This a Touchy Subject…

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My mom & I at the Culdesac 5k

I’ve been avoiding writing about this for a while, but its time. Two weeks ago, I ran my first race in a very long time. It was absolutely horrible. I made a rookie mistake in assuming that I would run fast. That was just stupid. I had only trained for one week before the race. It was close to ninety degrees. I had spent the past two days walking around the city of Chicago. I was not hydrated nor well rested. This was just not an environment meant for success. And yet, my over-competitive stupid self believed that it was.

I am way too competitive for my own good. I take every race or competition incredibly serious. That was great when I was competing in the high school state meet, but when I’m running in the “Culdesac 5k,” I shouldn’t put so much pressure on myself. But I always do. When I race, I race hard. I race to win, or to run a personal best time. Which is STUPID when you have only been training for a week.

So, like I said before, the race was horrible. I ran my first mile way too fast, and thus began a long, slow, painful death… I felt like I could barely breathe and I was concerned that my legs could have given out at any moment. Once I lost that momentum, I lost all  of my mental stamina. I just completely gave up. It was hot, I was tired, and I wasn’t running fast. A recipe for disaster. 

It was the slowest 5k race I have ever run in my life. I’m embarrassed to even be writing this, but I ran the 5k in 23 minutes, 43 seconds. Oh God I am humiliated. I realize that that is a lot faster than a lot of people can run, and I am thankful for that. But you must realize that my best time for the 5k is 19 minutes, 20 seconds. So what I ran in the Culdesac 5k was WAY slower, and naturally I was very disappointed with it. God, I never ran that slow in high school. Now I know that some of my running friends will see this… That kind of scares me, which is why I held off on writing this for so long. But I realized this: what kind of writer am I if I don’t write honestly? And that’s why I have to share this experience with you all.

After the Culdesac 5k, I was extremely discouraged. I knew that I hadn’t been training much, and it was not ideal racing conditions, but I just felt like there was no way I would ever get back to the level I used to be at. I didn’t run again for the rest of the week. After some encouragement from my loved ones, I did start running again, albeit not very much.

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My mom, brother, and I at the Village of Nags Head 5k

So two days ago, Thursday morning, I ran another 5k. We were down in Nags Head, and they have a series of races right in our neighborhood. Honestly, I wasn’t too excited about it, and I didn’t expect much either. But my mom and brother were running, and I knew it would be a fun event so I got up at 6:00 AM and went out there anyway. Much to my surprise, the race went really well! I ran the 5k in 21 minutes, 43 seconds; exactly two minutes faster than my race at the Culdesac 5k. In only two weeks, I dropped two whole minutes, which is huge progress! I was thrilled after I finished. Not only did I race that much faster, but I also raced a hell of a lot tougher, which is really important to me. I am still over two minutes off of my personal best, but that’s okay. I know there is a long road ahead of me, but I’m ready for that.

I now am extremely happy that I ran the Culdesac 5k. Had the Village of Nags Head 5k been my first race back, I would have been disappointed with 21:43. But now I know how far I have come, and I am more motivated than ever! Heck, if I keep up this dropping two minutes thing, I’ll be running personal bests in no time 😉

I am a sucker for a good quote, and there is one particular one I have kept in mind throughout my injury struggles and recovery process

Every setback is a setup for a comeback. God wants to bring you out better than you were before. -Joel Osteen

Sometimes I don’t think I’ll ever be the runner I once was, but that quote keeps me motivated. Even if that day never comes, I’m happy that I’m able to still do what I love. What these past two races have taught me is perspective. I may not be the runner I want to be, but I’m extremely happy with my progress and I have to remember how far I have come.

I know a lot of people who regularly read my blog love reading about my running, so that’s why I wanted to share this. Hopefully one day I will be able to write about some more spectacular success, but this will do for now 🙂 Thank you everyone for all the support and encouragement I have received throughout this never-ending recovery process. The minimal success I have achieved thus far could not have been done without you.

Keep on running, my friends…

xoxo Katie 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Back on Track

Today I ran for 23 minutes. For some people that’s barely a run at all, for others its more than they would ever like to run in their lifetime. For me, it’s somewhere in between. A little over a year ago, twenty three minutes would have been a short, easy recovery run for me. But now, its huge. Its huge just to be out there and doing it. I’ve learned to appreciate individual runs way more. I’m happy to be out there running, no matter how fast or slow it may be.

