Race Season Is Here.

I’ve been really bad at updating this lately. Part of that is because I created this blog as a way of tracking the progress of my return to fitness. It’s hard to write posts about that journey when you’re not doing anything. Most of the end of 2017 and the beginning of 2018 didn’t have a lot going on. Over the past few weeks, I’ve finally started getting my act together and I’ve been working out semi-regularly. I’m still not quite where I want to be in terms of consistency, but it’s definitely getting there. Since I’ve let myself go a little bit various body parts are hurting more than normal and I’m feeling sorer than I’m used to. It’s hard to convince yourself to get out of bed to do another workout when it hurts to move! But, those feelings are fading with each workout and it’s getting easier to get up and move more often.

Anyone who’s read any of my posts knows I have some trouble with my left knee. As expected, once I started running again it reminded me that it’s imperfect. It hasn’t been that bad though, and for that I’m grateful. I think I’ve learned how to avoid injuring it and when it does hurt I’ve learned how to care for it better. As of now, it feels a little loose and weak, but there is no pain, and I can perform pretty much any activity I want. I’m going to keep working on strengthing the joint so that I can feel more confident when I’m pushing it. In addition to the knee, my left hip has started demanding some attention. This started during the 15k I did untrained in January. I did a lot of research on it and I am pretty sure that I haven’t hurt myself, that it’s just irritation from my IT band being too tight. This could be, and likely is, contributing to some of my knee problems as well. I got the pain to go away shortly after the race and it’s been gone since. But, I did a 10k a week ago and my hip started hurting around mile 4. It’s fine now, so the time to heal is minimal if I’m tending to it. I don’t think it’s something I’m going to have to be concerned with much going forward, I just need to make sure I don’t take my attention off of it while I keep increasing my activity.

Speaking of the 10k, I know I normally write a whole post about my races, but I don’t feel inspired to do that this go around. The race went just fine. The weather was good and the race went smoothly. I didn’t run as well as I would have liked to and finished almost 12 minutes slower than I did last year. That being said, I have been working a little on my breathing while I’m running and trying to control my pace and I was very successful during the race in these categories. Also, I felt like I was doing better with my running form for most of the race. Some of the photos near the end showed my fatigued-self was suffering a little but overall I still consider it a success. I am finding that it’s very important to find something positive in everything, even if you have plenty of reasons to be negative. I can easily rationalize that I didn’t perform as well because I haven’t been taking care of myself, but if I had been taking care of myself I would have run at a faster pace. And I have been working on improving other aspects of my running, not just finishing time, and in those I was successful. I’m going to say this race was a win!

Hopefully, as my knee starts getting stronger I can start putting in some more miles. My ability to run long distances has diminished significantly. By the end of the race season last year I could actually go out on a decently long run and enjoy the whole thing and I miss that. I’ve tightened up on my diet as well, so hopefully dropping a few of these extra pounds I put back on will help my knee and my endurance. I’m a little sad I wasn’t able to keep up my training over the winter, but it is what it is, and I’m not going to dwell on it. I am where I am right now and all I can do is keep working to get it back. The good news there is that I’m in a much better place physically now than I was when I first started this blog. It’s easy to be disappointed by a setback, but it makes its a lot easier to be encouraged when you can look back and see how far you’ve come.

My first OCR event of the year is coming up this weekend. I’ll be racing the BONEFROG event in Virginia Beach. I initially had decided to try the endurance event, but I had to make the decision to step it back when I realized my offseason wasn’t going to put me in a good place to handle that. I’ll be doing the Tier-1 Challenge, which should come out to around 9 miles. Then it’s time to go into hardcore recovery mode as I have the Maryland Savage Race the following weekend. I’m going to play it by ear, and I won’t do anything to hurt myself, but I’ve already paid for two races that day. I was disappointed last year that I wasn’t able to get into the Savage Syndicate (Running two races in one year). So, when I was planning my schedule this year I tried to figure out a way I could do it. Sadly, there was only one option: Run the race twice in one day. At the time I figured I would have been training all winter so it shouldn’t be a big deal and I went ahead and signed up. Well, I’m not as fit as I wanted to be so I’m going to have to be careful. I think the first race I’ll actually try to ‘race’ it and the second lap I’ll just take my time and enjoy it. Running two of them will put me at around 18 miles. That’s a lot, but I should be ok. I’ve done Spartan Beasts with less training, and those have gone as long as 15-16 miles. If I’m smart and don’t push too hard I should make it to the finish line of both races just fine. Then, I have the Spartan Nationals Stadium race the weekend after that! Hopefully beating myself up for two weekends in a row, with plenty of recovery time will set me up to do well there. I really want to redeem myself after I was dissatisfied with my performance last year. After that race, I’ll have a bit of a break until the Tough Mudder in June.

The next few weeks should be interesting! I’ll be busy, but I’m going to try to make some time to make blog entries for those races. Even though I’m not feeling as strong as I’d like to going into this race season I am still very excited for it. Since I’m not racing as frequently this year it’ll give me more time to train and recover from the events and I really think that by the end of the summer I’ll be even better than I was at the end of last season. I’ve definitely got some work to do, but for the first time in a few months, I’m actually looking forward to doing that work.

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