Race: Grand Slam 4 Miler
Place: Louisville, KY
Date: July 21, 2012
I admit…this is a race I probably ran better than I should have. When I say better…I mean faster. Because, from previous postings in this blog you will note that I have had some issues with my left foot. I have done much to make sure that I would be in form to run this weekend…including not running all week leading up to this race. But, alas…I woke up this morning and I still had minor pain. So, I hobbled myself over to the drawer where I keep my running gear, pulled out the athletic tape, and wrapped it up to give it some extra support.
In hindsight…I’m glad I did that.
I was already upset this morning because my foot was still bothering me, but, you just suck it up buttercup and do what you can with the cards you are dealt. I grabbed some water from the fridge to begin some morning-of-the-race hydration and got breakfast ready. Easy. Cereal. With unsweetened almond milk. My normal pre-race brekkies.
However, this was two hours ahead of race start time, so I knew I would burn through the cereal and be hungry…probably by the start or at least by the middle of the race. So, inside my gluten-free drawer of protein/granola/fruit goodness, I emerged with a Truebar by Bakery on Main. It’s a chewy, gooey fruit and nut bar. I had never had one before and…ooops…this one was flavored with chai…so it had a bit of a spice to it. Not what you want pre-run…but that will teach me to read labels before just grabbing and hurrying out the door to the race.
I finished getting ready for the race, got my number pinned on, and made sure I had my iPod and my Garmin. Then it was out the door because who knew what traffic going into Louisville would be like.
The ride to Slugger Field in Louisville, Kentucky was easy. Seriously. No traffic hold-ups. No problems. The biggest issue of the morning was deciding on whether to park in the street or a lot. We finally chose a lot that was labeled as Private, but all the runners seemed to be parking there regardless. We are lemmings. We followed what everyone else was doing.
The tables were just getting set up for race day packet pick-up, and we had just about an hour before the race started. Cathy and I headed into Louisville Slugger Field because I wanted to use the restroom…you know…one with running water and toilets that flush (PRINCESS!). With that done, we went back down to street level and stood by the gate where we talked and I began to stretch.
That’s when Keith showed up. I know, because we had arranged that he would text me so we could meet up before the race. So, his text came through and I told him where we were standing. Moments later…there he was. It is so nice to know another runner in the race. This is the second race that Keith and I have been able to line up together in. The other was the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini Marathon. I see him on Monday’s at my fun run at BlueMile in the Highlands of Louisville too. Keith and I have a lot in common, so we were fast friends after I joined the running group. Now it’s a matter of me being able to get to Louisville in time to make the fun runs on Monday. But…that’s a different rant.
We stretched, talked running shoes, and races we were thinking of running or have already signed up for. We’re both running in races next weekend…but different ones. He’s doing the Waterfront Challenge 5K Urban Obstacle Run while I am doing The Color Run (basically, I get paint powder thrown on me in this race…awesome!). So, different races. But, we talked about other options coming up that we both were interested in doing. It really made time fly and before we knew it…we were being asked to line up as we had 10 minutes to race start.
I gave Cathy a hug and she wished me luck and told me to take it easy. I agreed. And she went to go get situated for the start of the race while Keith and I chose a good spot to start…sort of near the front-middle of the pack of runners. There were just under 500 finishers in this race, so it was a decent size, although both Keith and I thought there would be more people. I prepped my Garmin and my iPod and the announcer said that we would get a “Runner’s ready…” And then the horn.
That’s exactly what we got. And we were off. The slow trot up to the start line was easy. It was when I crossed the start line and, as usual, went to take off, that my foot began to bother me. Right there. With the first step. I was so not happy with that. In this instance, it meant that I had to shorten my stride and figure out a good way to land without repeating the incident from the Activate America 5 Miler back in 2011. I slowed my pace and was doing this strange hobble, step sort of run. And that’s how it worked…for four miles. Mile one was easy, it seemed. But then as the second mile came on, there were some inclines. Those were particularly hard on my left foot. I didn’t power through them as I usually try to…I just tried to keep a good pace without pushing too much. Mile 3…same thing. Mile 4…same. My entire goal was to not be limping across the finish line. This also meant, despite knowing the finish line was right ahead…no all-out pick-up-the-pace and get there sprint at the end. None of that. I just…kept on at where I was and that’s the pace I crossed at.
