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Meb Monday

For anyone who lives in the Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, Greensboro, Roxboro, Wilmington, Southern Pines, or any other part of North Carolina, area, please note that Monday is Meb Monday. Meb Keflezighi, winner of the 2014 Boston Marathon, will be at Runologie, to promote the 2015 Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon & Half Marathon as well as to lead a fun run through the city. And I’m pretty sure it’s the biggest thing to happen to our running community since… well I don’t know when.

The event is scheduled to start at 6:00 pm but it’s probably a good idea to get to Runologie as soon as you can. For parking, you can park along the street after 5:00 pm or there is also the Powerhouse Parking Deck, located at 513 W Jones Street, in case you can’t find a spot. Meb is scheduled to give a talk around 6:00 pm and then he will start the group run. There will be several different pace groups, ranging from 8:00 min/mile to 12:00 min/mile and there will be two leaders with each group. After the run, there will be pizza from Trophy Brewing Company (which in case you didn’t know, was voted best pizza in NC) and beer from State of Beer. And of course, the store will be open for you to purchase all of your awesome Runologie gear. What better want to start the week?

This really is a huge event for both Raleigh and the running community. Meb is such an awesome person and we are so fortunate to have him coming to our store. If you live anywhere within driving distance of Raleigh, you really don’t want to miss this. I mean how often can you say that you’ve ran with the winner of the Boston Marathon?

Hope to see you on Monday!

Happy Trails and Happy Running,
Tracie

My Obsession

This morning I came back from my workout and was informed that I had an obsession with running. Now I know that I love running, but when put in terms of “obsession”, it sounds like it’s a bad thing. Obsession can be defined as the “domination of one’s thoughts or feelings by a persistent idea, image, desire, etc.” Ok, yes I admit, I think about running a lot and now that I’m working at Runologie, I talk a lot about running too. But I don’t know if I would say I’m obsessed with running by the dictionary definition. I do think about other things. For example, the food I’m going to eat after a run, the clothes I’ll need to keep me warm during a cold run, and even the schools around the Raleigh area (with tracks open to the public). So obsessed? Ok, maybe.

The more I got to thinking about it, the more I began to realize that even if I am obsessed with running, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. As human beings, don’t we all have our quirks? Work, money, clothes, tv shows, books, cooking, shopping, fast cars, music, video games, etc. We all have these things that preoccupy a lot of our thoughts, and more than likely, you don’t view your “thing” as a bad thing. It’s just what you love to do. However, some people may call it an obsession. But really, who are we to judge?

I love running. It makes my heart happy. It is not the only thing my life is about, but it is a big part of my life. Yes, it has caused me more physical pain than probably anything else ever has, but I call that an obstacle, not an end. Did the chef with tongue cancer give up cooking? No. Instead, he opened up one of the top restaurants in the world, Alinea. It’s probably fair to say that he’s obsessed with cooking. And that’s ok. Did Meb Keflezighi let a hip fracture put an end to his running career? No. He cross trained like crazy and then came back to win the 2009 New York City Marathon. And the obvious one… Did Steve Jobs let getting fired from his own company stop him? Nope. He came back to change the technology world as we know it today.

I think it’s fair to say that all of these individuals had an obsession with their respective careers, which isn’t a bad thing. And although I may not be changing lives or the world with my running, that doesn’t make my obsession bad. It’s just what I love to do. So if anybody ever says you’re crazy for running a marathon, or waking up at 5:00 am to get in a quick run, or perhaps running through a pregnancy, it’s okay. Everybody has their thing, and yours just happens to be running. Enjoy it!

Happy Trails and Happy Running,
Tracie

Meb is Coming to Runologie!!!

The running world is full of inspiring, motivational, and loving people. Runners have such a positive vibe and we are all moved by one another. However, there is one runner in particular who holds a special place in all of our hearts and that runner is Meb Keflezighi. Winner of the 2014 Boston Marathon and 2009 New York Marathon, 4th place finisher at the 2012 Olympics, and silver medalist in the 2004 Olympics… Meb is not only a phenomenal runner but he is also an incredible human being. And guess what!?!?!? He’s coming to Runologie!!!

