I am writing this blog sitting on the plane back home. I am coming back from my race in South Carolina. The first one after being sick with pneumonia and having a minor thing in my achilles tendon.
I arrived to Charleston on Wednesday. It was a long flight and the 3 hour difference (time zone) was rough on me. The day was super short! After arriving to the hotel I googled a grocery store and walked there (it was only a mile away and the weather was beautiful!). After getting healthy food and healthy snacks and three 12 packs of cherry coke zero and diet mountain dew (for real) I called an uber to get back to the hotel. The uber driver made a mistake and got on the bridge to go back to Charleston (I was staying in Mount Pleasant, just on the other side of the river). We spent almost 35 minutes!!!! in traffic to go back to the hotel… man, this soda addiction is costing me big time!. I had a hard time falling asleep (it was 6pm at home) but I brought some melatonin pills and that helped.
On Thursday I went out for a run. It was a beautiful morning. I ran the bridge to seize the size of the hill (way steeper than I expected). On my way back it started pouring. I got super wet but it was really fun. I love running in the rain! The rest of the day I worked on some projects I am “cooking”, some articles I needed to write and I planned some of my Spanish classes (thank goodness for internet and laptops!)
On Friday I woke up with a really bad lower back pain. It was painful to walk. But I have learned that a little bit of pain like that is well forgotten when you have to perform. I put a Powerstrip patch and some cream on it and did some stretches. We went for the press conference, I took a bath and at 5 the race director picked us up to go to dinner. I love coming to this events! This was the 40th year of the race and they brought the best in the world to compete. There were several Olympians, the best 10k racers from Ethiopia and Kenya (and the US!). I made some new friends and I am very grateful for that. I love running because I get to meet new people and go race in new places!
After the dinner I went back to the hotel, took a bath, drank a beet shot with turmeric, prepared my things for the next day (my Skechers Go Meb Razor and my skechers uniform that I love! (bun huggers and all), my new swiftwick socks that match my yellow uniform, I wrote my mantras, listened to a yoga nidra tape from Anahata Yoga and fell asleep. I woke up at 5 and I was very calm. Contrary to my previous race (maybe because I was sick on my previous race?). I knew I was just going to be in the moment. I had no race plan other than to push through discomfort and be present. I kept repeating “I can shift what I believe at any moment” which means if I think “this is too hard” I can shift it for whatever I choose to think. So I just had that in my mind over and over again. I had a banana, half a fruit and nut perfect bar and a beet shot. I also took my O2 and catalyst from Advocare.
During warm up I saw a girl from Russia that beat me five years ago. She was not nice about it back then. The day was beautiful and the race started at 8. I was wearing my “bun huggers” from the first time (I actually liked them!). I knew the first pack was going to be running at around 5:10 min/mile and I knew my fitness is not there right now. I went with the second pack and just wanted to have the Russian girl in sight. I went out at about 5:42 which felt good. When the hill came my pace slowed down. I realize now that I need to train more hills (I stopped with the achilles thing) and that I needed to be more confident about running the hill. Live and learn. I came next to the Russian girl and she fell from it. She pushed the pace in the uphill and I just fell slightly back behind her so she would do the work. After we came out of the bridge we had a little over 2 miles to go and I was feeling great. I pushed the pace and came closer to her and I caught her with a mile to go. I still felt great so I just sped up. The last one was my fastest mile (which means I need to learn to push the pace earlier in the race and to trust I can run fast again). I finished 15th overall, 4th American (4th non African) and second master (which sucks but the first master was a 3 time olympian in the event -10K- so it makes it less painful). I also got a nice check with more prize money that I was expecting (which comes handy because we have to pay many bills!)… By the way, the race had over 40,000 runners!!! I had a lot of fun during the race and it gives me a lot of confidence going into my A race of the season (USATF 25K National Championships). I am very grateful I was able to be present and to enjoy every moment of it. The result is not that I wanted but it’s a good first step two weeks after recovering from pneumonia. And seriously, it was so much fun!
After the awards ceremony we went back to the hotel, took a shower and headed downtown with my new friend and fellow runner Kimberly Mueller. We ended up walking around all Charleston and logged in 13 walking miles!!!! My feet were sore at the end of the day (but very happy!). I tried shrimp and grits and “she crab” soup, and was able o see that the Southern people are very kind and welcoming. This goes also for the elite athletes coordinators Sam and Michael. They were amazingly kind and caring. Thank you!!!!
If you haven’t done this race I strongly encourage you to do it. It was a lot of fun and it really is a huge event here!
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