Running consistently this spring had been my hope, my dream, but as the semester has worn on the new schedule that started 5 weeks ago is not working for working out. I finally said to hell with it and signed up for the Hermes 10 miler earlier in the week. I hadn't raced a 10-miler since my anemia had been fixed and a PR was pretty much guaranteed, even if I had the worst day of running in 2010.
I had managed four runs this week before the race and of all the things to happen after missing a week of running due to the stomach flu, my bad hamstring had now decided to act up. I mean it was a tweaky, nagging "I am gonna mess your whole fucking day up if you mess with me" type of pain. I had paid for the race so I couldn't drop. It was suggested I do it as a "training" run/race, but I don't do that. I know many people do, but I don't. It's a race you race. You run the best race you can. Running a "training" run just sets me up to fail or gives me an excuse to ease up, plus I believe my body needs to always understand in a race if it hurts that's okay it's supposed to, but it has to keep going. Also, it's not as important, but I am not going to spend money pussyfooting to just jog. I can do that at home -- for free.
I got to the race a little after 7:00am, so I could find a parking spot and get in a good warm-up for my leg. I decided I wasn't going to wear my watch, so I wouldn't get upset at my splits if my hamstring started bothering me and right there it was. I was setting myself up to fail! I do that a lot. I fret I will fail myself and not meet the goals I set. My mom calls it wasted energy. I call it a bad habit. I pondered my situation and my forethoughts about racing that day and concluded that I would wear the watch, take my splits, run a good pace through the first 5 miles, see how the leg was feeling and go from there. I didn't plan to look at my watch the entire race. Just run what felt "right." I resolved to do the best I could, even if that meant I wasn't happy at the outcome of my race.
The race had sold out with over about 2,000 people and it was a very tight start. I saw GP with her awesome pink socks that would go so well with my racing outfit just before the start, but couldn't find Salty, E-speed or Red. I searched for about :35 before I decided I should get a move on.
The first mile was really tight and I did have to run around lots of people. Not a big deal. It helped hold me back from going too fast and blowing myself up. The first mile seemed to take the longest for some reason that day. Looking back at my first mile it was 7:36.
I settled in fairly quickly, maybe too quickly as mile 2 was 7:20, but I didn't know because I wasn't looking at my watch. It felt fine so I just went with it. The hamstring was doing okay. Nothing unmanageable, but I definitely was running cautiously. Had I had a marathon today, I would not have toed the line. I would never have been able to run the whole thing, but 10 miles was doable.
On my way to mile 3 I was focusing on a girl just a bit ahead of me who looked very sharp in her running gear. I closed the gap until I finally passed her and then she said "Hi Beth!" I turned and saw it was AS!! I hadn't seen her or her hubby in forever. She looked great. She was getting ready to run the Cleveland marathon again this spring. I said "hi" back and asked if she was prepping for the Cleveland marathon. She nodded and I told her good luck and moved on. There were some mats down, but no mile marker. I split my watch anyway. It said 6:50, but :35 later I saw the 3 mile marker.
Mile 4 was somewhere near th e unlikable hairpin turnaround. I would have preferred looping a block, but a big orange cone was all I got. I counted about 47 girls in front of me, so perhaps to 50. I hoped that would improve as the race went on and it did ... for a little bit. I finally saw e-speed and salty running together and I had a big smile on my face as I frantically waved to them. I missed the mile marker for 4, but saw 5 at the relay point. Total together it was 15:13. I was at 37:34 at the half. That was about what I had hoped for the first half with my leg. The original goal was as close to 1:14:00 as possible, but I added 2 minutes to the goal for the bum leg.
Mile 6 had me struggling a bit. The wind may have acted up a hair and I felt sluggish and unfocused all at once it seemed. I tried to run behind a bigger gentleman for a bit, but it was too much of a struggle to run behind him and stay relaxed. I was wondering if maybe I went out too fast or if it was maybe a false flat or a small headwind, maybe a combination. Either way I ran 7:43 for that mile.
It seemed I got picked up by a co-ed pack at this time and we were all running fairly well together and the thought that I might be able to run this race even up crossed my mind, but then about a half mile in I felt a twinge of pain. Immediately, I was bummed. I became keenly more alert of my leg from that point on. I slowed and tried to shorten my already short stride even more. I acknowledged my pain and the fact that I was going to slow down, but I reminded myself if it was okay and my body would still be able to run through it, just a bit slower now. Mile 7 was 7:57. Looking back, I am so glad I didn't look at my splits. It would not have put me in a good state of mind.
The pain had not been that sharp intense searing pain like last year when I tore it. I have run with tweaky hammys before so after a few minutes I tried to regain some of my speed, however right before mile 8, I reached a little too far out in front of me with my leg and BAM! I felt a short stabbing pain down my hamstring. I stumbled a little bit, but regained my balance with the next step. I had made it 8 miles before my hammy had started to deteriorate on me. I wasn't happy, but I wan't too sad. I knew something like this might happen. Mile 8 was 7:48.
I couldn't really extend my leg too far in front of me or lift it very high at all after that. I took tons and tons of babysteps as fast as I could. I couldn't get them to turnover fast enough. I looked like Bill Murray in the movie "Stripes" with his squad on graduation day doing their "boom-shacklacka--boom" march, except I didn't have anybody yelling "why did the chicken cross the road?" or "Hoo--Rah!!" Mile 9 was never ending. My breathing was way too easy and I felt like I was moving so slow. I thought for sure it would be a 9:00 minute mile. It was 7:55.
Just as I was passing the 9 mile marker 2 girls passed me and so did this guy with a red dri-fit shirt on that said "You just got rocked!!" I was all pissed off then. I thought "Rock this mother*&^#$!!!" I had all this end of race energy and anger and I couldn't run. I had tried to run through it last year, but it had ripped and then I didn't run again for 3 months, so, I just kept boom-shackalacka-booming my way to through the last mile. The race wound down a bike path and into the lower edge of the park where it loops around to finish by the concession stand, avoiding the hill to the top. I managed to pick up a few seconds on the downhill and as I came around to the finish I kept the pace steady, no kick needed. I had controlled myself as best I could, but I knew if it came down to the finsih and a girl tried to run by me I would take the bait and go. My pride would not tolerate a rundown at the line. Thankfully, that didn't happen though and I gingerly trotted to a last mile of 7:22. I asked GP if her garmin said the last mile was short and she said yes about .06 -- I knew it!
My total time was 1:16:22. A 6-minute PR. GP also got a PR and Salty should have had a video of her finish made as she blew by runner after runner with her 32+ preggo belly coming down the last couple hundred meters. I know runners had to be groaning as she passed them....hahaha...good for her!!! She would certainly win olympic gold if they had some preggers track and field events!
E-speed was kind enough to give me her jacket afte the race since I was freezing for the first time ever and then GP drove me back up to my truck so I didn't have to walk. Gotta love the GFs!! All in all the day could have gone much worse. My hamstring could have stopped me dead in my tracks and the boom-shackalacka-boom, could have just been a big caboom, followed by a walk-shackalacka-walk to the finish.