On January 26th, Meb Keflezighi will be in Raleigh, NC to promote the Rock ‘n’ Roll Raleigh marathon. We, Runologie, are the fortunate people who get to have Meb at our store, leading a group run through downtown. When I first heard this may be a possibility, it was almost impossible to contain my excitement. If you’ve ever watched Meb at any race or in any interview, you would know that he is not only one really fast runner, but he is also one of the most gracious, humble, and kindest individuals out there.  And if you saw him win the 2014 Boston Marathon, you may have shed a tear or two as he embraced his wife right after crossing the finish line in a personal best time of 2:08:37. (I did, at least.)

For me, Meb is not only an incredible runner, but he is also a personal inspiration. Back in 2008, Meb suffered from a fractured hip and it was doubtful that he would ever run again. He could barely walk, let alone run, and there were times he couldn’t even roll over in bed. Just18 months later, he came back to win the New York City Marathon, and that is an incredible feat for a runner with a fractured hip.

There were times after my hip surgery, when I questioned whether or not I would ever be able to run again. When you’ve got screws and a rod holding your hip together, it’s hard to even think about getting back out on the road. Then there were those first runs, when it was painful, slow, and almost impossible. Once or twice I even considered giving up running altogether. But then there was Meb. A runner who had suffered a similar injury. A runner who despite the odds, came back to exceed everyone’s expectations. And a runner who won the same race that lead to my most devastating injury. For me, Meb offered motivation when I needed it most. I’m just an average runner trying  to do my running thing. Meb is an Olympian who had way bigger hurdles to cross. There were times during those first few runs when I really struggled, but then I summoned my inner Meb and kept going. And now, in just two weeks, I get to meet him!!

If you’re in the Raleigh area, come out and join us for the group run. Meb will be here on January 26th at 6:00pm and after the run, we will have pizza and beer from Trophy. Check out the Facebook event page here and RSVP if you’ll be joining us. It’s going to be a GREAT time!!

Happy Trails and Happy Running,
Tracie

Runologie – My New Favorite Place!

A little over a week ago, I started working at Runologie, Raleigh’s newest downtown running store. To sum up my experience thus far, I would say the following… I LOVE IT! It’s a runner’s paradise and there is no job better than the one that allows you to talk and learn about running. All. Day. Long. It’s fantastic.

What makes working at Runologie so awesome? First and foremost, the people. The two lovely ladies who I am working for are also two super fast marathoners and two very awesome people. Laura, who I ironically first met over two years on the DNF bus in Boston (we both had really bad days), and Kimberlie, who has been a running inspiration of mine for years, have worked relentlessly to make Runologie a fun, welcoming, and unique experience. And I couldn’t be happier to be a part of their team. Add to that my lovely coworkers, all great runners who I can learn from, and work life is great.

Along with awesome coworkers, the customers make working at Runologie very special. Many of the people who walk through our doors, do so because they want to shop local and they’ve been watching the store’s progress over the last few months. The customers want to learn about our niche brands, check out the Holly Aiken Runner Girl bags, and learn about our group runs. It’s such a positive, lively atmosphere and the people really make this place.

Apparel

Some of our apparel

Then of course there are the reps… I love meeting with the reps! Since we are a new store, we’ve had reps coming in every few days and I’ve learned so much. There is no better way to learn about the shoes than talking to the people who sell them. I’ve worked in running stores before but never have I’ve had the opportunity to learn so much about the shoes, test them all out, and form relationships with the reps. Most of the reps are even coming back early next year to do demo runs, which will give everyone a chance to try their shoes. Hokas and mimosas, anyone? We’re planning for that in January and I can’t wait!! (Even if I can’t enjoy the mimosas, at least I can be bartender. Maybe we can do the event again in the spring after the baby is born. :P)

Finally, our  brands. We carry the smaller, niche brands and my experience with them has been overwhelming positive. I think because these brands are smaller and are competing the more well known brands, they work incredibly hard to provide a high quality product. I can’t even count the number of compliments I’ve received on my Oiselle top or the people asking about my bright pink Salming shoes. It’s really cool to be a part of something different.

