If I don’t blog my race results, did I really run?

The answer, my friends, is yes, I did run. I’ve actually run quite a few races since the start of 2017. I’ve been a bit late in posting recaps about each race, mainly because life is busy and well, I’m out there living it.

I finished up 2016 running multiple 5ks with descent times, considering I was rehabbing my foot after Dam to Dam in June. In October I ran the Principal 5k at the Des Moines Marathon in 31:35 on barely any training. In November I hit up Nippy Hippie in 29:15 and Des Moines Turkey Trot in 28:55, though I think both of those courses were a bit short considering I’d barely been training and both of those times would have been believable had I been in peak shape. However, I wasn’t in top running shape for either race and kind of cringe that my athlinks profile lists 28:55 as PR for a 5k, when I know that my fastest was 29:02 at Nippy Hippie the year before on a slightly different course.

I started out my unofficial racing season in February with Red Flannel. Once again, the course was short. I am not in the shape to run 26:00 three miler, much less to do so after a summer spent rehabbing a stress fracture in my foot.

In March I ran Leprechaun Chase, usually a 10k, but due to icy conditions on the trail it became a 5k. I was grateful for the shorter distance because I’d been slowly getting back to running regularly…ahem…not running regularly at all since the weather was all over the place. And I had been wracking up a lot of time at my part time job and over time at my full time job. But I put in a solid 29:46 for 5k in stupidly cold conditions and then celebrated with a friend at her bridal shower that afternoon.

By April, I’d started running a bit more regularly. Co-coaching Girls on the Run at a local elementary school definitely boosted my activity simply by running with the girls twice a week. Speed work outs at the track with my local running group also started back up as well. I ran Loop the Lake after several years of not throwing down an 8k and finished in 50:40, which was a bit faster than when I raced it in 2013 at 54:24. I also did Grand Blue Mile again, but was a bit slower at 8:12 this year. However, I did much better with the Drake 5k at 29:44 for a nice combo that resulted in a bulldog themed medal for my race bling collection.

May was an interesting month as my part time place of employment closed, however, I was fairly consistent training with my GOTR coaching and I ran WHAMM near the end of May that was just under 3 miles and put in a solid 27:20 finish. A bit more speed work at the track and I knew I was in great shape to finally hit that sub 29 minute 5k time that had been haunting me since Thanksgiving. Dam to Dam was shaping up to be my 5k PR. As is the norm with Dam to Dam weekend, the temperature of the weekend soared to well above what the average had been and what everyone was acclimated to training in. I was hydrated and oddly relaxed come the start of the race and took my place towards the middle of the pack and just did my best to run at the edge of discomfort. I pushed myself and took water where it was offered. This was the first race where I saw a runner go down due to the weather conditions at about 2.5 miles. I finished the race in 29:04 gun time. Yup, my official time for Dam to Dam 2017 was based on gun time because there were no starting mats present due to the person in charge of those mats having a family emergency. I understand that emergencies happen, however, race officials made no announcement at the start that timing would be based on gun time only and no chip time. I was a bit pissed because I am fairly certain that I set a new 5k PR that day. Unfortunately, I can’t use the stats from my Garmin even though the run was exactly 3.17 miles and a time of 28:46.

During June and July I started to train for my next full marathon in October. However, I was starting to have some issues with my health: physically and mentally, which lead to me having a month of leave off from my full time job to try and figure out what the hell was going on with me. I visited an endocrinologist to see if my pancreas was producing insulin or just resistant since I have other hormonal health issues and, to quote every doctor I’ve ever seen, “you don’t fit the profile of a type 2 diabetic.” After returning to therapy and having confirmed that I am insulin resistant by the endocrinologist, I started realizing that the stress of my full time job might be playing into my overall health.

A month after returning to my job, I was starting to feel my depression bubble back to the surface. My desire to run was gone, plus the expectation that I would be readily available to sacrifice weekends to finish work that needed to be done during the week and should have been available to do during the week was taking away the much needed time to recover and unplug from the work bullshit. In September, I started a part time position at Best Buy, with the intention of transitioning to full time in the near future. I was thinking probably spring of 2018.

In October, I dropped my marathon registration down to the 5k and finished in 29:34 and then had an appointment with a podiatrist for the niggling pain in my right foot. I have a slight bunion, KT taping my foot for every run and wearing a foam spacer sort of help. The podiatrist said I’m a perfect candidate for surgery. I’m pretty sure I’m not at that point. For one: I cannot afford surgery, two: every person I’ve talked with that has had bunion surgery has commented that they wished that they hadn’t had the surgery. So now, I’m wearing stiffer shoes to work and have some stiffer inserts for my running shoes that I need to transition into training with and continue to tape my foot and wear the damn toe spacer.

So by mid November, I had hit my breaking point at my full time job. Too much pressure to do the job of three people every day and other coworkers not being held accountable for doing their work or for picking up the slack of other work tasks because the company as a whole has been understaffed for years. I had a break down. I walked out of the building two hours into my shift exhausted, frustrated and wanting to kill myself. After a couple of days of trying to figure out what I was going to do and some phone calls to HR, I resigned in good standing. Luckily, it was going into busy holiday season at Best Buy and I was able to pick up full time hours going into Thanksgiving week.

At the start of December I finally had the chance to run the Sycamore 8 trail race. Overall it was about 7.5 miles and the day was unseasonably warm. I finished in 1:24:23 with no real time goal, other than to be done in around an hour and a half. Mission accomplished. I got in a couple short runs here and there, but I soon transitioned into a full time position in my department at Best Buy. My schedule isn’t set in stone, my health benefits don’t kick in until March 1st and my pay is a bit less than what I was making per hour at the print shop, but I feel a thousand times better. Now to get through this stupidly cold Iowa winter and start logging some more consistent training miles. I need to train and complete another full marathon this fall.

I look pretty happy at about half way through a trail race that I barely prepared to run.