Monday, April 7, 2014

Surprise PR

The last couple of weeks since returning from NYC Half have, for the most part, been hell for me. I'll spare you the cryptic crap: I all but fell apart while trying to cope with the end of a more than two-year-long relationship.

The morning after it happened, I went ahead to run the Rice 5k I was signed up for, just to get myself out of the house and clear my head a little. In a few words, it sucked. I slogged through it and seriously thought about detouring back home, but ultimately finished with absolutely no kick at the end. I grabbed a free bottle of water and got the F out of there.

The rest of the week consisted of minimal sleeping and eating, some sick time taken from work, lots of time spent with friends here, and lots of phone calls with friends and family members from Oregon to New York to Peru. I feel so grateful to have so many people in my life who are always there for me no matter how far away we are from each other.

I still continued to run as much as I normally would have, but none of my runs had purpose. They were just done to get outside and do something good for myself. After that first week, I regained a little pep in my step and stopped crying mid-run. My appetite made a slow return and my mood started to improve with nicer days out and new pretty flowers lining my usual routes.

Even so, I showed up to last Saturday's Four Miles in Memorial Park race dreading the possibility of running into mutual friends, being asked about the breakup and just feeling like absolute crap during the race like I had two weeks earlier. I ran a bit too long of a warm-up before meeting up with Jessica at the start and had a couple of people just ask how I was feeling about the race itself. I simply said that I hadn't been feeling well in the last couple of weeks and I was just going to try to enjoy it. That I'd try to start out at goal PR pace (~7:55-7:59 for sub-32), try to hang on and if I couldn't, "whatever."

When the race finally started, I realized I'd lined up much further back than I should have and wasn't able to run faster than 8:45 pace for a couple of minutes, thinking it was already over. But after a little bit of weaving, I somehow got a fire lit under me and ended up with this:

Always a nice bonus when you see that you didn't look like death the whole time, either.
I honestly don't know where that came from. I haven't done any speedwork since before the NYC Half and don't think I've ran 7:30s at the end of a race before like, ever. As I neared the end of each split, I just told myself to try to push it to be faster than the last, that there's no way I'd die trying. I totally felt like I was going to pass out when I crossed the finish, but, thankfully, the feeling passed after a minute or two. This race has one of the best post-race parties I've ever seen in Houston and I was more than eager to celebrate with the crepe, cupcake and mimosa that came afterward.

PRs have been few and far between for me since running my marathon PR in January 2012. If anything, it makes me want to really focus on taking care of myself and finally get back to running as strong as I was nearly three years ago when I first moved back to Houston. It might sound ridiculous and silly since one has absolutely nothing to do with the other, but I'm taking this PR as a sign that I really am going to be okay with regard to the breakup. I have to be.