Race Weekend: Part Three

Well, this past Sunday marked one week since the Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia Half…and I celebrated with a PR at the Cape May Winery 5k!  I’ll write more on that later though.  It’s time for the third and last installment about my weekend in Philly.  It’s time for the part about the RACE!

My alarm was set for 5:30 and, boy, was that a tough one.  Now, I have been known to get up at 3:45am to run at 4:30.  I didn’t sleep well though.  I usually don’t sleep well before a race so that wasn’t a big surprise and once I had like 10 minutes to get going I was good.  Gotta love adrenaline!

The plan was to leave around 6:30 to head over to another hotel where everyone from the running club I’m in, Southern Ocean Ladies Running Club, was meeting.  Hmmmm…what to do with myself for an hour?  Glad I got up at 5:30 though.  Time to get my contacts in (ouch), get dressed, use my spiky massage ball on my injured foot to wake it up and get it feeling better, get dressed and prepare my breakfast.  I ate an English muffin with Pocket Fuel Chunky Coconut Cherry almond butter and a banana while we were walking over to the other hotel.

The walk over was a chilly one!  Glad I had bought the arm sleeves the day before at the Expo!  Our hotel lobby was full of runners but the hotel we were meeting at was much bigger, and when my best friend and I entered the lobby, it was a sea of runners.  It made me happy 🙂  I searched out the ladies from Southern Ocean Ladies Running Club and we all stood around chatting for a bit before getting together for a big group photo.  Then, it was time to walk over to where the race was starting to get in our starting corrals.  So many runners!

Southern Ocean Ladies Running Club

Southern Ocean Ladies Running Club

The race started at 8am and my bestie (that always makes me think of Amy Farrah Fowler and Penny from Big Bang Theory…but I digress) and I were back in corral 15.  I was nervous that we’d be standing in the chilly air for like 30 minutes, but once the sun came over the tall buildings, it was warm and glorious!  It didn’t take too long to get to the start, either.  There was so much energy that it made time pass quickly and we were off and running at about 8:20.  They counted down each corral, which amped up the excitement.  I’m glad I stuck with corral 15 and didn’t try to move up because I needed to start out slowly with my toe injury and being that the last long training run I had done was 10 miles 4 weeks prior to the race!

Corral 15 getting ready to start!

Corral 15 getting ready to start!

It was corral 15’s turn and we were off and running!!!  I just kept telling myself not to get caught up in the excitement and just take it easy, take it all in, run a smart race.  I started out with my bestie, a running friend of hers’ and a friend of her friend (did you follow?).  We all shared a room together and they were very nice and it was fun to share a room and run a bit together in the race.

We took the first mile nice and easy but my mouth was dry.  I would later realize that it was from taking Immodium before the race.  I didn’t want to drink the little bit of water I had on me.  The sun was beating down on us and I was glad I was in a running skirt and sleeveless shirt and that I could just push my arm sleeves down.  The sun was making us all thirsty and we were seeking out the shady sides of the street and anxiously awaiting that first water stop!  We approached…water gone!?  We were shocked!  This big of a race and the water was already gone?  I think I took a tiny sip from my water bottle.

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We ran on, continued taking in the sites, seeking shade and looking for that next water table.  The next stop was Gatorade…sticky, yellow Gatorade, which I splashed all over my leg and arm and chin (I don’t normally do the whole running/drinking from cups).  We continued and complained about the overly-sweet Gatorade and the fact that you could hear everyone’s shoes sticking to the pavement from it.  We eventually came upon some water but the water tables continued to be a bit of a problem.  Luckily, this was my only real issue with the race as a whole.

I continued running with my bestie and her running friend until about mile 5, I think.  Then, I started feeling very sluggish and there were little twinges in my toe here and there.  Nothing I couldn’t handle but since I hadn’t done much training in the last month, I wanted to slow down and not injure myself further.  It was tough thinking about running 8 miles on my own but I was hoping to see some girls from the club along the way and I figured there were plenty of runners to watch, to listen in on during their amusing conversations, to be inspired by and plenty of beautiful scenery to see and bands to listen to.  The final thing was my only other small complaint about this race.  Being that it’s a part of the Rock ‘n’ Roll series, I expected a lot more bands!

I made it to mile 8.  During the race, I wasn’t too thrilled about this.  My injured toe started hurting, and actually, my other toe and foot started hurting a lot.  I was constantly saying to myself, “make it to mile 9 walking and then run some…make it to mile 9.5 and then you can start walking again…make it to mile 10 and run a little.”  I had this inner dialogue the last 5.1 miles!  I ran as much as my feet and my exhausted body would allow at a time, which sometimes wasn’t a whole lot.  I wanted to finish strong though!

As you can see, after mile 8, things slowed down a lot!

Split

  Time

   Dist

  Avg Pace

1

10:12.7

1.00

10:13

2

10:34.8

1.00

10:35

3

9:57.1

1.00

9:57

4

9:55.1

1.00

9:55

5

10:13.6

1.00

10:14

6

10:04.3

1.00

10:04

7

10:17.8

1.00

10:18

8

10:45.4

1.00

10:46

9

12:46.5

1.00

12:47

10

13:07.1

1.00

13:07

11

12:06.9

1.00

12:07

12

16:11.9

1.00

16:12

13

11:24.6

1.00

11:25

14

2:14.6

0.24

9:32

 

I saw very few injured people on the sidelines along the way.  I saw plenty of people stretching up against trees and on the ground and I started to join them around mile 10.  I was still really enjoying the scenery and I had wanted to run through Fairmount Park and along the Schuylkill River and by Boathouse Row!  Plus, being that I was walking a lot through this part of the race, I was able to snap some pictures with my phone 🙂

They had some fun signs along the way.  This was one of my faves!

