Grand Slam 4 Miler – Louisville, KY (July 21, 2012)
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?