I was handed some water and the man who handed me the bottle stopped me so he could read my headband. Today’s race headband said, “Find Your Happy Pace.” I love that saying…and for today’s race I found it very appropriate. I made my way over to where Cathy was standing and we began watching for Keith. He had stuck with me through the first mile…but after that I lost him. I knew he wouldn’t be too far behind me. And I was absolutely right. When we saw him round that corner, both Cathy and I started shouting and cheering him on. And as he crossed, I went to go high-five him…and we both grabbed water and made our way over to the curb to sit and relax…and try to cool down. While the morning was a lot cooler than it had been, it heated up fast out there.
We sat there, discussed the race, our paces, and how we felt we did. We re-hydrated. I took off my shoe and unwrapped my foot, giving it a bit of a massage before easing it back into my running shoe. Finally, we decided that we would move on as all of us had things we needed to get done that day. For me…first stop meant brunch at Wild Eggs.
Anyway…as we got up, Cathy and Keith began to meander off. I went to take a step and just stinging, hot pain went through my foot. I was paralyzed right there from it. I tried again, and had the same result. I was stuck…and they were walking away. Cathy did turn around and came over to help me move. She let me cling to her as I got moving. And once I got moving, it hurt, but at least I could keep moving. It was when I stopped…or sat for long periods of time that the pain would start up when I stood up or tried to move again.
But…I was a trooper. We got to Wild Eggs and I was going to go in and put our names in…but my Sketchers I changed into were worse on my feet than my running shoes. So, after Cathy parked and helped me get inside…we got our names in and went to the bathroom so I could change out of my running clothes and into street clothes. I made a decision to do what I never do…and that was just wear my running shoes today. Why? They are stability shoes…so while it still hurt…my foot could at least tolerate me standing, walking, etc. in these. So, the rest of the day, I had trouble getting going after sitting at a table or in the car, but once I was up and moving…I was fine.
Upon arriving at home though and after making a grueling climb up the stairs to my apartment…I went to take off my shoes. And that’s when the issues started. I could hardly put weight on my foot. It was excruciating pain when I even tried. So, I crawled out to the living room and went to put some items we had purchased away. When I couldn’t stand up to do it…we decided something was wrong. So…my foot has been up and becoming friends with every ice pack in the apartment on rotation. And I’m taking it very easy and downing Ibuprofen. It doesn’t hurt to press hard on my foot or anything…only for me to put my weight on it. SUCKS!
So…I’m down for the count for the time being. I’m hoping that resting it and taking it easy will make make it easier to move around on. So, cross your fingers and send good heeling thoughts my way. For now…I’m off to soak my feet in Epsom salts. Here goes nothing…or something…like healing.
That being said…my official race results are that I finished the Grand Slam 4 Miler in 34:22. That’s way better than I thought I would given my injury heading into the race. I was 139/489 overall and I was 5th/38 in my division. Not too bad for the injured girl, yes?
Dear Left Foot:
I don’t know what more I can do for you. Ever since you were hurt, I have done my best to take care of you and get you back into running form. But you are fighting me with every step. I have bathed you in Icy-Hot. I have rested you on an ice pack. I have given you gentle massages. I have kept you elevated. I have even stopped running. And you know how much I hate not running. I’ve sacrificed for you in hopes of getting some compensation and a little relief in return.
But tomorrow is a 4 mile race I have been really looking forward to running. And you still aren’t better. I’ve done all I can for you and said prayers to the running gods that each morning I’ll wake up and take a step…and not feel pain.
But you have let me down each and every morning since the injury occurred.
I know runners have the mantra to run through the pain…well…tomorrow that is what I will have to do. Slowly. Easily. The very things I hate doing during a race.
I’m starting to wonder if my plan to really push myself on a race will ever come to be.
So…I ask again…before I rise to get the ice pack for one more night…please…please feel better in the morning.
I have my athletic tape ready in case you protest…but I’d really like to be able to move without limping or wincing. And I’d really like to…RUN!
So, please…have a little mercy on the runner who has taken some mercy on you.
Please? I bought you new running shoes last weekend…that should be incentive enough…
With my sincerest hope and gratitude:
Anyone who knows me and has seen me this past week will know that I am not a happy girl. How could I not be happy, you might wonder. I mean, on Saturday I purchased brand new running shoes. That would make any runner happy, yes?
But not me. Not right now.
Why, you might inquire, am I miserable? Because I haven’t been able to run.
