This is my Monument Avenue 10k.

Friday, February 23, 2018

"When an activity is no longer enjoyable, it's time to re-evaluate why you're doing it."

I love running races! The anticipation you feel before crossing the start line and overwhelming joy of crossing the finish line is unreal. It's easy to understand why so many people sign up for various lengths of races. This past year for Christmas my mom made me a sign to display my race bling and bibs from past races. I love displaying it on the wall of the gym. It is something tangible that is truly motivation to keep moving and keep signing up for more races. So to keep bling coming, I signed up for my 4th annual Monument Avenue 10k.

I can't believe I've been running this race for four years. I love this race. This is honestly one of the best races I've ran in. The course is down one of the most known streets in Richmond, Monument Avenue, which has recently been getting attention for its Confederate memorial statues. It's an up and back course with little to no hills which makes it really easy. Sportsbackers fills the median with bands and groups to cheer the runners on as they go past. In the past they've had local jazz, rock-n-roll and Jimmy Buffet style bands, an Asian meditation group, and the full VCU band. Of course you always have those crazy people standing on the side of the course with signs like "I thought they said RUM!" and another personal favorite of mine is "This is a lot of work for a free banana". That's what makes it so fun. There is literally no part of the course that you don't see by-standers with signs, pom-poms and sometimes even beer.

I keep signing up for this race because I love the atmosphere race day brings. I love the motivation it gives me to get out and be active. But this year I am not having as much fun. My achilles tendon on both legs bothers me when I run. Not to be dramatic, it feels like the tendon is ripping apart, one piece at a time. To make matters even worse, after the pain gets really bad my right foot usually goes numb and feels like I'm walking on pins and needles.

It's so frustrating to have the motivation to get out there and train, go to a Saturday morning training team and just not have fun while doing it. Running isn't fun anymore. It isn't the race itself, or my lack of wanting to run. But when it's painful, it's definitely not enjoyable.

I know if I want to keep running and not lose my motivation I need to get this problem fixed. I've gone to a sports medicine doctor to make sure I wasn't doing damage to my foot when it goes numb. The good news was that it isn't doing damage to my foot; the bad news though was he didn't help to solve the problem. I've talked to fellow runners and coaches from the training team. They've made sure I am wearing proper running shoes, my style of running (heel-strike vs mid-strike) isn't affecting my legs and everything else they can think of. It's very frustrating to see everybody else having a good time and talking about how their speed has increased when I can barely break out into a jog.

However I am not going to give up the anticipation of crossing the start line and the joy of getting to the finish line just because my legs might hurt in between the two. I will be out there with my figurative bells on even if I am passed by a mom with a stroller. I will go out there and run my own race. This is my Monument Avenue 10k.  

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