I'm finally able to race again! I completed my first running race, since my injury and surgery, on Saturday, May 14th. I was being hopeful when I registered for this race since I was only given the green light to start running again on March 30th. I didn't know how I would feel but since the race was only a mile from my house, I felt like I had to attend it even if I had to walk most of it.
My first training run after I got the release was a simple 2 minute walk, 1 minute run, 1 minute walk, 1 minute run, 1 minute walk, 1 minute run, 3 minute cool down. Three whole minutes of running. But let me tell you, I felt like I was going to die in those three minutes. My knee felt a little weird but my lungs felt like they were going to burst out of my chest. I checked my pulse and it was 180. I was amazed at how far my endurance had fallen. By the next week I had moved up to 6 minutes but my heart rate was still 180 and I continued to feel like I was on deaths door. Each week I increased my run length by a few minutes. On the Wednesday before the race, I was up to a 3 minute walk, 15 minute run, 2 minute walk, and 10 minute run.
On race morning, we drove to the race site since I didn't want to add any additional stress to my knee. We checked in and picked up our packets. The race was being held in the new planned community, Skye Canyon, located in the far NW valley of Las Vegas. Desert Sky Adventures was the company putting on the race. I had raced in a few of their runs before so even though this race was an inaugural event, it wasn't the companies first race.
The morning was perfect, sunny with a tiny breeze. I made my way through the waiting racers and talked to some friends who were also racing. I have really missed the social aspect while I was sidelined.
As the start time approached, I made my way over to my husband (who was racing the 8K road/trail race) and waited with him. He has been such an important part of my recovery and he has been there for me through it all. So I was glad to be starting my first race back by his side. We listened to the National Anthem, gave each other a few words of encouragement and a then a kiss. That seems to be our pre-race ritual.
Then we were off! The 8K and the 5K stayed together until just before the 5K finish. I only saw my husband for the first 100 yards or so before he left me in the dust. The race took us through three neighborhoods under construction. Later, I heard other racers talking about looking at the houses and commenting on their size. Honestly, I don't think I looked up more than a few times during the race. I was so focused on my form, foot placement, posture, and foot strike that I pretty much stared at the pavement the entire race.
I had a running schedule to follow given to me by my coach. I was to run for 15-20 minutes, walk 1-2 minutes and then run for 10-15 minutes. It was based on time but my Garmin wasn't showing me the information I needed to determine that. Luckily, I saw someone I knew that was running beside me and was able to ask her the time. I ran for 20 minutes, walked for 2 minutes and then ran the rest of the race. The race was hillier than I expected and the sun was really intense but I told myself to suck it up and run. I finished with a time of 34:27. I was so happy with that time! It was nowhere near what I was running last year but way better than most people expected me to be doing less then 5 months after surgery.
This has been a slow journey. It has been more of a mental struggle than a physical struggle. I had to be patient and follow my doctor, physical therapist and coach's advise to the letter. I had a few small setbacks but for the most part have had a great recovery. I am so happy to be on my way back into racing!