Can I just take a minute and tell you all about my amazing weekend? Well, I guess it's my blog so the answer is yes...right?
I went into the weekend with a little uneasiness and a touch of nerves. I had two big running related items on the agenda. The first, a five mile training run with my Saturday morning running group. This would be the longest run since surgery, and it gave me a few butterflies as I prepared for it. I know I will face this feeling over and over as my training progresses toward my October half marathon, but I'm still getting used to it. Actually, I get that feeling before every long run and I always have. I think it's the thing that drives me to double check my equipment, to get everything ready the night before, to verify (and re-verify) that batteries are charged in the Garmin and iPod. That need to check, check, and re-check to make sure I haven't forgotten anything. I know I'm not the only runner who experiences this, it's just something that we do.
Saturday morning the weather was perfect. I was wearing a pouch I had applied on Thursday. I figured if the long run trashed it like last week, at least I would have a couple of days on it first. With the Sure Seal I wasn't nervous about running in a two day old set up at all. The run was mostly uneventful which is great for a training run. I did feel a little loss of energy or bounce around the four mile mark. I think my need for gels hits sooner now than it did before. I've also talked things over with a few distance runner friends and determined I'm going to add some salt supplementation for anything over four miles. Somewhere between adding sugar and adding salt it should even things back out. This balancing act is always an experiment during training, and with my new innards this season is no exception. I'll dial it in though, no doubt about that.
Sunday morning was a whole different monster. It was race day! We entered a 5K to support a local political issue and it would be my first race in a long time. I had about three days worth of internal debate about racing versus "just running" this event. When I finally shared my dilemma with my husband he just said, "Well, of course you'll go out there and go as fast as you can." It was like he couldn't believe I was considering any other option. Love that guy! The weather Sunday morning was about as perfect as you could ask for in late June and that sealed the deal. I was still wearing the same appliance as I'd worn in Saturday's run as it was holding up just fine. I did decide to carry my hand held water bottle which I would have never done in a previous 5K. It was kind of nice to be able to bypass the water station though!
I ran a strong race, but I pushed too hard for the first half. At the turn around I realized if I went faster on the way back at all I would beat my personal record. I really went after it, but when I hit the two mile mark my legs just died and I took my first walk break. I'm not sure how many times I walked but I want to say it was three times for about 40 seconds each. In the end, it made my last mile about a minute longer than my first. I missed my personal record by about 50 seconds. During the race I was completely unaware of the ostomy. It was a great feeling!
Afterward I went through a period of being a little stern with myself and wondering if I couldn't have pushed a little harder and done better. Once I got a nap (and some perspective!) I came around and really thought about things in the right way. It was three months ago that I was laying in a hospital bed up at Cleveland Clinic hoping I'd get to go home soon. It was an effort to take those 10 minute walks around the floor. Now I'm pushing close to beating my best time at a racing distance that has always presented a huge challenge to me. I'm not only running, but I'm running well. I'm stronger and faster than I've ever been at this point in the training cycle. That is truly something! My finally healthy body is able to respond to the training in a positive way and I'm excited to see where I can take it this year. These are amazing times for me after all of those years of illness, pills, and fatigue. I need to celebrate these things!
So yes, friend...if you are reading this while researching surgery, or maybe you're in the hospital and they are telling you that you need a colectomy and you're scared, or you've just had surgery and you feel so weak and tired....you can get your life back. If you are wondering if you'll ever be able to do whatever that thing is that lights your inner fire again, the answer is yes...at some point you will. Let yourself get healthy, let your body heal, and then you go after it and you find a way to make it work. I promise you, it's worth it.