Keeping it REAL

My first half marathon which I ran 3 years ago was probably when running became REAL for me. I was fairly new to the sport at the time and had just started to feel as if I might actually be a runner. I was also new enough to running that I let the “competitor” (which, by the way, I didn’t even know existed) in me win out over good sense and following my coaches advice.
The running group I was a member of had a hill repeat scheduled one evening about a month prior to my half marathon, We were doing 10 one minute repeats at a pretty intense pace. On about the sixth repeat I felt an unfamiliar little twinge in my right calf so decided to just walk the next one as I was trying to follow the advice to “listen to your body.” The thought crossed my mind to just walk the remaining repeats but that little voice (you know the one) said, “Go on! Don’t be be a wimp. Finish strong!” Unfortunately the little voice was louder than my good sense so I tore up the hill on the 8th repeat because, after all, there were only 3 more. So just as I was beginning to pick up speed, down to the ground I went with the worst calf pain I’d ever felt. Needless to say my running for the night was over.
To make a long story short, I went to a PT who treated me for muscle strain with dry needling and stretching exercises. I did complete the half but had to walk most of it and stop at several Medic tents along the way for massage. When the calf started to bother me early on in the race I thought about dropping out but just couldn’t bring myself to do it. Keeping a level head and making the choice to walk was the compromise but, at least, I was able to finish.
What I took away from that race was for me, at 59, the goal was to finish. Deciding that helped put running a race into perspective. Yes, it would be great to PR and it would be wonderful to take your AG but what’s most important is “keeping it real” by doing what you can with what you’ve got at the time!
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