Shoes

Our Shoe Cloud

Last year this time I was teaching. I loved teaching and I loved my students. However, working in public education in North Carolina isn’t for me. Now I’m working in a store that does all things that I love. I’m even planning to do something running related with the middle school right beside us. It’s the best of both worlds and the fact that it’s only three blocks away from my house, is an added bonus. From quitting my job to a nearly broken hip and babies, 2014 has been a learning year. I think 2015 is going to be fantastic!!

Happy Trails and Happy Running,
Tracie

(PS: Did I mention there was a bottle shop next door with amazing food that just opened? Yea, I know… awesome.)

Running and Pregnancy

Running while pregnant is certainly not the same as running while not pregnant. In fact, for first time moms like myself, there may even be a very steep learning curve. And can we just take a minute to bow down to all those women who continue walking/running/wogging/working out while pregnant? It’s not easy, that’s for sure.

First off, pace. I’ve learned very quickly that you must check your ego at the door and realize your body is not the same as it was before. A woman’s heart is working 40-50% harder during pregnancy and then if you add running on top of that, things are bound to slow down. Add to that extra weight, achy joints, and overall tiredness and you’re really going to add some minutes to those miles. Perhaps that is why so many women are so much faster after they have children. Their hearts are stronger, their bodies are stronger, and their determination is stronger than ever. But before those post pregnancy runs arrive, you must be okay with being slower. There’s isn’t really any way around it.

Second, clothing. As your body changes, so too does your ability to fit into those tiny running shorts or tight little running capris from lululemon. And sports bras? Yeah, those too are going to get a little snugger. But word to the wise… Target sports bras are NOT even close to the same as Nike, lulu, or Athleta. Last week I decided if I needed a bigger bra, it was better to get on from Target than to spend $60+ on a good one that I might not be wearing a year from now. One workout later and I can promise you it would have been worth the extra money. Maybe my skin is super sensitive, but that sports bra was harsh! Lesson learned.

Along with sports bras, pants may be another struggle. I absolutely loathe tight clothing. I always have and probably always will. The thought of a pair of pants digging into my belly makes me cringe. The solution? Pull them way up over my belly. I have one word for this new fashion statement: awkward. To solve this problem I purchased a pair of maternity running capris. They are the ones with the material that will practically cover your entire belly and chest completely. One run in those pants and I can tell you that if your belly isn’t big enough, the extra material and everything else is going to slide right down to your butt. (I cut that run short, by the way.) Luckily shirts have been the one thing that haven’t caused me any uncomfortable wardrobe moments. A plus!

Third, the bathroom. People tell you when you get pregnant, that you’ll have to go to the bathroom all the time. But I don’t think I fully understood the extent of this situation until the 16 week point. How is it possible to go to the bathroom, leave the bathroom, start running and two minutes later feel like you have to go again? I’m not sure, but it happens. And the only way I know how to fix the problem is to embrace the treadmill or plan my routes very strategically. Unfortunately, I think my days of running out at the Tobacco Trail have come to an end, especially since the leaves have fallen and it’s impossible to hide behind a tree without someone seeing you. Oh, I do love you Baby T-Rod. :)

Finally, the need to have control. Some days are going to be great runs and some days your body isn’t going to want to run 1/2 mile. That’s okay, and it’s what your body needs at that moment. I’m not training for anything right now and I’ve come to realize it’s all about perspective. From the end of April 2014 to the end of April 2015, I will not run one single track workout, complete one run over 13 miles, or even think about signing up for a race (unless it’s for fun). But I’ve come to accept that because I know that it is only for one year in my very long running career. I plan to have at least 30 more years ahead of me. I can give my body a break for 365 days and just enjoy running, for the sake of running. I call this my reboot year.

