Race Report: Santa Monica RunFEST 5k

Last Sunday, I ran my first race (a 5k) in quite a long time. (So this race report is coming better late than never, huh?) As many know, I’ve been plagued by a recurring calf injury for the past three years, but it finally seemed to take a turn for the better when I started seeing a new PT last February. Though it’s taken this long to be able to race– and I’m using “racing” in the loosest of terms– hey, I’m back at it (ish)!

Runner in Oiselle Team singlet

Ready to fly!

I’ve been running consistently between 1-3.5 miles since July-ish while maintaining my now 8-months-and-counting of daily strength and PT exercises (zZZzzzZZ). The goal for a while has been to do a Fall 5k, but I was hesitant to register for something too early. And by “too early,” I mean I was waiting for my body to implode at any moment. Pesky calf.

Overall my leg has been feeling better, but the pain has not completely gone away. Even short runs require a couple days of recovery. Progress has oftentimes been followed by setbacks, so registering for a race was kind of a leap of faith. I knew I wasn’t in “race shape,” but was dying to be a part of the race-day magic. So, naturally I recruited two friends to run with me. (Long story short, only one friend ended up racing. As for the other… well, she twisted her ankle days before the race and, when she decided to pick up her bib just ’cause, she saw her bib number was 666. UMMMM.)

Fast forward to race week. Crazy days at work left little time for worry, but when race eve arrived, in came the nerves. Oh yeah, and I had Indian food for dinner, which I do not recommend. Oops. I tossed and turned all night, but woke up energized and excited for the event. I mean, I was getting to wear my Oiselle Team singlet for the first “official” time! HELLZ YEAH!

Running Race Oiselle Team Santa Monica

Pre-Race Stretchin’!

I started off slow for two reasons: 1) This was supposed to be a “fun run” to get in the racing spirit without compromising my overly-sensitive healing-but-not-yet-totally-healed injury and 2) Since I’m not in the best shape, I didn’t want to start off too fast and burn off all I had too soon and pretty much die in a struggle fest of epic proportions.

I felt good for the first mile. Wide-eyed, strong, slow and steady, focusing on form. I repeated “head up, wings out” (an Oiselle mantra), which helped keep me from hunching and generally reminded me to soak in the scene and enjoy the miles.

Not long after Mile 1, I was reminded why one should never choose Indian food as their race eve meal. Perhaps it was the food, or maybe this would have happened regardless, but I started to feel a tightening and burning sensation in my stomach. Thankfully it didn’t escalate to vomming all over the place, but it made the second half of the race uncomfortable to say the least.

The last mile of the race was a cruel out-and-back in which you turn a corner, are forced to pass the finish line, and continue running for what seems like 923892382 hours out and back to the finish line again My body was hurting, but all I could do was try to focus on the task at hand and remind myself that it would be over soon and I would be pissed if I didn’t give it my all while I had the chance. I had no choice but to fly.

As I rounded the corner of the out-and-back, I could see the finish line in the distance. Positive: “yay, the finish line! I’m almost there!” Negative: the view was deceiving and the finish line was still about a half mile away. Lungs burning, stomach burning. But, some way, somehow, I was able to really kick it into high gear for that last .1 mile. BOOM!

Crossing the finish line, I saw the timer read 29:xx. WTF! I was expecting to finish the race in ~35:00. Official time ended up being 28:12, which is insane. Seriously, WUT.

This singlet is magic.

I’m proud of my effort and feel lucky to have had the opportunity to race again in what I hope is one of many to come. Not surprisingly, every muscle in my body was extremely sore for the next two days. Ouchie. But ye olde injured leg actually felt okay during the race and even a couple days later, though now smarts a bit. After beating it to a pulp, it’s probably going to continue needing R&R. As for my next race? We’ll just have to see.

Ultimately, though the journey to full recovery is not yet over, I couldn’t have stuck with it for so long without my teammates. They’ve made me feel like I’m never alone in this sometimes-daunting process. From their badass feats resulting in all-the-inspiration to encouraging me at every turn, I’m honored to be a part of a group that both supports me and pushes me to get back out there. These women are the real deal and prove every day that hard work can pay off. Thank you, thank you, thank you and LET’S DO THIS, BIRDS!

Quote Inspiration Inspirational

#RunLife

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Olé Volée! and a Return to Running

It’s been a while, but it’s good to be back!

Olé Volée!

First and foremost, olé volée! I am happy to announce that as of this Summer I am running wild for Oiselle‘s amateur (emphasis on “amateur”) racing team aka Oiselle Team aka Volée. I cannot wait to rep the women’s running apparel company that is so much more than that.

The Oiselle Team singlet.

The Oiselle Team singlet!

Rewind to circa 2011 when I received my first Oiselle tee as a birthday gift from a friend who heard from another friend that this small women’s running apparel brand is the sh*t. I liked the tee featuring “26.2,” but wasn’t convinced that the tee was running material. So, into the pajama drawer it went.

When I joined Twitter that year, I started following Oiselle. I finally realized that my 26.2 tee wasn’t just for sleeping in and I placed an order so I could check out a few other items from their line. Cue falling in love with their freakin’ cute– not to mention sweat-invisibility-cloaking– apparel. Bye, bye old cotton race shirts as run staples!

Beyond Oiselle’s apparel, I was blown away by their general badassery and determination to cultivate a community of runners who encourage each other to “run fast, take chances” and keep their “head up, wings out.” No matter if you are on their racing team or not, it all came down to the love of running. All were welcome in this diverse “come one, come all” club. They were– and still are– creating a new girl’s club.

So, when I heard there were spots opening up on their team last Summer, I clamored to apply… and was super bummed when I received an e-mail about a month later saying that I wasn’t accepted. But! I took the team manager up on her invitation to keep in touch with the hope that the following year would be my year.

A phone call in early May confirmed that this year is indeed my year to join a team of women who inspire me to fly fast every day. (Is this real life?) I am so very honored to get my wings and can’t wait to race in the Oiselle Team singlet!

Running, Lately

Joining a racing team begs the question: well, how’s that running thing going? Returning to running after a seemingly interminable calf injury has been rocky to say the least. Ups and downs, progress and setbacks. But, I’ve been working freakin’ hard (we’re talking daily PT exercise routine for 4+ months and counting) and learned a ton about what it takes to build a strong, healthy runner body. My mainstays? Relentless optimism and dwelling in positivity. And a healthy dose of stubbornness.

After months on the AlterG alongside PT, finally getting the OK to run outside, and then returning to the AlterG again, I am happy to report (knock on wood, throwing salt over my shoulder, etc.) I am finally starting to run outside FO REALZ. Right now, it’s only 1.5-2.5 mile sloooow runs with two strength training days in between, which translates to about two runs per week. The pain is not completely gone, but has decreased to the point where running short distances is manageable. I’m not going to lie, I do have those days when my calf hurts more than usual and I wonder if this whole recovery has been a wash. But, any running is good running at this point, so I’ll take it!

running track oiselle run

“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” – Arthur Ashe

It all comes down the pure joy of flying, feeling my lungs burning, constantly challenging myself, defying my perceived physical and mental limits. So, here’s my big, scary goal: I’m hoping that with a smart, conservative return to running, I’ll be able to race a 5k in the Fall. It will probably be slow and the recovery of my injury trumps all, but this is what I’m setting out to do. And, after that, who knows? Whatever it ends up being, I’ll always be dreaming of returning to 26.2…

What big, scary goals are you chasing?

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