Snap Back to Reality, Oh There Goes Gravity – My First Try at Racing Again

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

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Definitely some pain in that face.

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.

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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?

26 Replies to “Snap Back to Reality, Oh There Goes Gravity – My First Try at Racing Again”

  1. We all struggled yesterday! Thanks for including our training run! I love being run enemy #1. But together we are definitely better. We will get us some quality miles in soon and help you and me! Nice write up man! I enjoy them.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Nice job even if it wasn’t totally what you wanted it to be! There was a 5 miler I had contemplated running on July 4th but given the temperatures (and the fact that the course is entirely in the sun, no shade) I was glad I just went for a 6 mile group run on a fairly shaded trail instead. Not to mention while I can run 5 miles I don’t feel like I can race them at this point and I hate paying for a race if I’m not going to actually race it. I’m running a 5k on July 21st that I’m not even sure I’ll be at the pace I want to be (also weather dependent of course) but my dad wanted to run it and offered to pay so well see how it goes!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This summer’s heat and humidity on the east coast has been killer for runners. Nice job! Your comment about the guy puking at the race cracked me up “I wish I’d given that much effort. I’d feel better about myself.” lol.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! I know it’s funny, but in a way it’s true. I often have thoughts where I wonder if I could have pushed a little harder or given a little more. When you puke, there’s no doubt that you did all that you could.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Does the fact that I’ve never puked at the end of a race indicate I’ve never tried hard enough then? I did hyperventilate twice at the end of a 300 hurdle race in high school… first time I was just so focused on beating the girl next to me (which I did) that the athletic trainer said I must’ve just held my breath. The second time I was a self fulfilling prophecy, so concerned about doing it again that I did!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hyperventilating is a pretty good indicator that you worked hard! I’ve never done that. I haven’t ever puked during a race either. It’s one of those things that I’m 95% joking about.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Congrats on your first “race” back! 5 mile races are no joke and neither is July 4 heat and humidity. You did a great job, everyone has to start somewhere and everyone has to start over somewhere, too. You had the courage to get out there and push the pace when a lot of people would not have.

    And yeah, PBR is good for hydration and that’s about it because that’s not a good beer! I hope you had a good craft beer at some point to make up for it :).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks 😀

      I have a soft spot in my heart for PBR. It’s my favorite of all the cheap domestics. Don’t worry, I definitely tapped into some yummy craft beer too.

      Like

  6. Oh my god I am cracking up at that finish line video!! That poor guy obviously had no clue there was a camera there or he’d have taken five more steps to do that out of view.
    Well you’re back to racing, even if it’s not as fast — yet — as before the injury, so you’re moving in the right direction. Congrats!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I see — if I had to pick, honestly I’d go with Rehoboth. Can’t beat the after party, and you know there’s already going to be a ton of Loopsters there!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes those are for sure factors! The cheapskate in me loves free lodging and less travel costs. Definitely a tough call.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. First, congrats! Second, seriously, you never have a dull race, LOL!!!

    I totally feel you on the not knowing if it’s heat or just out of shape that’s causing the struggle bus. I took a long break after my BQ and am now back at it but nowhere near feeling as confident as before (or hitting my paces, ha!)

    Liked by 1 person

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