I’m only at the 18 week point and hope to continue running into the third trimester. Of course, I realize by that point I’m really going to slow down and I’ll probably be walking more than running. However, at this point, being pregnant and 7 months post titanium rod, I’m more than grateful to simply be running.

Happy Trails and Happy Running,
Tracie

A Hip Routine Named Myrtl

One of the advantages of living in the same building as 2:50 and faster marathoners is…. knowledge. Lots and lots of knowledge. And lucky for me, they like sharing their runner wisdom with those of us who are less competitive. Enter my new 10 minute hip routine.

It is a well known fact that I am prone to injuries, perhaps more so than others. In fact, I’d say 99% of my injuries are a result of something being wrong with my hips. I have no idea what I did in my life to get such finicky hips, but whatever it was, it has plagued me for many years. Well it turns out that I’m not the only runner in this world who has suffered a myriad of injuries due to weak hips. Super fast marathoner/neighbor #1 has too, and he shared with me one of the ways he has gotten past the injuries. The Myrtl routine, named so because it rhymes with girdle (and girdle = hips).

From what I remember of the story, there was a cross country team (I’m not sure where, maybe Oregon?), that always had stellar performances at the beginning of the season, but by the time competition rolled around, most of the team had some sort of injury. Well one running coach decided to tackle the problem, and he developed the Myrtl routine. It’s a very simple hip strengthening routine that can be done before or after a run, although I think after is preferred. The routine is so simple that when I first saw the video, I thought I was watching the wrong Myrtl routine. Five to eight repetitions of each exercise on each leg? How helpful could this really be?

When I wasn’t running for most of the month of October, I completely forgot about the 12 simple exercises. Then this past Friday, as I was finishing up an easy run, super fast marathoner #1 came upstairs to the gym after his run and immediately started doing the Myrtl routine. Ok, ok. Maybe I should be a little more proactive about injury prevention. So ever since my run on Friday, I’ve been doing my Myrtl routine, and I take back anything I ever said about it being ineffective or too easy. In fact, doing those 12 exercises after my run, actually make my hips a little sore and it does get a little difficult towards the end. Perhaps that has something to do with my tight hips or my titanium rod and two screws, but who knows? From what I’ve read, it’s actually quite the effective routine and I plan to keep it a part of my running ritual.

You can watch a video here explaining each exercise or there is a PDF here. I printed out the PDF and keep it near my yoga mat. It serves as a good reminder.

Happy Trails and Happy Running,

Tracie

Running/Baby Update: Running continues to be a mental and physical battle for me right now. After my morning runs, I always feel so achy. Therefore, tomorrow I’m going for a prenatal massage to hopefully help the blood flow. Baby T-Rod is almost 17 weeks!

I Ran Long

This past Saturday, I ran long. Not long as in 15+ miles long, but long as in my new definition of long. Saturday morning I successfully ran 8 miles, my longest run since surgery, and it sucked. But was great, all at the same time.

Due to my paranoia about running on slanted sidewalks right now, I’m keeping most of my runs indoors. For all the miles that I run, I stare at a blank wall about 4 feet in front of me. (I’m working on my mental fortitude.) Before I headed upstairs Saturday morning to stare at this blank wall, I decided to meditate. I’m horrible about meditating on my own so I prefer to listen to a guided meditation. The meditation that I chose to listen to Saturday morning was about gratitude, and I thought it would be the perfect way to start the morning. During those 15 minutes, I practiced gratitude for many people, but I also made a point to be grateful for running. Right now I have a love/hate relationship with running. I love it because I love running and have for many years. I hate it because right now it is hard! My legs ache, my hips are stiff, and I can’t run as fast as I once could. But on Saturday morning, I took time to be thankful for this sport, no matter how easy it once was or how hard it has now become. I do still love it.

