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  • Finding My Strong

    Posted on February 2nd, 2014 Michele Sun No comments

    This morning I was running the Penitencia Creek Trail & South Rim Trail at Alum Rock. Forecast said 30% shower at 9:00am, but  I didn’t prepare to run into headwind and pouring rain. It reminded me the year we ran CIM, and somehow it felt like previous life. This morning  the trails got muddy and slippery, and the worst was the cold. In a fun and maybe a bit nonsense way — I miss running in the rain because it’s so refreshing. But my body isn’t the same as before, sadly I had to admit that, and I had to cut my run short around mile 10 1/4 after feeling extremely cold and bad headache. Fernando gave me a ride home while Kiyoko, Michael and Vinh continued their runs, first time riding in SAG wagon but I had no shame to take it.

    “Are you back to running now? Isn’t that too fast?” “Why are you still running?” Some friends have asked me after seeing pictures of beautiful trails with Buff’d and GU’d me popped up on Facebook regularly now. I honestly don’t have a clear explanation why and how I’m back to running so fast, but I feel good about myself moving forward without holding back. Running gives me sense of confidence, makes me feel normal, have things in control, and allow me two hours of freedom from fear. I would rather have blisters on my feet than thinking about the runs I would have and could have done.

    Cancer has huge impact on me in many ways last year, and it took away my opportunity of running New York Marathon which I was very disappointed about. I wasn’t sure how much I would change physically and mentally, but at my 6-week post surgery appointment I asked my doctor and the oncologist “When can I start to exercise?” They both said “Yes, you can do some stretch and walking now.” “If you feel comfortable you can jog a little.” Jog??!! You have no idea how it pissed me off at Paris Marathon seeing the poncho said “Jogger”! My idea of exercising obviously is very different than doctors or most people, but I am not “most people”. as soon as I found myself could walk 2 miles without too much pain pulling and tugging my abs and obliques, I pushed myself to run 2 miles. At 13 mins/ml pace, I felt that there would be light at the end of the tunnel indeed.

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    I have lost a lot of physical strength, and I get tired more easily. My body needs a lot more rest now, and it’s not unusual that I sleep 8hr, even 9hr sometimes. For the last couple years, I have been  so used to get up at 5:15am for my 5:30am run, in the dark, in the cold, in the rain. But I can’t put my body through that now, however I do back to back runs on weekend now. My Sat routine is 6+ miles at Steven Creek Reservoir, and Sun I would either do longer runs on paved street, or another trails run with even bigger hills. When I logged in 13 miles two weeks ago, I truly amazed myself because 3 months ago I did not even think this would be possible.

    So, the competitive side of me put together a race calendar for this year, starting from Feb I have at least one race per month till the end of this year, and I have already committed to pace three Half Marathon in Feb, March and July. Of course, THE race for this year will be the New York Marathon on Nov 2nd which NYRR wlecome me to come back. I knew I probably would be adding more races once entering spring or summer, but who knew the race calendar just grows by itself :-p

    Yesterday at Hobee’s over post run breakfast and coffee, Mike was telling me about the race he is putting together in March, and I was impressed by the dedication and passion he puts into ultra trail runnings. I sincerely said “Oh, cool, I will come to volunteer.” But he said “glad to hear that, but I would like you to come and run it.” And the week before he was telling me about his another 50ml  trail race and giving me lots of tips about how he trained for his 100 miler. I got totally inspired from his tone of passion and confidence, somehow I believed his saying “Yes, you can do this.” I can run these hills, cover those miles, kick the dirt and roll the rocks, but most importantly I can run to celebrate life.

    Running is how I find my strong!


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