Sunday, July 2, 2017

Sweet Redemption: Stampede 10k Race Recap

Prior to today, I've run this hometown race 4 times and I've AG placed 4 times. I couldn't decide if I wanted to run it this year. I'm loathed to admit it--yes, this should have been a runfession--that I didn't know if my ego could handle the disappointment of not AG placing this year.

I've accepted my fate and have been doing really well, I think, with learning to living with rheumatoid arthritis. I tell myself all the time how lucky I am to still be running. I know this. I get it. And yet, I'm still not ready to accept that I'm slowing down. 

Last week I swallowed my pride and signed up to run the 10k once again. Best case scenario would be a sub-9 m/m race. Worst case scenario? There are no portapotties on the route. Not AG placing fell somewhere in the middle of those 2 scenarios. As race day approached, I made some changes in my diet with the hopes that I would not have any sort of GI issues. I figured everything else was up to chance.


I woke up at 6 and had a couple of cups of coffee. On a normal day, I don't eat before I run in the morning and it's not usually an issue with a 6 mile run. For the race, I decided to stick with that plan. I did bring a bottle of Tailwind and sipped it on my ride down to the starting line. It's nice to live so close to a race! I parked and walked a few blocks to the starting line. I got in line for the portapotties and chatted with our orthodontist, who is a triathlete and a speedy runner. We're the same age and we compared aches and pains, typical runner conversation, right? 

As I lined up for the race, I ran into an old friend, Juli, who is also an advanced practice nurse and an ultramarathoner. She recently ran Western States (she's the real deal) and told me about the 8 feet of snow they were forced to run through. When the gun went off, we crossed the starting line together, until a guy behind me gave me a flat tire. Seriously dude? That's the first time I've ever had that happen at a race. Fortunately, I was able to slip my foot right back into my shoe and keep on going. Thank you, Lock Laces! I kept Juli in my sights for most of the race.

The 5k and 10k runners are together for the first half of the race. It's hard not to get caught up in the crowd. I felt good though. Breathing was easy and my legs felt loose. It was warming up quickly and I was starting to feel a little thirsty. I grabbed a cup of water at mile 2. 

Once the 5k runners split off, the race felt much more relaxed. During mile 4, I felt a little weak. I don't normally carry fuel with me on such a short run but I was wishing I had my Tailwind with me. I stopped to walk and regroup for a minute, and picked it back up again. Still feeling weak, I grabbed a cup of Gatorade (I'm so sorry Tailwind!) and a cup of water at the next aid station. That was all I needed to get my mojo back for the rest of the race. I ran through sprinklers that folks set up along the route. I smiled and waved at all the people and kids who came out to cheer us on. Mile 6 was my fastest split, 8:18 m/m. 

Finally, we took the turn for the last 200 yards to the finish. I dug deep and found some speed in my legs, crossing the finish line at 55:09, an average of 8:45m/m. Juli finished about 45 seconds ahead of me, and we got in line to get our results.


I had hoped that my results would be good enough for an AG award, but I sure didn't expect to win my AG! How exciting!!! Juli took 3rd in the 55-59 AG. We collected our rewards, a commemorative pint glass. Wow. Just wow.


I think about where I was just 6 months ago. I couldn't run a mile without stopping. I was angry, I was frustrated, and I was sad. How dare this disease take away the one thing that has given me so much! I never gave up, though. I made up my mind to show RA just who was the boss of me. I was determined to run strong again. I've continued to run and workout, pushing hard on days when I didn't think I could. I've made some changes to my diet and continue to explore foods and supplements that will help reduce inflammation. This race was my reward. This race showed me that I'm still me. Today I say, don't count me out. 

Maybe on a different day, I wouldn't have a race like this.


Today, it was my day. Sweet redemption. I am so grateful.

I'm linking this post with guest host Kim and hosts Holly and Tricia for the Weekly Wrap! Have a happy 4th of July! Or Canada Day! Let's all celebrate freedom. 





63 comments :

  1. "This race showed me that I'm still me."
    And we're all so happy for it. You are always you, good, bad, ugly; winner always, because you never give up. That is you. Our Wendy. Congratulations on your great redemption.
    Hoo-ah!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I was so happy to see your post on Facebook this afternoon! You're so awesome and such an inspiration! You are definitely showing RA who's the boss!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I guess now it's all about showing up and seeing how it goes. This was fun!

      Delete
  3. Redemption indeed! This is just so fabulous I am so happy to see how happy you are. Nicely done!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So happy! You never know what you've got until you go!

      Delete
  4. This is so great! Congrats on a strong race and showing RA who's boss!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I never counted you out; congrats! It's nice when hard work is rewarded & you have certainly worked hard to regain your speed.

