My Return To Racing
by Antonio Vega on April 2, 2012
After a long injury-induced layoff, I finally returned to racing at the Jacksonville Gate River Run 15-K. Without a doubt, this one of the top races in the country and there isn't a better venue for my first race in well over a year.
My schedule for the weekend of the Gate River Run included dinner on Friday night with my fellow Team USA Minnesota. The following day I had the opportunity to go to an after-school program called the Sanctuary where I had the opportunity to meet and interact with some great kids.
As we drove up to the Sanctuary, a swarm of children came running up to us. Every one of them shooting “Are you fast? Do you wanna race?” A race? Sure.
I raced about 20 children and was pleasantly surprised the speed some of these kids have. I just felt thate that the next future track star might be coming out of this great program. Afterward, we went back to the school for a little pizza and a Q&A session. WE did this for the kids, but I found it personally rewarding to give something back to the Jacksonville community which puts on such a terrific event like Gate River every year.
The two hours spent at the Sanctuary was a nice way to break up the long afternoon of prerace monotony. Sometime the day before race can get a little on the long side. After leaving the after-school program it was back to the hotel and time to start focusing on the race for the next day.
I will spare everyone the play-by-play of the race and just sum it up by saying it was a good first effort and a great feeling to be back running again. In hindsight, I took some risk going out at a fast pace trying to maintain contact with the chase pack and—of course--paid the price in the latter stages of the race.
But my goal for Jacksonville was just simply to get into a race again and have the hip feel good. Mission accomplished! Now, it's back to the drawing board, to get some more training in. and look forward to my next race knowing that this was a step in the right direction.