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Running the 1600m at Godwin

But still… It’s hard. It’s hard because I remember how fast I used to be able to run. 23 minutes used to be a cakewalk, but today I was exhausted. Sigh. At least the plantar fasciitis, sinus infection, and costochondritis have finally cleared up enough for me to run again. I do get discouraged though, thinking about how far I have left to get back to the point I used to be at. There is one bright point in all this. I am now beginning what I expect will be the “glory days” of my running career. I loved high school running, but I was not made for it. I am a long distance runner; the longer, the BETTER! I’m all endurance and no pure speed, which killed me when running the mile. I have always believed that I was destined for a road racing career; 10,000 meters and up. I hope to specialize in the half marathon and marathon. I always planned on beginning my marathon career after I graduated college, but now that I am no longer running track, my “glory days” can begin now!

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After the 2010 Virginia Beach Rock n Roll Half Marathon

I have run one half marathon. It was in September 2010, I was 15 years old and I entered on a whim. It was the Virginia Beach Rock n Roll Half Marathon, a few friends of mine had run it before and said it was awesome. Well I decided to give it a shot, and it was awesome. Don’t get me wrong, it hurt like hell. But it was also the most fun I had ever had while running a race. That’s when I discovered that my body was made to run half marathons. I loved it so much more than any event I ran in high school. I was so determined to keep running more half marathons and keep improving my time. Welp, shortly after the race I began suffering from a calf strain, and my coach axed any half marathon aspirations until I graduated high school. I’ve had plantar fasciitis since my graduation, so I’ve yet to run another half. BUT that’s all about to change this November! I have committed myself to run the Richmond Half Marathon on November 16th. I am so excited to get back on the roads again, but I’m nervous. I am nervous that my 19 year old self will lose to my 15 year old self. That would really bother me. At 15 I was only a girl and when I turn 19 in September I will be a WOMAN (I guess…) And the woman in me really does not want to lose to the girl. Right now I view 15 year old self as my greatest rival, the only one standing in my way. Oh 15 year old Katie, if only you knew the effect that you would have on your future self. If only you knew how fast and powerful you truly are. If only you knew how much I want to kick your little ass. I must run faster than 1 hour, 35 minutes, and 22 seconds. I must.

But, until November 16th arrives, I think I need to just focus on building up my mileage, because I sure as hell need to be able to run longer than 23 minutes. I’ve got a long way to go if I want to beat 15 year old self. But for now, 23 minutes will do. I’m back on track.

xoxo Katie Lou

P.S. I will add a widget counting down to the half marathon. You can follow the days until the race 🙂

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Teary Days

Two days ago, I had a day that my parents described as a “teary day.” All day, I just felt like crying… about everything. I was sad about Tucker going to the Air Force. I cried. My dad disagreed with me about something. I cried. They didn’t have steak flights at Outback. I cried.

Every now and then I have a teary day. I am what you would call… “a crier”. Crying is a frequent occurrence in my life. I cry about everything. I cry when I’m sad, of course. I cry when I am overwhelmed with happiness. I cry when I’m mad. I cry when I’m reminiscing. I cry when I’m proud. Sometimes I cry for no reason. It is rare, and I mean extremely rare, that I go a week without crying.

The peak of my crying habit would have to be my high school cross country career. Any athlete knows how much emotion goes into competition. I put so much emotional investment into all of my races, it built up so much leading up to the race, and after the race it would all just crumble. I cried after pretty much every race: good and bad. It would be for various reasons. Not happy about my race, too happy about my race… no personal record, big personal record… getting passed at the last second, passing someone at the last second… whatever. When you’re on a team, you spend so much time with your teammates that you are bound to get annoyed with them once and a while. I sometimes complained about my teammates, and I once asked my dad what he thought others on the team may complain about me. To this day I remember his answer: “Probably that you cry too much.” I couldn’t disagree, he is most likely correct. Any teammates reading this may confirm in the comments below. My parents and coach always tried to get me to kick the habit; I don’t think anyone ever knew what to do with me when I was in tears. But I never tried to stop, and never had much interest in trying, either.

