Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Luck of the Irish

Would someone be kind enough to remind me next time that I blog to refrain from mentioning a lack of running injuries?  I jinxed myself.  Not so much with a running injury but a situation that prevented me from running.

As I was heading off to my regularly scheduled chiropractor appointment I could feel that I was starting to come down with cold.  After getting my usual head to toe adjustments (literally we go from head to toe), I went home to crash for an hour or so before heading off to the Running Room to meet some friends.

After waking up and getting moving, there was a sharp pain in my chest and it hurt to bend over, particularly on the left side.   Nope, it was not a heart attack.  Worse, a subluxated rib. 

Nasty and painful it wouldn’t clear on its own and I had to book a second chiropractor appointment to get it adjusted back into place.  And, of course, the cold went to my chest to make everything just that added little bit more interesting during every breath and cough.

I wasn’t sure if I’d run the Shamrock Running Club's Lucan St Patrick’s Eve 5K.  First of all it’s a free fun run so I wasn’t out an entry fee.  But there is beer and free Irish stew and all in all it’s a good time.  I decided that as long as it wasn’t pouring rain that I’d at least show up.  The only way you can DNF in this event is fail to wear something green.

 Last year, it was unseasonably warm.  This year – not so much.  I added another layer during warm-up and switched to a pair of heavier gloves.

On the start line, I teased Julianne about finishing in 25 minutes.   She thought I was kidding.  In all honesty I had no idea how it would go, I hadn’t been running much the past month.  Inconsistency is my new middle name.

With 125 people running the 5K the only starting line congestion was a couple of strollers and a few well intentioned youngsters toeing the line.  The course this year seemed to have been appropriately designed by a drunken Irishman.  It weaved throughout a couple of subdivisions and eventually found the main street for the final mile back.  Wind which I thought would be a factor on the way back was only noticeable during one very brief moment at the extreme southern end of the course.

I held back my pace a bit during the first kilometer.  I had picked a runner that I knew was at least a minute (or two, or three) faster than me in a 5K and kept him in sight.   It was also during this time I realized I had forgotten to grab my gum while I was fussing about with my wardrobe choices.  No big deal until I concluded further along there were also no water stops along the way. 

Second kilometer, my breathing told me that I wouldn’t be hanging with the big dogs.  I dialed my my pace and tried to get comfortable.  Plan B – latch on to a second runner I know has an excellent 5K pace and use her pace, which worked for about a mile until my lower back started to tighten up.

I purposely did not look at my watch.  At no point in time did I want to see pace information.  I was running by feel and it felt exactly the way I expected it to feel – rusty.  No rib related problems, just lack of aerobic endurance from a lack of running.  My legs were fresh but my mechanics were off from a lack of training.  And, as I seem to find in many of my races, I find myself at the back of a gap between groups of runners and then lose motivation if no one is closing in.    I pressed the pace as best I could coming in the final 400 meters but wasn’t reeling anyone in and the only person behind be was maybe 12 years old and I was about two feet taller than him so no way he was going to get past me.

I crossed the line 17th, which seemed quite appropriate for St Patrick’s Day.

Finally looking at my watch, it read 22:48.


That wasn’t a sub-23 minute 5K.  Not by any standard.

And the mystery revealed itself; it wasn’t 5K – only 4.77km.  That drunken Irishman must have shorted the course to get back to drinking.

My splits confirmed it, kilometers’ 3 and 4 were just barely sub 5min/km.

I accepted a number of congratulations from my friends for a great run but more importantly, Julianne finished in less than 26 minutes, and that my friends calls for a beer( or two)!  (and a 50/50 ticket)

 And with the luck of the Irish upon me (remember I finished 17th) that 50/50 ticket won.


Art @ Fit at Fifty said...

Congratsulations on your 4.77.
I ran a 10k once that was 5.9 miles.

Andy Green said...

Not sure about the injury jinx. I usually find I get injured after feeling my best. My physio reckons it's because subconciously I extend myself more than I realise. At the moment it tends to be calf muscle strains.