Know what I did?
I ran a 15K! And when I say “ran” what I really mean is “ran/walked/wanted to crawl” a 15K. But I did it. And I have THOUGHTS about it.
I know you’re shocked!!
My biggest cheerleader, Ann, took my victory photo for me! She’s pretty spectacular in her encouragement and pure confidence that I can do anything, even when my own confidence levels wane.
It’s all about the bling, folks! I am pretty certain I registered for the 15K instead of the 5K simply because you get a cool medal with the 15K and you get SQUAT with the 5K.
Thanks to Ann, I was prepared for the race photographer and managed to put on the HAPPY face instead of looking like I’m dying, as I usually look in my official race photos.
That photo is a HUGE farce. I was happy (as the photo indicates) that I had finished the race, but I was in pain.
So – let’s talk about the race. Or…I’ll talk, you listen, or click away! Your choice.
The last post I wrote mentioned my ouchy hips, but more as a side-note instead of the direction the ouchy hips were going. My last few runs prior to my race were painful. BUT, I wasn’t NOT going to do this race, so I took two weeks off of all running prior to the race (one of those weeks was spent out west welcoming my newest grandbaby into the world – YAY). Michelle went on walks with me as I tried to loosen up the hip. I did a lot of stretching. I did a lot of foam rolling (which is the devil, I should add). I did whatever I could to help my hip get feeling better.
The morning of the race came after a rather long night. Not just for me, but for Ann, too. My grandson decided 2:30am was a great time to be awake and he made quite the ruckus. I had the luxury of still relaxing in bed while he fussed (because I’m the grandma), but Ann had to get up and take care of him. So we started our morning off a bit sleep deprived. Neither of us were really feeling it when we walked out the door at 5:45 that morning to head to the start line. I think the conversation in the car entirely consisted of “This is stupid. Why are we doing this? It’s so fucking cold. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.” And probably a few more swear words. Maybe. On a loop.
Near the starting gates we paced, we stretched, we peed, we stretched some more, we paced some more, we peed some more, then we wished each other luck and headed to our respective corrals.
Miles 1 through 4 were fantastic. My hip wasn’t hurting. I was keeping to my interval plan (9.5 min run/30 sec walk). But my hour bladder kicked in at mile 3.5 and I was distracted by how long it would be before there were porta potties on the course. At the top of a big hill was a construction area with a porta potty (mile 4.32). There were about four people standing in line there, and I knew I was NOT going to run down the hill without having peed first, so I stood in line. It felt like forever, but looking at my Garmin stats, it was just over 5 minutes.
Mile 5 and 6 were …. alright. Nothing to write home about, but better than I thought they’d be.
(train of thought derailing for a moment here)
When I did my Doxa race last summer, my 7.62 miles were brutal! I struggled so much during that whole course and it took me almost two and a half hours to complete it. I’ve kicked myself numerous times over the horrible showing on my run leg during that race and have an overwhelming desire to go and run that trail again sometime when it’s not hot and when I’m not sleep and food deprived and when I’m not mentally preparing for a 33+ mile bike ride shortly after running the trail.
Mile 7 begins and I look at my watch and I’m under two hours. Weirdly, this gives me a little boost of energy and I picked up my pace just a bit. My knee was feeling a little sore but nothing unmanageable with a little increase in pace. When I hit the 7.62 mark I stopped, took a picture of my clock, and sent a note to my sisters to show that I was capable of doing a sub-two hour Leg 14 when there were not weird circumstances. Somehow I felt a little vindicated from my abysmal showing during Doxa. It made me smile a bit.
After I posted my 7.62 pic I began running again – a downhill stretch. My knee was NOT feeling right as I was going down the hill. I kept pressing through the discomfort because I knew that I was getting close to the cut off pace, and the official race vehicles had passed by me going the opposite direction as they were sweeping the course. I was a little concerned that I wouldn’t make the time cut-off and I only had a little under a mile and a half to go. I can do anything for a mile and a half, right? So I kept plugging along.
The whole of mile 7 was my slowest mile (even including mile 4 where I was at a dead stop waiting to pee). I had a large uphill stretch right as mile 8 began and I walked a good portion of it. The downhill slide at mile 8.5 was literally a downhill slide. I thought I could make up some time since it was downhill, but my knee by this point was really hurting, so I told myself that I wasn’t going to push it. I felt like I was being responsible, but Garmin tells me that that stretch was one of my better paces.
At the bottom of the hill I walked a minute to catch my breath and let my knee have a break. An old gentleman was walking and he started chit chatting with me. It was a nice mental break because up until that point I did the race completely in my own head, which isn’t always a great place to be. He did the half marathon last spring and I told him I wasn’t sure that with the way I felt at that moment that I could add four miles to the end of where I was. He was adamant that I could, even though he doesn’t even know me.
The running community!!! Am I right?!?!
So I enjoyed my visit with the man for a few more minutes and then began running again for my last half mile. After all, I can do anything for half a mile, right?
As I came around a corner I saw a very welcome sight – Ann was waving and cheering at me! She ran the last bit of the race with me and pulled off at the finish line. There’s something about seeing a familiar face that knocks all the negative talk out of my head. She’s fantastic!
Even though I was hurting by the time I crossed the finish line, I was glad I did it. And the weird thing is that I was so concerned about my hip prior to the race, but my hip didn’t even bother me – my baby toe and my knee hurt – but not my hip. Weird body.
The walk back to Ann’s car was HARD. I was in quite a bit of pain. I was seriously doubting that I was even capable of doing a half marathon in the spring because the pain afterwards is not fun at all! But I knew that I wasn’t going to drop down to the 7K at that moment, but that I needed to wait until I saw how well I would recover from the 15k.
I was happy to listen to Ann’s chatter and see her so happy and feeling good after her race. She completely ROCKED the socks off it! I’m so proud of her. She was struggling mentally before the race so I was glad that she had a good run to remind her that she is strong and capable of anything.
Recovery is weird. When I got back to Ann’s house I forced myself to walk upstairs and do a good 20 minutes of yoga to calm my mind and keep me off the ledge of wanting to call Go! St. Louis right that minute and cancel my half marathon plans. I stretched. I breathed. I focused on how my body was feeling as I moved through my sequence. I breathed some more. I calmed my brain. Then I packed up my stuff and headed back downstairs to visit for a bit before heading home.
I felt so much better after my yoga. Not just my mind, but my body. My knee was still painful so I popped some Aleve before getting in the car. Sunday night I sat with an ice pack on my knee. Monday morning I took more Aleve. Today (Tuesday) I’m…fine. My knee is still stiff but doesn’t hurt. My hip is a little sore but doesn’t hurt. I feel fine. I ran 9.3 miles and two days later I’m fine. That is weird. It makes me feel like all the training and preparation I did was actually worthwile. It makes me feel like I’m stronger than I think I am. It makes me feel like I probably won’t die if I do a half marathon.
The rest of this month and half of next month is a recovery month. All things low impact. AND I scheduled an appointment with my husband’s chiropractor. I’m planning on not thinking about the half marathon for a FULL MONTH. We’ll see how that works out for me, but that’s the plan. Enjoy the holidays. Focus on recovering my body, mind, and soul. Heal. Remember why I love the game.
Overall. Good race. Glad I did it.