Good morning! I hope you all had an excellent 4th of July, whether you were celebrating Independence Day or not. Last week, I decided that I was ready to give racing a try and signed up for the local Percival’s Island 5 miler. It’s flat, fast and fun.
If you’re just now tuning in, I ruptured my Achilles tendon way back in December and worked long and hard to get to this point. I got back to running at around 16 weeks and made up my mind that I was just going to ENJOY running instead of being so damn goal oriented. I’ve mainly been a social runner and taking it easy, but the more I’ve been running, the more natural it’s starting to feel and the more I feel myself wanting to pick the pace up a little. I really miss racing for the competition and the camaraderie too, so combine that with feeling good and there you have it.
I haven’t been doing much running while holding anything close to race paces, so I felt like I needed to “feel it out” with a fast run a couple of days before the race. Public Runemy #1 Robbie was a willing partner to help me out. We ran 2 hard miles sandwiched between 2 easy miles. They were around a 7:00 mile pace and to be honest they felt harder than I remember them feeling. The tricky part is that it’s HOT (you may have heard). It’s hard to tell if the struggle is how out of shape I am or how miserably swampy the weather is. I think it’s both, really.
I was so nervous the night before the race. I had so much doubt and even some fear. It’s hard to forget the complete shock of a ruptured Achilles. The thought that one wrong move can cause such damage is tough to shake. Sure, the injury was a freak accident in a way, but there was a clear path to set it up to fail.
The morning of the race, I felt better. Friends help. People told me what I needed to hear. Seeing and chatting with other runners got me relaxed. I remembered that there’s no pressure at all for me to do well. I’m doing well just by running again.
Off we went in the sweltering, suffocating heat. I started out a bit too fast (surprise!) but got settled in after a quarter mile. I felt alive! For 2 miles, I held a 7:00 pace. Then came reality. Mile 3 was over 30 seconds slower, but felt no easier. The wheels were falling off. My unreasonable optimism sometimes causes me trouble. How could I think that after struggling through 8 miles last Saturday at an easy pace I’d be able to get through 5 miles at race pace?! Dummy.
Once I realized that I wasn’t going to be able to sustain what I’d started, I lost the drive to push through. I slowed down. I walked. I got passed by several runners that knew how to pace properly. Crap. Mile 4: 8:31
With less then a mile to go, I got passed by two more guys that looked about my age. I finally drew a line and decided not to let them beat me. I picked up quite a bit the last half mile and left those two guys behind me with a 7:46 mile 5, finishing strongly back at my 7:00 pace that I started with. I ended up finishing 33rd overall and 4th (I hate that) in my age group.
So there’s a video of the finish, which is pretty cool. My finish is tainted somewhat by the guy PUKING AT THE FINISH LINE, just before I come in. I wish I’d given that much effort. I’d feel better about myself.
I was pretty drained after the race…so I hydrated with some of the red, white and blue ribbon.
This race was good for me. I now know my current limits and I know that I don’t like them. I will change them.
Anybody else race yesterday? How’d it go?