Eight miles on a treadmill used to be nothing, especially at an easy pace. Now it is a mental and physical battle to watch the miles go by, while staring at a slightly too close white wall. I decided to break my run up into 2-4 mile segments. Run the first 4 miles in my new pair of Zoots (thanks to the awesome new running store, Runologie, opening up next month), and the last 4 miles in my Brooks. The first four miles went by ok but then I thought to myself, how the hell am I going to make it 4 more miles? Thankfully, I had a few ideas to help me along the way. First, cover up the numbers on the display. Nothing makes a run seem like an eternity than watching the numbers slowly tick by. Second, play bad ass music kinda loud. (Thank you Eminem and Maroon 5 for helping me along.) And third, practice gratitude. Like I mentioned, I have a love/hate relationship with running right now. But as hard as running is for me, I still love it. I took the time during those last 4 miles to just be thankful that I was able to run at all. Fast, slow, easy, hard – it doesn’t matter. I was still doing the one thing that has made me feel “me” for so long and for that, I was thankful.

As I’ve started to run more miles and longer distances these past few weeks, I’ve come to realize something. Once again in my life, I am a newbie runner. If you had asked me 8 months ago about running being easy or hard, I would have declared easy! And then tried to understand why it is some people don’t like running. For so long, I’ve taken running for granted and thought it was something that just came easily to me. I forgot what it was long to be a new runner. Now I am reminded of just how difficult it can be, and it gives me a deep understanding and respect for those just starting out on their own running journey. If I could offer one piece of advice to those just starting out, it would be perserverance. It is the one thing that is helping me through all of this.

Two Saturdays ago when I was out for my first 7 mile run, the last 3.5 miles were so hard. I wanted to stop. I wanted to walk. I wondered if I was ever going to make it back to my car. Then I started thinking about my husband, who has a mental fortitude like no one I have ever known. (For example, he ran 35 of the 200 miles in relay event a month ago, with only having a few long runs of 8 miles and a weekly mileage topping out at 12.) I remember he told me a few weeks ago Once I make my mind up to do something, I just do it. That’s what it’s going to take to get me back. A decision to just keep going, no matter how difficult, how slow, or how uncomfortable. In the end, that is what is going to make the difference for me – a new level of mental toughness and a new willingness to just keep going, no matter the obstacle.

Happy Trails and Happy Running,

Tracie

Baby Update: I’m a little over 16 weeks and feeling good. We had a doc appointment on Tuesday and all went well. We find out if it’s a boy or girl on December 9th, but I’m not telling anyone until Christmas. Sorry Mom, Dad, and Toni. :)

My first 7 mile run

8 miles on the treadmill

Letting Go (And a Poem)

Have I ever mentioned that a couple of elite runners live in my building? I may or may not have stalked them out. Just kidding. They are actully friends of ours and I feel like I know a few local running celebrities. Anyway, as I was heading out for my run yesterday morning, I saw the elite runner husband finishing up his run and we stopped and chatted for a bit. He asked how my running was going and I replied with the this is not my year for running, I’m so slow, I’m just trying to get back into it lament. We then briefly talked about the benefits of having those easy days and non-timed runs. It gave me something to think about as I headed out for my first 6 miles in over a month.

Ask anyone who knows me and they will tell you I’m the worst at easy days and forget leaving the Garmin at home. But you see, I’m at a different stage in my life right now. I have two major things I’m trying to work through…. a recovering hip and pregnancy. I’m not the same as I was in March and I need to stop trying to run like I’m the same. As I turned around at the 3 mile mark, I decided to not look at my watch for the last 3 miles. (It would have been much easier just to turn the darn thing off.) How did that work out, you ask? Horribly. I didn’t make it ½ mile before I was checking my time. What the heck is wrong with me?!?! It’s like I’m an addict and by putting pressure on myself, I’m starting to take the joy away from the sport I love so dearly. Nobody said I had to work my ass off every single day. I think it’s actually okay to take time and enjoy myself and what I’m doing. And what if I don’t want to wake up at 5:20 am every morning just to be at the gym when they open at 6:00? I think that’s okay too.

All of this got me thinking about a poem I wrote a few weeks ago. Of course, it’s a poem about running and the baby, too! I think I need to continue to remind myself that for long I’ve been so selfish with my running. It’s time to let go and just give myself a breather. Here is what I wrote…

 

Only six short months ago,

I lay broken and weary in a hospital bed.