I don’t see what so bad about crying. Society seems to believe that crying is an act that should be prevented at all costs, and certainly not  done in front of others. I just don’t see what’s so wrong with it. If you feel like crying, then cry! No use it holding it back. I never hold back my tears, and I don’t try to. For starters, it hurts to hold them back. You get that damn lump in your throat, your eyes start to burn and your lip starts to quiver; its uncomfortable. It feels much better just to let go and let the tears fall. Second, whenever I’m upset about something, crying is the ultimate healer. I get sad, I cry, I’m better. Simple as that! If I held back the crying, then I would never get over whatever upset me and would spend the rest of the day brewing over it. I feel like its much quicker and easier to just cry and then move on with life.

I’ve never been ashamed of my crying habit, in fact I am proud. So what if people think I’m a baby or embarrassing or whatever? I never hold a grudge. That’s because I let myself be upset and then get over it. There is nothing wrong with crying. Or teary days. I honestly believe that I am a happier person because of my crying.

So think what you want. What the heck, even comment. I don’t care. I’ll just cry about it and move on with my life 🙂

Until next time my friends,

xoxo Katie Lou

Frustrated

First, I have to apologize to those of you who actually read my blog. I haven’t written in over a week, I am pretty disappointed in myself. All week, I have been dealing with this sickness/injury/general pain. I work all day, and when I get home I’ve just been too tired to write. I have this condition called costochondritis, which is the inflammation of the chest wall and rib cage. It hurts really bad, the pain mimics that of a heart attack. The pain is worsened by deep breathing, exercise, eating, and just general moving. So it sucks. I mean it really sucks.
Its getting better everyday, and I’m happy I was well enough to leave for vacation, but it’s frustrating. Beyond just the everyday setbacks, it’s frustrating in another way for me as well. I think it’s about time I address my biggest passion, running.
I have been a competitive distance runner for five years now. I ran cross country and track throughout my four years in high school, and it meant everything to me. For those four years, I never took more than a day off. Everyday I went out and ran with all of my heart. For four years, I put all of my emotional being into that one thing. And I loved every second of it 🙂
Looking back, I’m really proud of my career. I definitely didn’t appreciate it at the time, and there are goals that I never accomplished. But as a whole, I really am proud of what I accomplished. My team won a cross country district title, I qualified for the state meet twice, and my PR was one of the top five times in school history.
That being said, there was still a lot I wanted to do outside of high school. Half way through my senior year, I was sidelined with a bad case of plantar fasciitis. For months I was in and out of a boot and crutches. It was sad to not be able to finish off my high school career, but I had my sights set on greater things: running at the University of South Carolina.
Well…. That didn’t really work out. At all. My plantar fasciitis never really got better, and between that and the pressure of being a NCAA athlete, it was just too much. In January I ended up quitting the team and decided to transfer to James Madison University, where I do not plan on competing. Since then, I have attempted to get back into running, on my own terms, but the plantar fasciitis always got in the way. I took a ton of time off just to let it heal, and honestly? Right now, it feels the best it has in two years. But then, the costochondritis came. And that means no physical activity until that clears up, which can take months 😦
So that’s why I’ve been frustrated. I miss running a whole lot. A lot of people think I’m crazy for being so obsessed with running, and I probably am. But running just has this effect on me, it’s makes me calm, inspired, and confident all at once. And as they say…

Running… Cheaper than therapy.

Haha, anyway I miss the feeling that I get from running. And lately, I just feel like I can’t catch a break, too many things keep getting in the way. I always kind of thought that running was my destiny, and maybe it still is, but that’s okay if it’s not too. The good thing is that these injuries (or whatever) have taught me a lot. There’s a lot more to life than running, and I’m good at a lot of other things. Plus, it’s never to good to invest too much of your being into a single thing.

Hopefully the costochondritis will clear up soon and I get back to running. Right now I’m more focused on being able to eat solid foods… My plan is to run a half marathon on November 16. If I’m not ready by then, well that’s okay. I’ve learned it’s important to just enjoy the ride 🙂

Until next time, which I promise will be much sooner! xoxo Katie