Wednesday, September 19, 2012

On the Mend

After 4 weeks of acupuncture, resting, icing, stretching, taping, and resting some more I'm finally starting to feel like myself again.  This past weekend I ran a 5K on Saturday for American Cancer Society.  It was at Boston College.  Driving there took me down a familiar road through Newton and over my favorite hills in the world.  I drove over the 30K painted on the pavement and smiled.  Found the race and parked.  I got there early, got my number and shirt and brought my bag back to my car.  It was overcast and cool, a perfect morning for a run.  I kind of didn't feel like running and the waiting around before the race was annoying.  I was kind of wishing I had just done a short run at home instead, but I was there I might as well run.  The urge to bail and get in my car and go home was strong, but I lined up and the gun went off and I ran.
The course was pretty flat.  It went through a few streets on the BC campus and around the reservoir.  I was a little hesitant to push myself at first because I wasn't sure how my foot would react.  The first mile was on pavement, but the pavement ran out and around the reservoir was crushed stone and sand, ideal for most runners, but it made me nervous because uneven surfaces are exactly what bothers my foot the most.  I felt ok.  My foot was fine, I just had a little tightness in my calves and hamstrings, but that faded as I passed the 2nd mile marker and then I decided to push a little for the last mile.  It wasn't my fastest 5K ever, but it was probably the fastest I have run recently.  I averaged just over a 9:00 pace and paced it perfectly.  I think I had about a 9:30 in the first mile, then a 9:15 and just under 9:00 for the last mile.  I'll take it.

I finished and tried to get to the water and refreshments, but there was a ridiculous line and it was not really well set up.  It was crammed in a corner that was not easy to see or get to so I remembered I had water in my car and said, "eff this" and left.  Turns out I should have hung around because I got 3rd place in my age group.  Not because I was really fast but because there weren't that many 30-39 female runners.  I think the majority of the field was under 25.  Oh and I passed some of them walking about a mile into the race, by the look of their build/physique I'd guess they were basketball players.  Good at short bursts of energy, but not so much with the longer distances.  I wanted to yell at them as I passed that I was at least 10 years older than them, had just completed a half ironman and I was kicking their butts, but I figured they were ashamed enough.

I made a quick pitstop at Trader Joes on my way home, just to pick up a few things.  First mistake - I didn't have a list or anything in particular in mind.  Second mistake - I hadn't eaten breakfast and after running the race it was now almost lunchtime and I was starving.  I tried my usual technique of only using a basket and not a shopping cart because it limits the amount of stuff I can buy to how much I can carry.  Well, that didn't really help that much.  I still ended up buying a ton of stuff I didn't need and lots of not really healthy "snacks" and various chocolate covered treats.  When everythign was rung up and bagged the total came to just under $100.  So much for a quick pitstop for a few small things.

Sunday I was registered for the Nahant 30K, but I decided to skip it and do a shorter long run near home.  There really was no good reason to do 18.6 miles.  I know based on finishing the half ironman that my endurance will be fine for the marathon and putting that much distance on my foot at this point only risks doing more damage than good.  I don't need any more race shirts and don't really need another medal.  Registtration was only $30 so I wasn't really losing much money by skipping it so I felt good with my decision.

I got dressed and ate some breakfast and loaded up my fuel belt for 10-12 miles.  I have a lollipop loop that goes out up a big hill into the back roads of Andover and through relatively flat neighborhoods around a loop that I can do multiple times to add on 2 miles per loop depending on how I'm feeling so I figured that was a good plan.  I could do 8 or 10 if I wasn't feeling great and could make it 12 or 14 if I felt great.  I started out and within the first mile I was feeling great.  I had some speed back and with that my confidence.  I passed the stop sign at the end of my street that is sort of my litmus test for how a run is going to go based on what my watch says when I pass it and it was really good.

Three miles out and heading into the loop of the lollipop I felt amazing.  I was averaging right around my goal marathon pace and my foot didn't hurt, my muscles were loosening up and I settled into a great rhythm.  I did the first loop and felt awesome so I added another loop.  I had enough fuel and water with me to go further, but I decided to err on the side of caution and end on a good note.  I headed back towards home with a great big smile on my face - I'M BACK!  In the last two miles I did start to slow a little and I got a little chaffing that started to irritate me and ruin the great run, but I still finished strong and ended up with 12.75 miles done.
I showered and ate some lunch and jumped in my car to go to my friend Jenine's Fitness Studio open house. I was bringing flyers to promote the stair climb and hoping that some of the clients that did the Fire Fighter bootcamp would sign up.  There was a lot going on and a ton of people trickling through all afternoon.  It was hard to get people to notice the stair climb flyers on the table buried under all the other information that was there so I grabbed a stack and worked the crowd.  I hope that she gets a giant team together this year.  The biggest attraction at the open house was a lemonade stand that Jenine's girls set up.  They made a killing selling 'fresh' (from trader joes) organic lemonade and produce from their garden. 

I was there for about 5 hours just walking around talking to people and promoting the stair climb so by the time I got home I was exhausted.  BUT my foot felt fine!  The only thing I noticed was something I haven't felt in a while, my legs were actually a little sore from the run.  Guess I should have done an ice bath.  I welcomed the soreness though because even though my body ached my heart was happy knowing that I had gotten over a big obstacle and continued my journey.  I am on the road to recovery from this little hurdle and confident that things will go well in only 18 days when I run my 11th marathon in Chicago.

Tough part now is the taper and the struggle once again to find things to do with my downtime.  Lucky for my co-workers it probably means I will do some baking and bring in cookies and banana bread and other yumminess for them to enjoy.  It's fall finally too so I'll be making some hearty soups and stews.  Maybe go apple picking and carve a pumpkin.  I LOVE this time of year.

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