There are lots of things that this title could mean to me at this point. After the Coach Cole Memorial Race, I ran a duathlon in Sanford where I ran a PR by 2:30, and still got beat! After that race, I knew something was definitely wrong with my leg so I finally caved and went to have an x-ray. That led to an MRI where it was determined I had a tibia stress fracture. Number 4 in the right leg. I ended up completely shutting the running down for 4 weeks. This also meant that I would no longer be pacing the 3:10 group in Chicago for Nike.
I made the call to Paul, my contact at Nike to let him know about my stress fracture and we both agreed there was not enough time for me to be ready for Chicago. I also told him that I was going to start running fairly soon and he offered me the opportunity to run with a Charity Team. I agreed but didn't know exactly what this would entail. Come to find out, I would be a part of a Charity relay with 13 people, each with an amazing story and raising funds for great causes, 2 ladies running as pacers for the full marathon for our team, 2 other escorts in addition to myself and then 3 US Women's Soccer players, Hope Solo, Abby Wambach and Alex Morgan. My job as an escort, go anywhere Hope went for the day. What a rough job! I had a great time with the entire team and the event was a lot of fun but, honestly, I really wished I was running with the 3:10 pace group, a job that fell squarely on the shoulders of my buddy, Kris James, who I travelled to Chicago with. He was spot on and was within 1 minute, on the good side of getting his team to their 3:10 goal. It was great to see him finish! I also got to see Lanni and Adam before the race started, shook Ryan Hall's hand pre-race, see Jackie run her Olympic Trials qualifier, Scott run his new PR and celebrate as soon as he finished, and see Rich clip another marathon in the 2:40's. It was awesome!
2 days prior to leaving for Chicago, I started in a new shoe that was part of a trial. BIG MISTAKE. I ran 6 miles each of the 2 days prior. I then ran another 6 on the Tuesday when I returned. Each time, my right heel/achilles hurt worse than the time prior. Needless to say, the shoes went back and I opted out of the trial. I have been dealing with the pain even since.
Last weekend, I went out to run Sunday Service with James and Jeff. Things were clipping along just fine until James started to press the pace at about 9 miles. He put 30 seconds on Jeff and I pretty easy. At 11 miles, I told Jeff I was going to try and run him down. I dropped a 6:38 but gained no time and my heel was killing. I backed off the pace, watched Jeff go by and I dragged my carcas in. 3 days off to follow.
This week was started on Thursday when I felt pretty good. We hopped on the treadmill and I was able to stay on my midfoot for the 5 miles. Felt really good during but was pretty sore after. Friday, a 6 miler at about 7:17 pace, nice and easy. I took Saturday off in preparation for our Sunday Service. James and I started out with the expectation to roll 14 comfortable miles. We went through the first mile at 6:31, looked at each other and laughed. We talked about backing it down because surely, I can't handle this pace. Last weekend, I couldn't run a single mile that fast. Mile 2, 6:36. Guess we are going to just see how it goes. We went through 7 at 45:36 and I was feeling pretty good. So was James. Mile 8 and I felt like we were bleeding time. My quads were tightening and I was pretty sure the blow up was about to begin. 6:23! We actually got faster. We went through mile 9 and James reminded me that was where he pulled away, in a way meant to motivate me. By mile 10, the quads felt great and I was ready to roll. We ended up going through 13.1 under 1:25 and averaged 6:29 pace. James and I both walked away with a lot of confidence.
I am hoping that I am starting to turn the corner. The stress fracture gave me no pain and the heel/achilles was very minor. We will see what tomorrow brings. I still have 2 races to run for Marathon Bar this year. One will be Rock n' Roll Vegas so I will probably hit a local race in mid-November to get back into the swing of things. Here is to hoping the injuries are behind me.