09 November 2010 By Rachel’s

A Beautiful Day

You know those days that are so flawless, amazing, surreal? When you have to keep checking if you are dreaming or if this is really happening? Saturday was one of those. I have been training intensely all summer running and biking, yoga and Pilates, nutrition, visualization, breath, you name it. This last weekend everything came together so beautifully. I worked Friday morning, when finished did a final tune-up run, and then picked up my son early from school to head to St. George Utah for a 1/2 marathon. This race was important to me for many reasons. I was going to run in my home town. I needed it for building confidence for my upcoming Xduro World trail running championships in Hawaii on Dec 5. I needed to know my hip which has been injured on and off this entire year could make it through the distance. Most important, my little son Canyon was going to be there with me to run his first ever official race. I felt more excited about his race than mine. Mine was one of dozens and dozens I have run over the years. This was his first. He trained for it, we went and bought his first ever ‘real’ running shorts and shoes. We picked up his race number and chip and attached to his top and shoe. He received his first runner’s shirt. How exciting! I forget and don’t appreciate what this means to so many as I watched his excitement! As the gun went off for his race, I watched him run. Smile trading with determination on his face as he played the role he watched his mama play so many times. Running on the road and then entering the track to circle once to the finish just as I did just a short while before. I chased after him taking pictures, wishing I had my video camera with me. At the finish he did an interesting thing though. He stopped right at the line and stood there. Huh? I called to him to run across. Did he not know that you have to cross the line to finish? Other kids were running past him. Then he simply walked across the line with a smile. After the race I asked him why he stopped. He looked at me and told me that he wanted to “tie” with the other kids because then everyone could win. Wow. My entire life all I wanted to do was smash records, beat everyone, and when there was no one else to beat, I wanted to push myself harder to see what was inside. My son taught me a lesson in that moment that there is a whole lot more to it. And he was so happy. As he also received his very first ever runner’s medal. Being with him for this moment I almost forgot the significance of my own race earlier that day. A week ago my hip started hurting again. So much it was painful to walk. Let alone run. Last Tuesday I went in to see my miracle worker Chiropractor and Acupuncturist Greg Freebairn. He has saved me so many times. Such a talented, intuitive man. He spent extra time with me taping, talking about my nutrition. Playing coach for me as he has many times over since I can’t afford one right now. When it was all said and done, I felt great, had a game face and plan, and a huge dedication to pay attention to eating more food and sleeping as is ever important for racing as is the training. He is a miracle worker. I went to my race knowing what was going to happen. I knew what to do when/if my hip started hurting again. I knew the time I would run. I knew it even though I had never even run close to that time before. I ate properly, slept well, did my morning pre-race routine and left for my race calm, happy, and confident. I typically have people at my races ask about my brightly colored Newton Running shoes. I always love to talk about them as they really are that incredible at helping me with running form. Plus they are an attention grabber, and I love that! I met new people, said hello to friends from the past and lined up. My initial goal was to run with the lead women for as long as necessary and then pick it up from there. Luckily the local hometown heroes were there and I was happy to have the competition. For the first couple miles I ran with them. 6 minute pace, but it felt so good. At mile two, 2 males came by and I picked up the pace and started running with them. We dropped all of the other females. At mile 4 I looked back and I couldn’t see them. It still felt so good, but I was beginning to feel the hip. I told the guys good luck and I needed to back off a bit. I am glad I did. I needed to spend the rest of the race focusing on breathing, my form and keeping my hip feeling good. By mile 6 I was feeling it more. Breathe deeper. Effortless Effort. That is my mantra. I looked down at my watch and saw 34:12. Oh wow! I have never run a 10k that fast. Here I was in the middle of a half marathon and I was running well below 6 min miles! And everything about me felt great except the hip. I decided that I needed to back off more. I wanted to last. I knew I was going to win the race and that was enough. I still had Worlds coming up and needed to be healthy. I focused on steady just over 6 min miles the remainder of the race. I was happy and astonished that when I crossed the finish line of the USATF course, the numbers read 1:17:53. My chip time was 1:17:50. I not only won my race on this beautiful 70 degree morning, but I improved my Personal Record by over 5 minutes! The next female was 4 minutes back. I am so lucky. I am 30 years old and this year I PR’d every road distance I ran. I look forward to seeing what happens in my last couple races of the year and then next. There is no ceiling when the mind and heart are open.

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I will always remember waking up at the age of 12 to the pain I saw in so many while simultaneously realizing how lucky I was to feel fantastic.

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