Making a comeback isn’t always easy…

A couple weekends ago I had what I am dubbing my comeback race. The Buffalo Marathon, which was suppose to be my first marathon back in 2011, stood as the marker for my return from injury. Blowing out your LCL and IT Band really makes for a scary comeback. Any tightness and I freak out thinking it is going to tear again.

Anyway, I agreed to do 10K as part of a 4 man relay team. Even though my running had been slow and recovery PT painful, I was feeling pretty good at the start-line. I had a successful 5K a few weeks before (placed first in my age group! It was a small race) and a comfortable 10K with my mom the weekend before at her first 10K and my favorite race, The Chocolate Race! I headed to the line with a friend I knew from work. We agreed that we both needed a bit of a push to keep a steady pace for this race, so we decided to pace each other. I warned her about my knee and she warned me that she was slow. As if Jill!

Off we went, me without a watch (a rarity to me but I had broken mine a few days before), and her calling out the splits at the mile markers. First mile flew by. 10:40 she called out. I was impressed. I had been hitting 11 on a good day during this come back.

Mile two we had some wicked hills. We struggled a bit crawling over the overpasses and passing above the highways. Approaching the water stop she called out 10:08 for the second mile. No way! Even better, I was feeling good. I walked through the water and continued on.

Mile 3 passed in 10:27 and I was feeling the sunshine beating down. We kept pushing each other. Talking and egging each other on. I could feel some struggle but didn’t want to be the first to walk.

Mile 4 was 10:24 and Mile 5 10:30. As we came through the houses and condos on the water I got to see a good friend I hadn’t seen in a while and then passed through the cheering section down in the marina. I saw more people I knew and it fueled me into the last mile.

Mile 6 (11:00) had our last water stop and we definitely needed it. Then we tried to kick it up, racing into the exchange point and handing off to our team members running the next leg of the relay.

I stayed to cheer a bit and thank Jill for keeping me going. We definitely were a good match for each other when it came to pace. I then headed off to the finish line. My tri club was volunteering and I didn’t want to let them down. I spent the rest of the race handing out Gatorade at the finish and eventually Mylar blankets to the marathoners finishing. It was definitely a chilly morning for those not moving a whole lot and I got cold almost immediately.

When our final racer came across the line we celebrated. We all had great times and I believe that I got a 10K PR. I still have yet to look up past 10K times to verify but I’m pretty sure.

Mostly I am just impressed that my body is handling recovery well. There is nothing scarier than seeing your body change for the worse while you try to get over an injury. You never realize how much you rely on running and exercise for stress relief, appetite control, and just general good feelings.

I’m officially back on board with running and will start training again in July for a fall half marathon. I am trying to cut back a bit on the racing to give my body more time to heal. I have a marathon on the schedule again in March 2014 and am considering an adventure race in September this year. I’m going to work on getting stronger and faster so that I can do more of the races I want, with less of the injury that keeps me down.

Cheers to happy running!

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