After two and and half months of active recovery and reduced running, I went into the Nebo Half-Marathon cautiously optimistic.
My last half was at the end of June- (you can read about that race here AF Canyon Run Against Cancer Half- Marathon)
when an MRI diagnoses of Chondromalacia left my summer racing season bleak. Cold weather is dominate in Utah from late October through mid-May, so the warm summer months mean optimal racing weather that’s really hard to miss out on.
Even though I’ve successfully completed PRP treatment, every now and again, my knees will randomly ache and sing with pain.
For the last few days before the race, I kept wondering if I should even run? I kept thinking what if I injure myself? What if my knee gives out or I trip? I was so worried about over-doing things, I skipped my Friday shakeout run in favor of no-impact yoga.
The night before the race I didn’t sleep well due to multiple family interruptions, despite trying to go to bed by 10 pm. When my alarm went off at 3 am, I felt nauseous yet excited to be up early and back in a familiar routine.
After meeting a good friend and driving down to Payson; the bus ride to the starting line left me feeling even more nauseous.
Finding the porta-potties, I realized it just might be one of those races where my body doesn’t feel 100%. I decided to hold off on my fast race pace (6:50 mile or better) and run a moderate 7:10 mile pace which would be comfortably quick without pushing too hard.
Making a conscious effort to hold back, I felt happy running until a familiar tummy grumble occurred just after mile 3. Stopping at the 4.25 mile aide station, a 2-minute break helped me feel a little better and I was hopeful I could finish the race without stopping again.
When the rolling hills hit at mile 9, I could definitely feel my lack of long distance running. With only one 11-mile long distance run under my belt since the end of June, I really missed my familiar stamina. I know I couldn’t change the situation, so I focused on each little hill and reminded myself of different times I’ve run further uphill as my legs started to feel like bricks.
The last mile was pretty challenging for me, despite my love of running. When I crossed the finish line, I really didn’t have anything else left in me which is a sensation I hadn’t felt in a very long time. My friend had a phenomenal race, running a 1:28 and even snapped a couple of pictures of me nearly dying as I crossed the finish line.
To my surprise, I had no knee issues or pain whatsoever. I only felt the effects of being tired from being “out of race shape,” my Crohn’s tummy, (which is common after a hard run) and the sting of knowing my bathroom stop cost me a top 3 age-group placement.
When it’s that close, 45-seconds short always pinches just a little. All things considered, I was happy to be back, it was a great day and I look forward to my next race in a very productive fall.