I went into Sunday’s 10K with very low expectations. Honestly, there were a few occasions last week where I imagined myself walking off the course at certain points. Mostly because I don’t feel I can trust my body right now. Mainly the muscles and tendons in my hamstring and calf at the back of the knee.
And at times I thought it unwise to race. Like on Wednesday morning after a great track workout, when my “knee” (but not really my knee, just around my knee) started to get cranky. Sore. Achy. Then some pain. I walked back to my car unable to finish the mile cool down.
Fastforward to Thursday (no running) and my PT visit and he thinks it is the popoliteus muscle deep in the calf. Since the onset of any discomfort or pain seems to stem from trail running, uneven surfaces and down hill running. We work it. I do my PT exercises. Ask him what he thinks of racing. And decide I’ll go for it and drop out at any sign of discomfort. Which is exactly what I pictured happening: me walking off the very hilly course after running down hill too fast.
Friday and Saturday’s runs were perfect: comfortable, strong. Ok. I thought. Sunday is a risk. But its one I have thought through and am completely willing to take. It could a) be totally fine or b) be painful and lead to more pronounced or serious injury that would prevent me from doing Reach the Beach and the CHaD Half Marathon. In short, a DISASTER. I was fully aware of potential consequences.
I have a tendency to over exaggerate injuries and think they are the end of the world. This knee thing has been getting progressively better, but at the same time as it gets better I do more. Which isn’t the most conducive to healing the body. So yes it isn’t as painful as it was at the beginning of June, but no it’s not completely healed.
To my surprise scenario a) was my experience on Sunday. It.was.totally.fine. And I wasn’t proved to be a fool. I took a calculated risk and am grateful that I did. I ran a strong race on a tough course, PR’d and came in 3rd overall winning a pretty sweet belt buckle and $50.
Here’s about how it went:
It wasn’t an easy race, but I felt pretty smooth and relatively confident. I was able to quiet the doubt of not feeling like I could finish strong and really push through the hard hills. Going into the race I was worried I didn’t have enough of a base for it to feel “easy” or “smooth” and I think this is true. Racing is never “easy” but there is a certain “ease” you have when your body is well trained and fully prepared, and I didn’t have that “ease” today. It was hard work and I felt like I had to fight for the pace that I ran. A much different feeling than the 5 Miler I ran in April.
I am happy to have a PR though, I bested last years time of 44:20 by more than two minutes–and that one came on an equally hilly course. I think it’s time to find a flat 10K.
And the race itself, even though it was the first year ever run, was exceptionally well organized by the folks at SIXo3 Endurance. There were clear directions along the course, plenty of water stops and the post race festivities included cold beer, massages, free frozen yogurt popsicles and protein shakes.
I’d say our whole family prefers a race where there are activities for kids: a playground or a fun run. This didn’t have either of those. My husband had his work cut out for him watching Jack; Sophia just goes around and makes friends and plays with whoever will play with her. She rattled off about 6 or 8 names of “new friends” she had made. But despite the lack of kids activities I think they still had fun.
I also ran into my friend Angela who blogs at HappyFitMama.com and her cadet, Kailey from the Saucony 26 Strong Project (check out their profiles, they are Team 12) right before the race and then saw Angela and her cute family after. She also ran a PR which is no small feat on such a tough course! Congrats Angela!
Did you race this weekend? What distance? How was it?
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