Don’t Give Up on Yourself!

In May I ran my third Half Marathon, the St. Ignace Rock and Run Half.  This was my very first Half last year, and I believe it was the first time they had offered the Half distance. It is a pretty small race, but that’s just fine with me.  Last year, I placed 4th in the 40-49 age group.  This year, I moved up to the 50-59 age group, and even though I trained harder through the very cold UP Spring, I placed 4th again. There’s no award for that- other than a very beautiful finisher medal. However, I finished the race and I was proud of that.

In June, I’ve had 3 races and I also decided that I wanted to try to run 150 miles in a month for the first time ever.  So I broke that down to 150 miles divided by 30 days = 5 miles per day.  I had a couple of days of  “tapering” before the Lilac Festival 10K, (as a result I had to make up those miles) but I’m back on track to finish the month with 150 miles. I’m very excited to achieve this goal. As for the Lilac Race, I finished 6th in my age group, better than 7th last year, but no award.

My other goals this month both involved rocks. Yes, rocks.  The Summer Solstice Run in Sault Ste. Marie is one of the very few times I run in the evening. This is the 3rd year I’ve done this race and it’s usually buggy and always hot, especially for an early morning runner like me.  The first year I did this race I was 2nd in my age group and I won a decoupaged rock as my trophy.  I loved it!  Last year I did not earn an age group award, but several running friends also came to this race so we had fun anyway!  This year, I worked on my endurance and mentally prepared myself to increase my pace through the heat because “It’s only 3.1 miles.” It was hot and I got a stitch in my side at about 2 miles, but I used the 3:2 breathing method (3 steps breathing in, 2 steps breathing out) to help with that and pushed through until the finish line.  When the results were posted, they were in overall finishing order and age groups/gender were distinguished with different shape and color stickers.  I was pretty sure I was first in my age group as I didn’t see any other purple ovals ahead of me.  I ended up placing first female overall in the Masters Division (which I assume is 50+ for this race).  I got a huge trophy of 3 rocks stacked on a large piece of beautiful slate. Very exciting!

My other rock experience was yesterday at the Pictured Rocks Road Race 7.5k, which includes the infamous “Stink Hill.” It’s actually about 2 miles of hill made of thick sand, which was also wet due to the rain that morning.  I was looking for redemption.  Last year I rode with 3 friends to this race. They all got beautiful polished rock “trophies” for placing in their age groups, even though I finished ahead of two of them. They were in a younger age group.  I missed 3rd place in my age group by 10 seconds.  I was SO disappointed. I kicked myself for not pushing a little harder on those smaller hills.  I coveted their rocks.  So, they changed the course this year from 5K to 7.5k and included the giant hill.  I didn’t care. I wanted a pretty rock, too! So, my 5 mile daily run started to include the hill near my house. On race day, I went out fast, probably too fast, but it’s race day magic! Then we got to Stink Hill at about 1.75 miles and started going up and up and up.  I ran as much as I could and then I walked fast.  When we finally got to the top and then the steep downhill, I kept running and didn’t slow down. I ended up 2nd female in the 50-59 age group and yes, I got my pretty rock!

So, the moral of this story is if you want something, break it down into doable chunks, work hard, expect it to hurt a little and don’t give up! You can do anything you set your mind to!

Written by Susan Horn, 2016 Fitness Ambassador