Confessions of an amateur athlete: Slow and steady wins the race

A rookie runner deals with injury, healing and looking forward to her next race.

St. Pete Run Fest

Nov. 18-19: Half marathon, 5K and kids race

$20-$110, race-dependent.

click to enlarge runner girl with sunset -
runner girl with sunset

It’s been a few months since my last race and as much as I needed the respite, I am itching to cross another finish line soon. “Running is cheaper than therapy” is not just a bumper sticker; it’s reality for a lot of us, and I find myself having a difficult time not packing on the miles once my Achilles heel injury begins to improve. I crave the return of my old runner’s high, but spend the months healing, trying out new sports and going to physical therapy sessions.

My initial plans for 2017 were to race my first full marathon: Florida’s “winter months” are ideal for long-distance races and I find a handful relatively nearby. Upon getting hurt, though, my plans change. As I near the end of my physical therapy sessions, I ask about jumping back into running.

“As long as it doesn’t increase your pain at all, you can get back into running and gradually increase your miles,” the PT tells me. Encouraged, I mention the half and full marathons I have hopes for. She laughs at my enthusiasm (or more likely, my naïveté) but warns me against running 26.2 miles just yet.

“Work your way back up to a half marathon,” she tells me. “Maybe save 26.2 for next year.”

I hide my disappointment and laugh along with her. She is a runner and triathlete too, so I know she can sympathize with my eagerness to turn up my training.

Before I can feel too sorry for myself, though, I look at the other patients around me: Old and young, almost everyone here has a pretty serious injury. Many have had surgeries or complicated procedures; some have genetic conditions. The majority have never run a half marathon. Some of them have trouble walking without severe pain. Finish lines are not something they can look forward to.

My selfishness is thrown in my face as I glance at canes and crutches. I am one of the lucky ones.

I have a lot to be grateful for, and I focus on this as I gear up for my second half marathon of the year. St. Pete Run Fest is the first major running event held downtown St. Pete in years. My excitement builds as I check out the race route: We start next to the Salvador Dalí Museum, race along the water and down Central Avenue before circling Tropicana Field. Next we head towards historic Old Northeast and Snell Isle, curve back along the water and finish back at Dalí. I couldn’t ask for a better race course.

Another bonus to St. Pete Run Fest: It’s run by a St. Pete company whose office is here in town. Though I am still a rookie, I am aware of the importance of good race directors (many triathletes and distance runners are familiar with the phrase “Choose your race director before you choose your race”). I saw St. Pete Run Fest’s booth at the Pride Festival this summer — that in itself says something.

Also, I’d be lying if I didn’t say I look forward to the free craft beer from 3 Daughters Brewing, who has partnered with the race.

This half marathon won’t be my fastest race. I won’t set any records and, depending on my heel progress, I may have to walk parts of it. But if the last year or so of training has taught me anything, it’s the importance of listening to my body. Being grateful for the process and for the many things I am capable of doing, rather than focusing on the things I can’t. 

St. Pete Run Fest, I’m coming for ya.

About The Author

Resie Waechter

%{[ data-embed-type="image" data-embed-id="5bccb9c0b38df12e008b45d6" data-embed-element="span" data-embed-size="640w" contenteditable="false" ]}%Resie Waechter is a recent USFSP graduate who majored in English literature and cultural studies with a minor in history. She is a fumbling fitness junkie with a special...
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