Monday, September 16, 2013

My Other Side

Finishing my 1st Half Marathon at 60! Wabash  Trace  Marathon 2013

 
Dreams do come true...........Tough Chik Deb Bahr finishes her first Half Marathon! 
Many of you know me as a crafter and scrapbooker but many may not know that back in 2011 I made  a decision to start a path to fitness after 40 years of inactivity. I began swimming and cycling first and started running in Feb. 2012.  Through 2011-2012 I encountered many injuries as I pushed my 59 year old body to do things it had not since I was a teen. Severe shin splits, foot laceration, herniated disc, sciatica, and then a torn rotator cuff. I did my first sprint triathlon in June 2012 and 2 more last summer......I walked the 5k portion due due injuries. I finally was able to begin consistent running in  September 2012. I stared doing 5ks and signed up for a 10k in March 2013. I ended up tearing my rotator cuff swimming in September 2012 which resulted in surgery late December.
As a result, I was restricted from all training for months as I recovered and rehabbed. I was released to run March 1, 2013. I did my 10k nine days later......in 1 hr and 42 minutes! Oh my. I walked the hills and flats & ran downhill. I had to start from ground zero AGAIN and build up slow to prevent injury. I kept at it.....running 3 times a week. I did my first duathlon in late April, just a week after I was released to cycle. It was a run 2 miles, bike 15 and run 2 mile......I came in DFL (dead f'ing last) but I was BACK!!!!! I did 2 5k's and a 7k trail run in May and by June was up to 6 miles! I started my half marathon training and registered for a September 14 race. 

I ran FAITHFULLY. I ran when running was the LAST thing I wanted to do. But I got up at or before dawn to run before the heat and humidity hit. I began swimming again in June at the urging and support of my physical therapist Claire, I registered for the Omaha Triathlon July 21. My PT had so much faith in me that they SPONSORED me! What?  I cycled but not as much as I should have. The Omaha course was extremely hilly for the bike and run- it was grueling. A friend rode the bike course with me to be sure I could make it up the hill on my Trek hybrid and 60 yr old legs. I will be forever grateful to Liz for that.
I really focused on running and swimming. I was nervous about swimming post surgery, let alone in a freaking lake, without the security of a wetsuit. I went to as many open water swim practices as I could, my PTs with me for 3 of them. I did open water swims each Saturday in a local lake- I would conquer my fears. My PT team even did the Tri with me and for 3 of them, it was THEIR first!! I finished it with a PR from 2012's sprint Tri.  I was amazed because it was just over 6 months after my shoulder surgery and I was back doing Triathlons in open water! I did another sprint Tri in late June then 2 more after the Omaha Tri.

My half marathon was closing in. I was getting in long runs of 7, 8, 9, 10 and 12.75 miles. I was slow but I was steady and injury free. I picked a race on a flat limestone trail with a nice tree canopy. Race day came and I felt ready. I was calm yet excited. The temp was around 58 when we started.....perfect. I felt good from the start, kept my normal easy pace and took care to keep hydrated. My goal was to finish and to run across the finish line with a big smile......time did not matter. My bar was LOW...after all I turn 61 in a couple months!

I played cat and mouse with some runners but stayed my course and raced my own race. I had a camelback filled with Hammer Perpetuem and a Maia Sports bra stuffed with honey stingers. I took Gatorade at each water station. My only frustration was I could not listen to my music on Pandora due to connectivity issues in the country with the tree canopy and the only music on my phone was Justin Timberlakes 20/20 Experience; so I listened to that over and over for 3 hours and 19 minutes.......good thing I love it. I felt like he was running with me....it kept me going.

About mile 10 I noticed a little twinge of tightness in my left calf but added some walking in to rid myself of it and it quickly went away. About mile 11.5 it came back and by mile 12 I could only run in bursts of 30 seconds before my calves seized up. I stopped twice to stretch but it kept coming back. I tried to run across the finish but my calves just froze up if I tried, so I walked as fast as I could. I made it, with a smile and wanting to do it again.

Anything is possible if you want it and work for it. I had so many people encouraging me along my journey; my family, friends and other athletes who have since also become my friends. I am so grateful that I am able to achieve this at my age, for one day I won't be able to run like this. These are special memories I will carry with me always. Just wanted to share my story...there are others out there that are similar and perhaps even more inspiring but this is MY story and I am pretty proud of it.

9 comments:

  1. You have a great story Deb!! Keep up the AWESOME work!!!!! (Jessica L-fellow toughie!)

    ReplyDelete
  2. I got tired reading all the things you've done. Way to go! I'm actually considering doing a tri now. You're such a great inspiration and motivator. Congrats on your first half! So when are you doing a full?!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A full marathon? Well I will have to do it eventually if I want to complete a full Ironman. I need to get faster though or I would never make the time cutoff! One step at a time I will eventually get there!

      Delete
  3. Congrats! Way to go TOUGHIE! What an amazing journey and you are proof that if you believe and preserver....dreams can come true!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Fantastic! You had a great race and I am so happy for you!

    ReplyDelete
  5. WAY TO GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Deb you should be so proud of yourself-great job!!

    ReplyDelete
  7. OMG! This is awesome! We aren't that similar, as I have played softball all my life--but as you know, there's not much running in softball (there was when I played outfield in my 20s and 30s). I'm now almost 50 and like you, signed up for my first half marathon. I'm INSPIRED by this story and SO glad you posted it on TNT's FB page!

    I have only done a 10k so far, but I'm 18.5 weeks out from the half marathon. THanks for posting! Congrats! WHat's your next race? Wanna go to San Antonio and do the Cocoa Women's Half? :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think I will a GOATZ trail run in October, I know I will do the Leprechaun Chase in March. I need to get FASTER but hopefully cold weather will help as I run better when its cold. When is the the Cocoa Womens HAlf and more importantly- is a FLAT course? Bahahaha

      Keep going because you got this. Just keep training and be consistent. I want to hear how your race goes. I posted a summary because I am so inspired by others when they post so kind of paying it forward.

      Delete