Running as I knew it,

had become a sad and distant memory.

And the identity that I worked so many years to create,

would never again, be just the same.

But you see, life is funny and the Universe unyielding.

For only six short months ago,

I knew not what lay ahead.

 

Just two short months ago,

I had a plan.

Boston 2015, it would be my day.

I told the world my dreams.

Blogged about it. Talked about it. And even journaled about it.

And as I write this silly little poem,

right at this very moment,

I have realized my one profund error.

I was being selfish.

And have been selfish for many, many years.

 

The Universe, oh I do love the Universe.

You tell her your plan,

and she’ll show you her’s.

Running has ruled my life,

for far too many years.

Who I believe I am as a person,

somehow centered around miles, paces, and races.

And at first, I thought a nearly broken hip

might change my view of who exactly I am.

But with my first 6 mile run,

I was back to where I started.

Assessing my worth,

with every mile that I ran.

 

So with my announcement to run Boston,

and a dangerous cycle starting again,

the Universe said, “No, not yet.

You have not learned your lesson.”

And with my decree,

after I told the world my plans,

I learned the difference between selfishness and selflessness.

For my life is no longer about me and my running,

Instead, it’s now something bigger and something better.

My life is about growing and nurturing,

a tiny little life,

our tiny little baby..

 

A year is so long,

but yet so very short.

In only 365 short, long days,

My life will go

from a nearly broken hip,

to my new role as a mom.

And to add to my story,

I will yet again be in the same hospital,

presumably one year to the day,

where I had the surgery,

that changed the one sport and the one identity,

that I thought was actually me.

 

2014, you have taught me so much

2015, I am open to the new adventures.

(and the pic is baby at 12, 13, and 14 weeks.)

Happy Trails and Happy Running,

Tracie

Six Months Post Surgery and a Big Announcement

It’s been months since I’ve written, and I have a good reason. I promise. You see, in my last post I declared to myself and to the world that I would once again be at the starting line of the Boston Marathon. I would train smart, take care of my hip, and have my day of redemption come April 2015. After I hit publish, I was stoked. It was going to be my ultimate comeback story.

But, as life would have it, I learned the very next day that my day in Boston would have to wait. In fact, it’s probably going to have to wait a few years. And I’m totally okay with that because there is something bigger and better in my future than that finish line on Boylston Street. Instead of running the 26.2 miles through Boston in April, Mario and I will anxiously be awaiting to meet the newest member of our family, Baby Rodriguez (or as we like to call it, Baby T-Rod).

The day after I announced to the world I would be running Boston once again, was the day I found out I was pregnant. We always said we wanted kids after Boston 2014. Somehow I always let running take over my life and I thought crossing that finish line this past April would be the perfect time to take a break. One nearly broken hip later, and I wanted one more shot at that race. Well, the Universe has her ways, and I’m glad she does. On May 2, 2015, almost one year to the day since my hip surgery, I will take on a new role. My role as a mom. (I would also like to add that May 2nd is my birthday and if the little one is actually born on that day, it’ll make two years in a row that I’ve been in the same hospital on my birthday.)

So how has life been since we found out our family of two is growing to three, while at the same time trying to get back into running? Hard, let’s just say that. Both mentally and physically.

First and foremost, you know that whole 1st trimester, feel like crap, only want to sleep thing? Well that is very real. Forget having any green smoothies or superfoods. Carbs, french fries, and potato chips were my go to food of choice. Granted, I did always start the morning out with a healthy breakfast to negate what I would be consuming later. I just don’t think it ever balanced out like that I had planned. My nutrition was headed back to my high school days, but thankfully, 14 weeks in and I once again love my green smoothies.

