A year ago, I experienced my first running related injury in mid-July. The symptoms initially indicated IT Band Syndrome but further diagnosis by a physiotherapist determined my problem to be a lateral hamstring inflammation of the biceps femoris at the knee. I could walk pain free but was unable to run for four weeks. When I began to run again it was very short distances and it was anything but pain free.
Since I was already registered for the Reach the Beach Race I decided I’d go and see how the leg felt. I had been training for my first attempt at a 15K race when the injury occurred, and I felt confident that I should be able to handle the distance, the unknown was the hill. The wild card was the left knee. I knew I could always walk (if forced to at gunpoint).
My first official 5K was the Retina Run 5K in April 2009. It was also the first time I had run in an organized race since high school. That race was a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. We’re talking 1976 folks; many of you weren’t even alive yet. Nike was making waffles, and it was the 50th anniversary season of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Fast forward – Nike still makes shoes, and well the Leafs are well still the Leafs.
I was able to run the flats without too much of a problem, the first small hill tested my conditioning. I quickly discovered that the time off was going to be an issue.
I finished a respectable 38th. My time was 5 seconds slower than my first 5K race. Puzzled, confused, and a wee bit humbled, I promised I’d be back.
Flash forward to Friday, August 13th, the rematch. This year I’m injury free. A bit road weary from marathon training but quite likely in the best condition of my life. I wanted this race. On Tuesday night for my 10K training run, I ran the first 5Km at my 5K pace. It was hot and humid and the air was thick, the hills were familiar but persistent. It was a good test; I held back just enough to ensure it was a training run. My time clocked in at 23:30, a minute faster than last year’s RTB and half a minute quicker than my Retina 5K time. PR’s in training don’t count, so I took it as a sign of good things to come.
I ran hill repeats on Wednesday night. Slow and steady, don’t leave it all on the training hills. Thursday was a rest day. My maintenance appointment with my (new) chiropractor occurred on Friday afternoon, she checked my back, and could see my hips were tight. This time it was my gluteus medius on both sides were causing the problem. Oy Vey! There was some very deep breathing involved in getting them to loosen up. My right STJ was stuck (as usual) and that was adjusted as well. I was as ready as I was ever going to be for the rematch that night.
Marty was off like he was shot out of a cannon. I’m figuring, he knew there was real beer after the finish of this race and was parched. The opening kilometer flew by in 4:15. The end of kilometer two gets me to the top of the hill. Still behind Marty, but not by much, we’re still moving along at 4:39 pace. A simple out and back begins at the top of the hill, slightly downhill to the turnaround, I count the number of runners ahead of us. Marty was ninth, I was tenth. WTF? Really?
Finishing up kilometer three has me back to the top of the hill. I’m feeling good. Marty has fallen back a bit and the first women runner has passed me, the only person to pass me since the beginning sprint from the starting line.
Now I’m ready to race, me and the hill mano-a-mano. There’s no walking this time. No braking, short quick strides, heels up, lean in, arms moving just enough to keep balance. I pass a guy on the downhill. Sorry dude! In no time on to the flat and stride it out. Past a water station and for God’s sake in to the back end of the 2.5Km competitors. Strollers, kids, people running and walking 4, 5 and 6 across. “On your left!” does not mean take two steps to the left.
My pace at the end of the fourth kilometer was back to 4:15. I’m huffing and puffing like a steam engine. My hamstrings are tightening, quads are burning.
One to go, people cheering, a quick glance back over my shoulder, it seems no one is close. Coming up to the final turn, I ask a young race marshall, ”Anyone close?” No answer, I suppose what she heard was something more akin to “Huff Puff Annahwhunclothes? Wheeze”
On Sunday, the Mob tackled Port Stanley again with a 32km SweatFest. After all we own the place.
|From Mob -Aug PS Run|