Probably the biggest thing I missed during my running hiatus this summer was the competition that comes with racing. I don't mean the actual competitors (although I'm sure I missed some of them too!), but the actual act of competing. I love to race. Not because I'm an elite athlete. Not because I need to win. Not because I need another t-shirt or medal. But because I have a constant desire to push myself. To work harder. To get faster. When I sign up for yet another race, Deb usually says "I can't help myself" but I think we're on the same page. I think she know I need to race.
The lack of running didn't bother me nearly as much as the lack of racing. I can always find something else to do to stay in shape or fill the time (mostly). I got used to not running. I mountain biked. I had fun. But I wasn't racing. It's amazing how annoying social media can be when you can't do what you like to do (especially when 90% of my FB friends are runners). Man, did you guys bug me!
I've now been running for about 3 months. I can't say I've got that competitive fire yet, but at least I have the pilot lit. I've taken it real slow (a little gun shy about getting injured again), maybe even too slow. I generally average about 30 miles a week. That's fine for staying in shape but it's not enough if you want to get faster. I have been racing a bit, which can be tough this time of year. It seems the rest of the running world is winding down and I'm trying to ramp up. Not a lot of races to choose from but I found a few. I ran a couple of 5k trail races in November on the familiar trails of Mine Falls. I ran The Great Gobbler 5k Trail Race on Thanksgiving (only the second time I've ever run a race on Thanksgiving, believe it or not). Finally, this past weekend I had the lead off leg of one of our Mens Masters team at the Mill Cities Relay. Considering I averaged nearly 6:40's for a 5k in September (might be a PW), I guess I should be happy with 6:15's for 5.4 miles. I am not complaining. I'm just happy to be running again and more importantly, racing again. Time to ramp up the miles. Watch your back, I might be right behind you!
RANDOM NOTE: I took some pictures on legs 3, 4 and 5 after running my leg on Sunday. Feel free to share with anyone who ran the Mill Cities Relay.
2011 Mill Cites Relay Pictures