Because my hurt leg survived last week's race, I've been thinking about attempting another cross country race: the Hawk Hustle. I've run it twice before, so I know that it's tough.
The first time I ran the race, I wasn't quite ready for how hilly and challenging it would be. I ended up adjusting my goal times on the fly. I also had a great time.
The next year was no easier. I slacked off on training before the race and wound up struggling through it. However, it was a small race on a day with lousy weather, so I ended up with a second place age group trophy!
This year will probably be my toughest experience and slowest time. Since I messed up my leg, the longest distance I've run was two miles, and that was with walk breaks. Could I really do a four mile race that's tough when I'm not coming off an injury? Should I just sign up as a walker and figure I'd place in the top ten and get a trophy?
I decided to do more research and actually run the course. Yesterday, I lined up pretty much where the starting line was and traced the course as best I could. I got it mostly right- there were some hills and paths that I remembered, but I ended up short on distance, so I obviously cut things too much.
I ran at a relaxed pace and took walk breaks, but it was still tough. The hills taxed me, both up and down. I figured if I did decide to run the race, it would be slow going; walking would be relatively easy.
At the same time, I couldn't imagine myself not running it. It has been really taxing to not be able to run. Going out and tackling something difficult would feel great - no matter what my finishing time is.
I started forming a strategy, looking for long flat stretches to run, downhills that would allow me to coast the uphills, and steep hills to use as walk breaks.
Before I knew it, I was signing up for the race and clicking "Runner."