I arrived almost an hour before the start and it was pretty dead and then I remembered the 5 mile (which was the big draw) started 45 minutes after my race. I scored a parking spot right by the start and headed over to get my packet.
The local running company that puts on this race had been where I first started dabbling in road racing years ago, but as of late they were not gaining many points with me, seeming to be more about entertainment and the experience than the actual race part. Their courses had become notorious for being short, seemed to keep downtown Cleveland (and Marginal Road) at it's epicenter and become a little disorganized (last time I had run a race I had not had an official time and had to email the RD). I walked up to the pre-registration table to get my packet and they couldn't find my bib. I was sent to the timing table where I explained the problem and pulled up my confirmation email. They gave me a new bib and a large shirt. I told them I was a small and they said they had me marked down for a large. I informed them I would never order a large. They then said if I wanted a small I had to head upstairs for assistance. As I headed upstairs, I debated saying to hell with it -- did I really need another shirt? Needless to say I got the shirt after a few minutes of trying to clarify the issue and was back at my car.
I realized our team picture was at 9:10, but my race was at 9:00 and there was just no way I would make it. Bummed I would miss the pic, I texted DaisyDuc the bad news before heading out for a 15 minute warm-up.
|I was there in TBH spirit! Photo credit: https://twitter.com/ESpeed77|
I started only a few rows back from the front and still had to go around walkers and slower runners. I focused on trying to hold back and push my hips forward, while trying to keep my core tight. I was working from the start and when we turned off the bridge to run down W. 3rd my legs felt heavy. I was probably only a 1/2 mile in and getting tired, by 3/4 mile I could feel I was starting to blow-up. My goal was to run with good form (If it went bad I would make myself walk. I was not going to undo all the work I had done to fix my foot) and hopefully break 8:00/miles. As we approached the first mile marker I heard 7 minutes!!! Holy hell, no wonder I felt so bad. I wasn't ready for that pace. I had only seen that pace for 3 minutes at a time in January on the treadmill with recovery breaks in between. My saving grace thought "well at least you don't feel this bad running 8:00/mile."
In a brief moment of weakness while I was tired, but still maintaining proper form I debated doing my old turtle shuffling to recover, just for a short bit. The voice of pride in my head quickly lost to the voice of reason "what are you an idiot? do you want to hurt your foot some more?" My mind made up I began suffering back up and over the bridge. The race was half over and it was literally all downhill after I crested this last incline. I was suffering, but passing people as I pushed up the bridge. Although, the bridge was slowing me down, I forced myself to slow down more. I was tired, my form was about to drop. This race was not worth me getting hurt. My lungs were burning and so was my nose (Since my surgery, if I run hard my nose will start burning and then throbbing like someone hit me in the tip of it. It usually subsides after about 5 minutes of walking around. I think it's all the blood flowing and putting pressure on those tender areas that aren't quite healed yet) I tried to open up my legs on the down hill, but they were like lead. This is so fun right? As I neared the church, lots of people were cheering and when I rounded the corner I saw all my teammates screaming and cheering just for me. I smiled and let my legs carry me down the hills to the finish. I couldn't get into another gear and with about a quarter mile to go I decided to hold pace and stop fighting, just to take it all in and enjoy running pain free again.
|Probably couldn't have taken a worse running pic, if I tried :) Photo credit: hermescleveland|
I made the final turn and instinctively started trying to push when I saw I could run under 14:30. I figured I had 5 seconds on the clock from the chip timed start. I hustled in at 14:30 on the dot. My Garmin had 14:25. Yikes, almost :20 seconds slower for the second mile and my Garmin had beeped almost a 100 meters after the first mile marker. Total distance 1.96 miles. I am pretty conscientious about running the tangents, so if I had to guess the course was probably a hair short (I guess we each have to decided for ourselves how important that is when racing).
|Photo Credit: Cleveland Triathlon Club|
|Photo credit: https://twitter.com/ESpeed77|
It was a good day to be in green and running pain free. I am so thankful for the amazing doctors at CCF who got me up and running after all this time. That said, I.AM.SO.STOKED to race for The Bicycle Hub's team again this year.
Total time was 14:21, which is a PR (as I have only run one other 2 mile race).
Welcome to the 2014 season!!!!