Wild + Free

>> Friday, June 26, 2015

My trip back home was really great last week. I saw a bunch of people I wanted to see. I ate a lot of my favorite hometown foods. I woke up and took long walks around town. I ran on my favorite roads. And I always make time to stop out and soak in the country views:

(BTW: These photos are from Father’s Day. Full disclosure: Ada had a huge meltdown at the canyon! Eeeeek. That wasn’t so much fun. So, we took her to a nearby creek. I can’t wait to head back there sometime later in the summer, hopefully with a tent.)

I forgot to give you guys a quick 10K recap. Now, I don’t have much proof that I actually did run in the race. By now I feel like I’m beyond the point of needing photos, medals, or other swag when I do events. So, you’ll have to rely on my account. Basically, I decided not to race all out but -- instead -- to run a solid workout on all those hills. The race starts each year at 9AM and usually the weather is quite hot. This year we lucked out with relatively cool temps, lower humidity, and cloudy skies.

After a mile warmup jog to the start, Stephen and I stretched a bit and before we knew it, we were off. I saw some people blaze ahead of me that I usually beat, so it was hard to keep myself from gunning it up the first hill. At the same time, I felt really solid and comfortable, which I’ve never experienced on this path. I wanted to enjoy the course and take in the scenery. So, I trudged ahead, not knowing my pace because I rarely run with a watch these days.

Talk about Zen running.

I made my way slowly up the first long incline. It’s over a mile long and by the top, I had to take a few walking breaks. Gladly. Even when I won this race last year, I walked a bit. It’s just my strategy on this course to conserve energy to speed downhill. The mountains ahead of me really took my breath away. I can’t imagine seeing them everyday, and boy did I used to take them for granted. Not this time.

Anyway, I made my way up another epically steep uphill mile or so before the course finished with a fast flat/downhill trend. I knew I wouldn’t PR, but I decided to hold back and just enjoy the ride. OK. I couldn’t resist sprinting to the finish. I always do that. For the first time ever, I finished the race without much panting in around 49:40, just under 8 minutes per mile.

I did have a momentary thought that if my training had gone well this year, I’d probably have finished in the 47s. But then I remembered the real reason my running took a backseat this spring (and entire year, if we’re being honest), and I just felt grateful for the whole experience. This is just a different season in my relationship with the sport.

Running feeds my soul, as corny as that sounds. This may not have been my fastest finish, but I felt so good being a part of it. I also ended up getting second place in my age group, so that was cool. Stephen earned second place overall (35:22 -- a PR for him on this brutal course!). I’ve come to this conclusion that racing just isn’t my thing these days. My head isn’t in competition mode. But running in general? That’s another matter. I don’t run tons of mileage because I’m trying to keep everything in moderation right now, but the ones I do complete are giving me such joy.

Happy Friday, friends!

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