April 21, 2015 | Leave a comment As I sit here to write this post I think it is only appropriate to start with the truth. That 9.3 mile race was one of the hardest things I have ever, EVER, done outside of childbirth. I had trained strategically for this race, I had built up my miles slowly to prevent injury…BUT the Sunday before the race. 6 days to go when I was doing my final high miles day (8 to be exact), I did something to my knee. We are suffering here in South Dakota with our spring windy weather. Last Sunday was no different. My running buddy and I thought we were so smart. Her hubby drove us 8 miles south and dropped us off in the middle of nowhere on a country gravel road and we were going to run home. Well, about 2 miles into our run, the wind changed directions. Not cool South Dakota wind, really, like running 8 miles wasn’t hard enough on a gravel road in the middle of nowhere with the smell of cow manure filling our nostrils. I knew that something was wrong when my knee didn’t go numb. I always have a little pain in my knee when I run, but this pain wasn’t going away. But we changed directions with the wind and kept running. I found out early in the week that my fat pad on the back of my knee and my MCL were both inflamed. So I got all taped up, iced like a maniac, rested my knee and acted like a baby all week leading up to the race. The morning of the race I took 3 ibuprofen, laced up my shoes, smiled for the camera and said a lot of prayers. I didn’t really care how fast I ran, I just wanted to run. I didn’t want to walk. Looking back I realize now that it really is okay to walk through the water stops, water is important. But I was so afraid that if I walked, even if only for a minute to drink water, I might now run again. So I didn’t stop. My amazing running partner, stayed with me at my 10:15/mile pace. I kept my eyes on the road ahead and kept counting down the mile markers. Our husbands were at the 5K mark cheering us on. We hit 10K and I knew we only had 5K to go….3.1 miles. I knew I could do it, I had to do it. My knee pain was numb, the weather was almost perfect, my lungs were not burning too bad. And then we hit mile 7. Only 2 miles to go and my body started to scream at me. My hips started to burn with every step, but I was not going to stop. We got to mile 8 and I was starting to slow down. My friend still had WAY more gas than I did so she sped ahead. At this point it was just about getting to the finish line. Between mile 8-9 there were a couple of brutal hills (well in my mind anyway) but I kept plugging along at my slowest pace of 11:01. My slowest mile of the race. It felt like a 20 minute/mile pace. Then I saw my hubby near the finish line, smiling and cheering me on. I saw the finish line and I knew I was almost there. I finished the race. I didn’t walk. I survived. It is 2 days later and I am still awfully sore, but I did it. I am planning a little rest from the higher mile days. I am looking forward to 2-3 miles just for fun without a specific race/training plan. I am sure before long, I will get antsy and sign up for another race. Maybe just a 5K or 10K, but I know that wasn’t my last race. One of my runner girlfriends told me that I needed to change the name of my blog posts because I can’t say I am a wannabe runner anymore. I am a runner. Honestly, I didn’t know if I would ever be able to say that, but I kinda like the sound of that. I am not sure what is next, but I know there will be a next race. In fact, I think there will be many more.