Welcome back to racing!

Yesterday I ran my first race since May, donning a new uniform and taking the next step down the road as a post-collegiate "emerging elite" athlete. My return to racing was both fun and painful -- fun to run with a great group of women, be part of a scoring team (we WON!), and feel the adrenaline coursing through my veins again; painful to wear spikes for the first time in 6 months and slip and slide through mud and puddles. After 4 miles in steeple spikes, my calves are a MESS and I'm currently hobbling around SF like a grandma... But it was worth it :) 

 Me with my new team!

The race, the Pacific Association Cross Country Championships, was held in Golden Gate Park, right in my backyard here in the city. After a weekend of thunderstorms and LOTS of rain, the course was a mess and thus super slow, but I guess it's probably better that my first race back was on a slow course where time doesn't really matter, so that I can't go back and analyze my splits... I ran 24:26 for 11th place, which felt pretty comfortable and under control. Having not done too many workouts since track season (I've just been getting miles in as I try to return to pre-surgery form), I was pleasantly surprised with my fitness. I still have a long way to go to get to where I ultimately want to be, but this was a good first step. However, more important than my time or place was that I was excited about racing again, stoked to be out on a race course, feeling the butterflies in your stomach in the moment of silence before the starting gun goes off, and feeling that "on top of the world" rush as you accelerate toward the finish line. Sunday was a warm welcome back to racing. 
Results from the race are here -- I'm still listed as unattached, even though I did indeed compete for New Balance Silicon Valley. http://pausatf.org/data/2010/XCChamps2010.html
For a fun comparison -- I ran this same race in 2005 as a freshman at UC Davis... you gotta scroll down a little ways in the results to find me... 48th place in 26:00, ohhhh boy! http://www.pausatf.org/data/2005/XCRegionals2005.html What a difference 5 years makes!

A big shout out to my new teammates of Team New Balance Silicon Valley; to Avi, his family, and my roommate who came to watch; and of course to my good old dad and awesome coach who was there to cheer me on with encouraging words :)