It happened…again. My roommate followed me too close and when I had to stop as someone stepped in front of me, her foot came down on the back of my shoe and tugged my Achilles again. AGAIN!!! At first I tried to lessen my speed and intensity…but the pain wasn’t getting any better. So, I had to make a conscious, and difficult decision, to rest.
Yeah…I’m moody now. My runs mean more to me than anything. I’m hard at training and now…for the second time…for the same reason as before…I’m sitting on the bench. And here I sit with weekends of races ahead of me, including a 4-miler this Saturday. I’ve been taking Ibuprofen like it’s crack and icing my foot whenever possible…but it just won’t get better. My mornings at the gym have been delegated to the weights and the elliptical. UGH!! Let me run!!
I hate it. I hate every moment of not being able to run. Every synapse in my brain tells me to just do it…and then the logical part kicks in and tells me…if I rest it…it will get better…faster. Well, I’ve been resting it and while the pain has subsided some, I feel like every muscle from my left calf down to the bottom of my heel (and sometimes through the arch) is tight now because I’ve been trying to compensate for the soreness in the heel. UGH. So, I’m now making an even bigger conscious effort to not limp and not baby my foot. The problem is…it still hurts. And the longer the pain lasts, the more concerned I get about Saturday’s race and the unhappier I become.
I’m not in a good place right now. The elliptical machine does not make me happy. My 35 minutes are better spent running than gliding back and forth on a machine. It’s not the same. It’s fantastic cross training…but it’s not the same. It doesn’t feel the same. It’s not…the run.
The Grand Slam 4 Miler is taking place downtown this weekend…and I’ll be there. I just hope I can put forth some effort in this run. I ran one hell of a 4 mile race this past winter and I was hoping to see how this compared. I’m thinking my pace will be slow…my effort easy…and I’ll just have to wait until the next one.
And yes…this once again…makes me unhappy. It literally pisses me off. I hate being injured. Yes…it was an accident, but being sidelined again for being stepped on again is not an easy pill for me to swallow. I want my run. I want to get out there and do what I love to do more than anything in this world. And when I can’t…when I have to sit here with my foot on an ice pack, praying that the running gods will have mercy on me and get me back into form by Saturday morning…it’s hard to feel confident. I want to train. I want to be out on that road, feeling that pavement under my feet, or…hell…finally properly seeing what my new running shoes can do.
Frustrated doesn’t begin to explain how I feel. I’m upset. I’m sad. I’m missing my run.
I just need to run.
So…another day of rest, more ice, and a shot of Ibuprofen in the morning, noon, and at dinner. Maybe, at least, by Saturday, I can walk without a limp. Or better yet…make some attempt at a lope…if not a jog. But a run? Would that be asking too much?
I hope not. Because the call of the road is constant…and my running shoes are begging for some pavement to beat.
I guess we’ll just see how it goes…
Race: The Great Buffalo Chase 5K
Place: Frankfort, KY
Date: July 4, 2012
Okay…I’m going to admit it. I’m more than a little ticked at the official results for The Great Buffalo Chase 5K race. Why? Because according to my Garmin, I finished at 24:59, as opposed to the 25:01 I’m listed under. But…what can you do? You have to go off the official, even though I started my Garmin when the air horn blew and stopped it after I crossed the finish. Whatever. It wasn’t going to be a new PR anyway, but I’m sort of protective of that sub-24 minute I set. I’ll let it slide this time as it was around 86 degrees out and extremely humid that morning.
Happy 4th of July!! Get out of bed early, despite dealing with neighbors setting off fireworks (during a ban) into the wee hours of the night, and get in the car to get to Frankfort, Kentucky. That was what happened. The full moon was still shining down on us as my roommate and I stepped out into the heavy, moist air that morning and packed up the car for our little sojourn to Frankfort (again). I was more than a little tired and was nowhere near awake as we drove to Buffalo Trace Distillery, the start and finish of the annual Great Buffalo Chase 5K.
I knew this race was going to be bigger than most in the Frankfort area, because cash prizes were being waved. BIG cash prizes. Like…come in first and win $3000. Yeah…like that. So it was no surprise to arrive to a line of traffic, some very fit runners, and the ‘Kenyan”-types (who basically won it all). Sure, I had dreams of winning that cash for myself, but…I’m not that fast of a runner. I was looking at the previous year times and the winner came in at 16 minutes and change. At 16 minutes, exactly, I was at Mile 2.