Second, a lot of people know me as some crazy workout person. I’m not really sure where that comes from, but I think running to the point of having a nearly broken hip had something to do with it. Anyhow, I was determined to not let pregnancy slow me down. Wake up, workout, run, and do my thing. But I had two forces pulling me in completely opposite directions. One said to give my body a break, slow down, stop trying so hard. The other said, heck, you’re just now getting back to running. Try harder! (Maybe I am that crazy person after all?) Well let me just say that was not, nor has not, been easy mentally. I will never forget the day I went for my first 6.5 mile run. I’m fairly certain I slept for the next 4 hours on the couch and then went to bed at 8:00 pm. My body is not the same body it was at the beginning of this year, and it won’t be for many months to come.

13 Weeks

13 Weeks

Yesterday actually marked 6 months since my hip surgery. I remember right before going into surgery, my doc said it would be 6 months to a year before I could run again. At the time, that seemed so far away but yet, here I am. Running for two. 2014 has been a crazy year, full of learning experiences. I left my job, worked to start my own business and figure out this thing we call life, had an injury that took away the one thing that makes me feel the most “me”, and now we’re having a baby. Talk about change! I’m not sure I would have ever envisioned all of this 10 months ago, but it has helped me to realize that nothing stays the same. And six months from today, things will be even more different. I’m curious to see what 2015 has in store.

On a side note, however, I have picked out my two next long distance races. (You can’t take crazy out of the runner.) The City of Oaks Half Marathon in November 2015 and the Tobacco Road Marathon in 2016. If all goes well, that’ll put Boston on the calendar for 2017. And then, I’ll have the best little cheerleader around. :)

Happy Trails and Happy Running,

Tracie

My Return to Running

Running has been a part of who I am for so long that I’ve forgotten how hard it was when I first started out, 13+ years ago. As I have made my way back outdoors, almost 5 months post surgery, I have just assumed that the miles would come back easily. My hip no longer bothers me and for some reason, I just thought my speed and distance would still be there. I am very, very wrong.

My first run outside was the first week in September. We were in Miami and since there was no treadmill, I knew it was time to take my running to the road. It was hard. Like really hard. My pace was around 10:00 min/mile and I couldn’t get my legs to turnover any faster. Not to mention the Miami humidity wasn’t helping. I made it 4 miles and I couldn’t believe how “far” that felt. My legs felt rusty and it was almost like I was having to learn how to run all over again. To say I was feeling frustrated would be an understatement.

When we finally made it back to Raleigh, I started trying out some of my old running routes. I went out to the greenway, ran along Hillsborough Street, but no matter how fast I felt like I was running, my pace was always around 8:45 – 9:15 min/mile. That’s about one minute slower than my previous average easy pace, and yet it was still an effort to run that. I thought I had done a decent job of keeping up my cardiovascular fitness, but I underestimated what four months off from running can do to the body.

This morning I decided to head out to the Tobacco Trail. The Tobacco Trail is where I always did my Saturday long runs, and I’ve really missed being out there. It really is one of my favorite places to run. I told myself I would run anywhere from 6-7 miles, depending on how I felt. When I think about my old running self, that seems so short and like an “easy” run. Well I have quickly learned that it does no good to think in terms of my old running self. That is not who I am or where I am right now. I managed to make it 6.5 miles and then walked .5 miles, mainly because my stomach wasn’t feeling so great. My average pace was 9:09 and my legs and arms are actually quite sore from the run. Oh how things change.

Even though I’m slower than I once was and can’t run quite as far as I once did, being outside at the Tobacco Trail this morning made me really happy. It was so nice to be outdoors with the all of the other runners, and I got to see some running friends out there who I haven’t seen in quite a while. And even though I feel like I ran 15 miles instead of 6.5, I realize how much I’ve missed that feeling. I’ve missed the Saturday morning running routine, the post run turkey burger at out favorite restaurant, and the nap that always followed.

My doctor told me it would be six months to a year before I could run again. Today marks 4 months and 19 days. Sure, I’m only up to running 6.5 miles at a pace that I’m not quite accustomed to. But that’s okay. I’m not the runner I was earlier this year but that doesn’t mean that runner (or a better one) isn’t in my future. Today I think I finally internalized what a long process all of this is going to be. It makes me appreciate running much more than I ever have before.

I look forward to what the future has in store.

Happy Trails and Happy Running,
Tracie

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