Sunday, April 27, 2014

Racing Recap: Valley Forge Revolutionary Run

After running two half marathons this spring, I was a bit thrown off guard running the Rev Run today at Valley Forge National Historic Park. I have been having some trouble over the past week or so with shinsplints. I have pretty much figured out that these are due to tight calf muscles, so I have been spending time with my lovely foam roller. (Yes, "lovely" was sarcastic.) Heading out for this race was tricky for me from the beginning, so I am just going to break this review down into Pros, Cons, and Racing Edition Runner's Rambles.

I got to run a race in a National Park "with" one of my friends, Mark, and his awesome wife and super adorable son cheered us on. My boss Terry did his run in the park today running in the opposite direction, so I got a little bit of on-course cheering as well. I almost stopped to stretch and walk a little more than really necessary, but seeing Terry coming toward me made me keep running. Thanks, Terry! The Fast Tracks running club had a high-energy and peppy water stop at the half way mark. There was also quite a spread at the post-race tent. And lastly, at this particular time, it was nice to just have a five miler.

Did you see what I did there with the quotation marks in the first line of the second paragraph? Mark is way faster than me.... So I need to get myself in gear and really start training and working on speed if I am going to keep up with Mark at the NYC Marathon this fall. This course was seriously hilly. Why don't I learn to check these things before I sign up for THREE hilly races in one season? It was only five miles, so I was thrown off due to getting to mile four before I realized I was almost done instead of just starting, so at that point, I realized that I should have just pushed harder. We'll come back to this point in Rambles! And the post-race was packed with stuff, but hard to navigate to find anything. I kept SEEING people with bagels, but it took me nearly ten minutes to FIND the bagels. There were lots of people, and everything was packed into some fairly small tents. 

One of my co-workers always asks me the same question every time I start whining... I whine a lot, which I think everyone has figured out by now. "Are you feeling discomfort or pain?" You see, discomfort is not the same as pain. My brother would say that pain is a good thing. Joe is one of those "No pain, no gain!" kind of people. I would say that's from being in the military, but he has been that way since we were kids. I am not that kind of person, thus the whining. 
But discomfort, that's a different story, and I didn't realize that until I was running today. And unfortunately, I didn't figure that out until mile four. You see, an oyster creates a pearl because a foreign object creates discomfort, and it begins coating the object with a substance that creates the beautiful pearl. Pain though, pain is the body's signal that something is wrong. Pain is not good, but discomfort can be. It can push us to make pearls out of problems. Did I really need to stop three times to stretch today? Eh, probably not, but better safe than sorry for now. But now I know that I need to pay closer attention to my body to figure out if it is in pain or just uncomfortable. It's time for this runner to start creating some pearls!

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