With ordinary talent and extraordinary perseverance, all things are attainable.
**Thomas Foxwell Buxton **
It has been a weird couple of weeks. After my calf injury, I didn’t run for a couple of days and then went back to my training plan and ran 5 miles on Saturday, three of them at HM race pace. After the run, my calf felt good and the next morning it felt the best it had since the injury so I knew I was better off to keep running carefully than to rest more. So Sunday I went ahead and ran my 12 mile long run. With all the progress I have made, I felt it was time to step up my long run speed and keep it at 11 minutes per mile. It worked out great! I finished my run in just under 2:12 and felt really good, not over tired or sore. The calf felt great too, a little tight, but not too bad. At that pace, I would still have a PR of 26 minutes better than last time!
A few minutes after I got home from the 12 mile run, my neighbor stopped by. She had her dog with her so while we talked, my puppy hopped and played around her very patient older dog. We do this all the time and Lucy stays with Kramer, showing no interest in anything else, until this time. I don’t know what got into her, but she saw a car coming and decided to catch it! Unfortunately, she did catch it, and in the process her foot was run over and crushed. It was beyond horrible! We got to the emergency vet clinic where we spent the next several hours before leaving her there for the night. In the end, she is okay and should have no problems after her 6-8 weeks in a splint/cast, but it was a really scary couple of days.
Needless to say, it was an extremely stressful few days. At first they thought her injury was much worse and the stress of worrying about her, the vet bills, and canceled plans, had me exhausted and not sleeping or eating well. By the time the day came for my 10K, I was still tired, had hardly run all week, and had lost 4 pounds from all the stress. My friends that were going to go with me to cheer me on had to cancel to fly home for a funeral so I headed out to the race alone and feeling defeated already.
There were 5,000 registered racers with friends in tow so the boardwalk was a mad house. This is not the first race put on by this company here in Virginia Beach so I was appalled at the lack of organization. There was nothing to give people an idea where to line up, so there were walkers, with strollers even, at the front and anyone trying to set a consistent pace spent the first mile or two dodging people and trying to break through groups walking 4 or 5 abreast. I managed to keep my tongue in check and didn’t yell the profanities that were popping up in my head, but a couple of people got a pretty good elbow.
After the first couple of miles, people thinned out a bit and it got easier to maintain my pace. I had my virtual partner set up on my Garmin so I could catch up to pace if I walked at a water stop or got stuck behind people. By mile 3, I was already feeling tired, but I knew I was prepared for this speed and distance so it was all in my head. My super-hero cape had also turned into a bit of a problem. Running against the wind, it created a lot of drag. Running with the wind it tangled up in my ankles and drove me nuts so I carried it draped over my arms for most of the run. I seriously considered ditching it in a trash can, but it would have taken too long to get all the safety pins undone to get it off.
When I reached the 4 mile water stop the conversation in my head started:
I can’t do this for two more miles!
Yes you can
It is a lot hotter than it was supposed to be
So what, you trained all summer
I’m tired; I haven’t had enough rest this week
I’ve been under a lot of stress
This cape is heavy
You picked the costume
The wind is blowing hard
It will be blowing next weekend too
My calf is starting to hurt
Hold your form!
I’m really tired!
I finished with a chip time of 54:08. My Garmin, set for the 10K distance, thought I was done 9 seconds before I crossed the line, which shows how much I lost dodging walkers at the start! That’s okay though, what I most wanted was the confidence to join the 2 hour pace group for the Outer Banks half next weekend and now I have it.
After the race, I picked up my free beer and waded into the cold ocean to cool my tight calf. It was so peaceful standing there with the waves lapping at my legs and carrying away the pain and strain. Later I talked to people that had seen me running barefoot and wanted to know more. It really was fun hearing the reactions as I ran. All my previous runs have been small local ones where most people either knew about my barefoot running, or saw me around the start. This race was huge though, with literally thousands of runners, each one I passed was shocked. I heard everything, surprise, horror, laughter, and the inevitable, “OMG, we just got passed by someone in bare feet!”
Although the costumes were a kick, the race wasn’t as much fun as I had hoped. My head really wasn’t in the game, it was home with my dog, or in Kabul with my husband, and the crowd was just too much. I’m okay with that many people for a half marathon or farther, but I think I like the smaller races for short distances. I was 31st out of 363 finishers, which just doesn’t have the same ring as 3rd out of 36, and there wasn’t a single familiar face at the finish line.
Next week OUTER BANKS!!