mile run. This is a nice event to do with your family and friends to be active to start the new year.