Chicago only offers a few months out of the year for enjoyable running, for a wimp like me that is. I used to spend about 8 months doing the bulk of my running indoors on the treadmill while watching TV and the other 4 running on the crowded lakefront path with everyone else that had gone stir crazy over the winter months. My running in Chicago was only slightly enjoyable. Once I moved to sunny San Diego that all changed. Running has become more than a therapy session, it has become my love! Although already in a wonderful relationship, it was like falling in love all over again.
San Diego offers year round warmth and coastal beauty. A runner's paradise. My first few runs were a rude awakening as they were primarily hills and as you know I had just arrived from the flatlands of Illinois. Quickly I became stronger and my confidence grew. I started to feel proud of myself for the first time in quite awhile. I was excited about each run and eagerly awaiting 5:00 PM each day so I could dash out of work and hit the pavement.
I had decided to sign up for my first San Diego race, the La Jolla Half Marathon. A race from Del Mar to La Jolla along the ocean and over tremendous hills. I even decided to follow a program for the first time. I was actually thinking about getting faster and going harder, rather than just finishing. This was a whole new ballgame for me.
My weekdays began to fill up with tempo runs, speed work and recovery runs. I was loving every second of it. Then the day came when I had to stop it all.
My partner and I headed up to the beautiful Torrey Pines state reserve for a 9 mile run. Immediately I felt pain. Now, I know better than to run through pain, but I decided today I wasn't going to listen to my body. I struggled along, grimacing with every footstep. When we reached the monstrous hill I pushed myself up until the pain became so severe I couldn't take another step.