They had some fun signs along the way. This was one of my faves!

Boathouse Row

Boathouse Row

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Fairmount Water Works

When I reached mile 12.5, I really wanted to start pushing.  Of course, they threw a hill in right towards the end.  Great.  I really don’t remember what I did with that hill.  I think I walked/half-ran.  Then, about 25 feet from the finish, I saw a man lying on the ground off to the side with medics around him.  At this point I was running my heart out and I was so sad for him!  He was SO close…I wanted him to crawl to the finish and be taken care of after he crossed!  I hope he was o.k.!

I ran through the finish, got my medal, smiled for the camera, heard my bestie yell for me, we both smiled for the camera…I was happy!  For the last 5.1 miles of Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia, I wasn’t so happy.  I beat myself up a little.  I tried to tell myself it was for the best so I didn’t further injure myself and that I have other races coming up.  When you see so many running past you, though, it’s hard to stay positive.  Around mile 10, though, I started estimating when I could finish.  I had gone into the race thinking it might take me 3 hrs. but at mile 10 I realized that 2 ½ hours might be possible.  At mile 12, I realized I might possibly have a chance at finishing under 2:30 and when I crossed the finish in 2:29:40, I was proud…I was happy!

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Philadelphia Museum of Art…or, the “Rocky Steps” 🙂

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One Year Running Anniversary

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Tomorrow marks one year since I started running.  Well, I ran a little before, but August 26, 2012 was the first time I went fast enough that the app I was using said, “ran” instead of “walked”.  It was 1.6 miles and it took 21 minutes and my best friend was by my side encouraging me.  Our families were vacationing together in Rehoboth Beach, DE and she really helped me to start adding in more running than walking.  I have enjoyed running more and more ever since!

As I typed the above paragraph, all I could think to myself was that I should commemorate one year of running with a run.  Alas, this won’t be the case.  This runner girl is sidelined.  It hurts to type.  Something is wrong with my foot.  What?  I don’t know.  I could go to a doctor and find out but I’m in denial…I want to remain in the dark and pretend it’s just not happening!  Within the next 2 months, I am signed up for 5 races – a 5K in my hometown being put on by the fire department, Philly Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon, a 5K at a winery in Cape May, The Perfect 10 and Hershey Half Marathon.

If you’re a runner and you’ve ever been sidelined due to an injury or illness, you feel my pain.  I’ve only missed one long run.  My last run was just 3 days ago.  It wasn’t a good run though.  Normally, I finish a run feeling great…accomplished.  This time, I was worried, sad and defeated.  This is how I have felt since that run.  I keep telling myself to just keep resting, to give it plenty of time, that the next run will go fine…and if it doesn’t, then off to see a doctor I will go.

Then, more fear sets in.  What is wrong?  What if whatever it is means I can’t run the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half?  It is my best friend’s first half marathon.  I asked her to sign up for it – I have to be there!  I also belong to a running club, Southern Ocean Ladies Running Club (SOL), filled with wonderful women who I have come to consider more than just runners.  When you meet for a run at 4:30am, twice a week, and pretty early on a Sunday morning for the long run, it’s hard not to form bonds with these women, because fellow runners are the only ones that can truly understand all that you go through with training.  They are strong, dedicated, inspiring, amazing women who I admire and so many of them are also running in Philly (and a lot of the other races I’m doing).  I feel like my foot is letting a lot of people down.

I see all of these posts on Facebook and all of these pictures on Instagram of runners I follow.  It seems as though all I’ve been able to do, from my couch with my foot up and my laptop next to me, is read about running and about foot problems (never a good idea to read about an ailment on the internet).  I’m so proud of all the accomplishments I see from people.  Those running their first half, their first full marathon, or they’re experienced with races and are reaching for new goals for themselves and setting new PR’s.  I’m jealous though.  I want to run those 12 miles.  I want to continue on the road I was on – getting stronger and faster.  Up pops another fear…when I return to running I’ll have to slow things down again.  I have only run one half marathon and I wanted to go for a PR in Philly.  I have run several 5K’s but not since I have become a better runner…I wanted to kick butt in the 5K in my hometown this upcoming weekend but now I will either have to skip it or take it easy.

Running is hard.  Nobody ever claimed it was easy.  Running is rewarding.  Nobody ever claimed it was going to be all good runs and PR’s, though.  Running has made me a stronger person and, although I may feel weak right now, I love running!

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**Update: 9/3/2013**  I went to see a podiatrist and he said that my joint at the base of my big toe is inflamed and he thinks the other pains I’m feeling are due to overcompensating for it.  I have a ridiculously high arch (already knew that), toes that hyper-extend back, rigid feet and tight calves.  I have done some research since the appointment and I’m pretty sure I have turf toe (he may have said that but my head was kind of spinning).  He said I won’t be able to do Philly Rock ‘n’ Roll but I felt he was saying it more from a training standpoint and not being able to get my mileage back up in time.  I’ll walk half of it if I need to.  I’ve accepted it won’t be my best half.

I went to a new running store, Runner’s High, and the guy there was awesome.  I tried out my new shoes yesterday morning and my toe started hurting a little after 2 miles.  I really thought I’d be o.k.!  I’m going to try one more run but, otherwise, I think I’m going to be taking it easy until Philly.