    Of course I'm still stuck on running through 8 ft of snow . . .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, I read a few race reports from Western States and there were a lot of DNFs. Including my friend. It was rough. Of course, under the best conditions, it's rough!

      Delete
  6. Congratulations, Wendy! That is such an inspiration to all of us who read your blog--don't let life get us down because we never know what we can accomplish when we keep going!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm not one to give up easily! This surprised me, tho!

      Delete
  7. Awesome job!!!! I'm glad you got your redemption, no one else is more deserving ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  8. I love this post! So happy for you and glad that you didn't skip the race.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I had to remind myself how ridiculous I was being. It's hard to let go of past accomplishments.

      Delete
  9. Woo hoo! Congrats on 1st place. Nice job!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad the fast ladies didn't show up!

      Delete
  10. So awesome and sweet redemption! Congrats on 1st in AG! Have a happy 4th of July!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Congrats Wendy! This makes me happy!! I love your attitude and how you always push through.

    ReplyDelete
  12. You go, girl! I was just sitting here, letting my RA make me feel all sorts of lousy (started tapering off the steroids on Saturday), when I read your post. Made. My. Day. Now if you'll excuse me, I have a five mile hike in a nearby forest preserve to complete! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's the attitude! Do what you can!

      Delete
  13. Congrats! That's so exciting that you were able to place again in your AG after so many frustrations. I've also been through some health frustrations that took away my speed (I'm working on gaining it back now), but I admire you pushing through something like RA. That's badass. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  14. LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE So happy for your Wendy!

    ReplyDelete
  15. I was so excited to see this yesterday! Congratulations on your age group win! You still got it!

    As a sidenote I'm glad I wasn't in the race. If your friend Juli who is in my age group finished third, heaven knows where I would be!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Today she took first in another 10k. She's fast!

      Delete
  16. I've seen pictures of the snow in Tahoe still. I'm wondering exactly how much snow that region got total if there's still 8 feet of it remaining. Great job on the race!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's too bad that the snow affected the race. I guess it was the most DNFs ever.

      Delete
  17. YAAAAAAS! Fist pumping like crazy over here! SO HAPPY FOR YOU!

    ReplyDelete
  18. This is so exciting!! I'm so happy that you ran this race and did so well!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Congratulations on your AG award!! Very well deserved!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! It feels even sweeter when you are not expecting it!

      Delete
  20. Congratulations on 1st in the AG!! Running strong like that is the best feeling in the world. It is a high that feels like no other, so glad you got your redemption! Mile 6 was a super strong finish.
    Love your pic with Juli :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! It's nice to know that I've still got some speed left in these legs. I know it's on the way out but for now, I'm happy to ride the wave.

      Delete
  21. That's awesome, Wendy! Wow, just wow, indeed!

    ReplyDelete
  22. That's so wonderful! I am so proud of and happy for you! I love how you are rolling with everything RA throws at you, fighting back and still kicking butt along the way.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's my nature--RA didn't know that I was going to be so difficult to beat!

      Delete
  23. That's so wonderful! So happy you felt proud and accomplished! you deserve it :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! It's been a tough 6 months and I'm so grateful that I'm heading in a positive direction.

      Delete
  24. Oh my gosh I was so happy to see your post on Facebook! Congrats! You continue to show RA who's boss and you inspire me!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! I'm not going down without a fight! :)

      Delete
  25. Congrats on your 1st place AG award! It sounds like you have had a tough patch dealing with RA but I'm glad to see that it isn't holding you back now.
    Don't you just love the community races? Sprinklers on a hot day sounds like the perfect race day perk!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love this race. I get to see all my neighbors out there and they're excited to see me--it's always fun to cheer for someone you know!

      Delete
  26. Congrats on an awesome finish Wendy! Way to Go!!

    ReplyDelete
  27. So so happy for you, friend! You never cease to amaze me!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm just getting myself back in gear so we can do amazing things in 2018!

      Delete
  28. Seriously, I got chill bumps reading this! I cannot tell you how happy I am for you!! Sweet redemption is ...oh so sweet my friend! Enjoy your 4th and the freedom that running brings and the freedom of this great nation!

    ReplyDelete
  29. What a wonderful and well-needed boost! I hope you can ride this high for a long, long time!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I keep hoping that I continue to head forward. I know what's ahead of me but for now, I'm going to enjoy feeling almost 100% again.

      Delete
  30. WOW! is right! I am so happy for you that you had this sweet race! The 10K distance is a nice one too! Enjoy ever second of your accomplishment!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This was such a great measurement of my progress since my diagnosis. I've still got to work on endurance on my longer distances. But I'll take it!

      Delete
  31. How cute do you look in that outfit! I love it. Congratulations on a strong race and AG win!

    ReplyDelete
  32. I'm so happy for you, Wendy! Congrats! Aren't you glad you decided to run? :-)

    ReplyDelete