Saturday, August 13, 2011

Impossible Is Nothing - Setback and Redemption - Part 2

Impossible Is Nothing - Part 3 - Setback & Redemption by Christopher Setterlund
Part 2 of 2: Redemption at the Old Home Week Race

     In order to get my redemption and carry on with my new found running passion I needed a second race, another race in the same week which was a foreign concept to me.  I found my answer thanks to my Aunt Kelly who told me my cousin Keith was running the Old Home Week 3-mile race in Centerville 5 days later.  It was a quick turnaround no doubt, but it was that or stew about my Irish Pub failure until October.  The answer became even more obvious when my mother said that she wanted to come and see the race; it would be the first time she had ever gotten to see me in action.
            This race was in the late afternoon and it immediately had a different vibe than the Irish Pub race did.  Having family there for support made it easier to focus, and having it start at Covell’s Beach meant that I was able to use the sand and waves to meditate and stretch before the race.  I got another good sign when I was able to do my full range of stretches with no pain at all in either leg.  Even up until the Irish Pub race I had felt some lingering twinges of pain in my knee but now it was gone.  I was finally back to 100%.
            With a renewed sense of confidence I ran my best race thus far.  The weather was cooler and less humid than the Irish Pub race, and the course was shorter and flatter which added up to finishing the race 22nd overall with an average 7:11 min. mile, 21:34 total.  I passed my aunt and my mother as I closed in on the parking lot where the time clocked ticked away at the finish line.  I also passed my cousin Keith who finished 2nd overall, simply amazing, he is the prodigy of the family that is for sure.
            Then as I approached the finish line I got a bit of déjà vu.  From the right side my friend, my running buddy and mentor Emily popped out with her hand out for me as I passed just as she had done during the CapeAbilities race in May.  I had no idea she was going to be there, it really meant a lot to me.  I know I am going to embarrass her writing this but hey people deserve the credit when they help change someone’s life for the better, right?  All of the running I am doing is because she made me believe I could do it when I was positive I couldn’t.  I wanted to say here thank you so much for everything you have done for me, you are the absolute best.
            Now after I finished the race my redemption had come and I was able to release that doubt I had held onto pretty much since before the Gloucester race.  I felt like I was born again and that the future for my running was limitless.  I did let out a loud, profanity-laced, celebration which made my mother cringe but I needed to release it all somehow. 
            There are 7 weeks to go before my true test, a half marathon, but for now I am enjoying the feeling of being down, feeling defeated, and pulling off a pretty good redemption run.  It is sort of a storybook ending but it is not an ending at all.  It all fell into place and I am so grateful for those who supported me, especially the ones who were there with me at the Old Home Week race.  Remember, Impossible is Nothing, I believe it and keep living it with every run I do and every race I compete in.  If you believe it you can be it.  Cheers!

Impossible Is Nothing - Setback and Redemption

Impossible Is Nothing - Part 3 - Setback & Redemption by Christopher Setterlund
Part 1 of 2: Injuries and Irish Pub Road Race


     The first time that I have run 2 races in the same week stemmed from a search inside myself for redemption.  To get to the end I have to start at the beginning and my return to running form following a pair of nagging injuries.
            I had said that there was a real possibility that my race in Gloucester at the end of June could have been my final one as the pain in both my left knee and right Achilles tendon had become so prevalent that it was starting to cause me pain when I walked let alone ran.  Coming out of that race I was blessed that I had not aggravated either injury and took a hiatus from running as I let them heal.  It was a long and frustrating recess from my new found passion as I had to settle for cross training on the elliptical machines at the gym rather than doing what I truly wanted.  I bought gel heel cups, 2 knee braces, and an ankle brace all in the hopes of speeding up the healing process.  Nothing seemed to help until I came up with an idea to sort of cheat my way back.
            The ‘cheating’ I did was a way to satisfy my urge to run with as little damage as possible.  It consisted of a slow burn on the treadmill where I walked for a few minutes, then minute by minute slowly increased the speed until I was running but my legs had been totally warmed up.  It would take 25 minutes but I was able to get the treadmill up to 7.0-7.1 mph which was good enough speed for a run.  For these runs it was not so much about times and speeds but more of being able to complete the run without increasing my pain.  Day after day I gradually increased both the time and speed until I was almost back to where I wanted to be.  It was at this time that I started looking for another race to get me back in the game.
            I chose the Irish Pub Road Race in Harwich mostly due to my friendship with one of their bartenders, Rob Blake, who also had been working with me at the Marshside for a few years.  He had wanted me to run the 5.2 mile race so I signed up.  I felt all right about the race despite only having a few weeks of real running leading up to it.  This was all treadmill running also as I had become afraid of running outside for fear that if I got re-injured I would have to walk possibly several miles to get home and that was not a risk I was willing to take.
            I should have known things weren’t right when I could not get to sleep the night before the race.  Therefore I had trouble waking up in the morning as well.  I did not eat badly I thought, rice cakes and yogurt seemed okay, but once I got to the race I was unable to get focused and motivated like I wanted to.  At the starting line it was a mess, when the gun went off everybody mashed together.  Not wanting to lose valuable time I dashed around to the outside to get away from the crowd which was my biggest mistake.
            My Uncle Steve always says to start slow and build up so you don’t get gassed during the race, well that is exactly what happened.  About 3 miles in I felt it coming, it was a feeling like someone yanked my power cord out of the wall.  The humidity along with my quick pace caught up with me.  I took a few steps and dropped down to one knee totally out of it.  It was there that I thought about giving up, tired and by myself on the road I thought that maybe I should just throw in the towel and forget about it.  Being about halfway through the race I would have to walk back either way and did not want to disgrace myself by doing that so I manned up and kept going.  After that it did not get much better.  I inhaled a large bug which was delicious, and my squeezable carb gel ended up giving me major stomach cramps.  The race could not get over quickly enough.  My goal had been 5.2 miles in 40 minutes, after all of my problems during the running I finished in 42.  It looks good but I was in rough shape and very unhappy with myself.
            I refused food and drink at first and simply went and sat by myself in my car, resting my pounding head on my steering wheel.  The next race I had on my schedule was a half marathon Oct. 2nd and this epic fail at the Irish Pub was going to be tough to deal with for eight week until I could race again.  I stuck around and shared a beer with my old high school friend James Welsh who had also become a runner, that made me feel better as I left but soon the doubts about myself resurfaced.  There was only one way to try to erase them and that was to run another race as soon as possible...