The other plan was to just run the hell out of this race. Just push myself as hard as I could possibly manage and find out just what I can do during a 5K race. I sometimes feel I just glide through and don’t really challenge myself at races until that last mile. If I did it more during the first part, I might actually see some progress. But the heat, humidity, and excessive heat index took away that option as well. The best thing to do was to just run a smart, good, fun race.
And that’s what I ended up doing in the end.
But…we’ll get there. First…upon arrival, I headed to the Visitor Center of the Buffalo Trace Distillery to get my packet. The line in there was rather crazy, but it didn’t move too slowly. It might have taken about 10 minutes total to get through the line and get my packet and t-shirt. I snagged a sip of water from the water cooler before heading out to get my number pinned on and head out to stretch out my limbs, not just from the morning car ride, but to prepare for the race.
There wasn’t too much time to do that though. No sooner had I started that the race director was on a bullhorn telling runners to head to the starting line as the race would be starting in 15 minutes. Wow. Okay. Minor stretching done…both Cathy and I started to trek toward where the start would be. We had a lot of people behind us too as well as in front of us. Big race…you betcha!
No time for niceties at the start line either. I got a good luck hug from my roommate and went to find a place in the mass of runners lining up. I went back a little way, then realized there was no timing chip on this race…so I moved up as close as I dared and stayed there through the announcements and the instructions on our start. I got my Garmin working on finding its satellites and then worried with my iPod. I got both prepped just in time, because we heard “Runners ready…” And then…an air horn blast sent us off for the race.
This was a relatively flat out-and-back 5K race. There were some very minor rolling hills, but no steep inclines to sap your energy. Instead, the heat would do that. So thank God we only had to deal with one and not both.
The first mile of the race is around the warehouses buildings located inside the distillery grounds. They took extra precautions to cover up tracks that run through there so no runners would trip or get their foot stuck. I appreciated that effort. After hit the the warehouse area, we head out onto the roads and begin to make our way around the beautiful ponds via the roads around Buffalo Trace Distllery. Mile 1 came and went and I was making better time than I anticipated.
As I made my way toward Mile 2, we ran over a rolling country hill and headed back in toward the warehouses. And this is where it gets evil, friends. The race actually rounds back around two warehouse buildings, which leads runners right past where the finish line is sitting and waiting. The crowd waiting there was awesome and shouted out support for everyone as they began to make their way back around and out of the parking lot to head back the way we all came and back toward the distillery one more time.
As I was making my way into Mile 3, I was nearing the end. And as I ran over a bridge, I passed a young boy who was wheezing heavily in the heat of the morning. I asked if he was okay and he said he’d be fine. At his wave to continue on I went. And I pushed it as much as I could toward the finish line. Like I said, it was hot and heat just saps me of any push at the end. I gave it what I could muster and crossed that finish line.
As I mentioned, there were no timing tags on this race, so we had to stay in line and hand over the bottom part of our race bibs in the order we came in. I stopped my Garmin watch as I crossed the finish and it read 24:59. But…official results had something to say about that. But after I handed over my number, I made my way over to where there was some ice cold water waiting, grabbed a bottle and downed it. I was dripping sweat from the heat and just needed to cool down. But I had places to be, unfortunately, so no time to really cool down and dry off. I grabbed my running bag and went into the bathroom to try to mop myself down and get changed. I managed.
More water was downed as I came back outside and then I posed with the buffalo statue. Racers were still coming in. An ambulance pulled up as we were preparing to leave. Apparently a female runner pushed too hard in the oppressive heat that morning and they were coming to check on her. Cathy and I bid adieu to the race and headed out for the rest of the day in Lexington, Kentucky…which involved gluten-free pasta for me for lunch at a local Italian place and a showing of The Amazing Spiderman at the movie theater there. It was a good day.
It took an entire day to get the official results, but they were finally posted. So, officially, my results for The Great Buffalo Chase 5K are that I finished in 25:01 (2 seconds off of my official Garmin time). I was 129/612 overall. And I was 6th in my division. Not too shabby given the heat that day and how tired I was at the start of the race. I was really hoping to just run a hard race and push myself, but with how hot it was, I had to run it smart and save that experiment for another time.
And already…I hope to go back next year and do it again. Fantastic race. I had a blast.