I knew this race would be a struggle, and I was right!
For quite some time I’d been feeling this ache in my left hip. Sometimes sharp, sometimes dull, it was aching pretty much around the clock. Despite increased stretching and decreased mileage it did not go away, but I wasn’t in pain on race day due to several days off prior to the race. So, I gave it a go.
Ever toed the starting line completely under-trained? It’s not a good feeling. Oh sure, I knew I’d be able to finish the distance, but I was very much aware how unpleasant it would be. Especially on this course.
It’s the 6th time I’ve run this race and it’s my favorite race of all times: after running my very first 5k on this course I was hooked and I haven’t stopped running since. There was no way I was going to let this one turn into a DNS.
My plan for the race was simple: easy pace, meaning: run when you can and walk whenever needed. For a while I had considered a 3 minute, 30 second run/walk combo, but I really wanted to be done in less than 2:30 and therefore opted for a less structured run/walk method. Mile one to four went just fine. I stopped to walk for about 30 second when my Garmin beeped at each mile. At mile four we ascended on to bridge number two, and since I had just completed a walk break I decided to slowly jog uphill. Reaching the top I snapped a few pictures, but the scenery was less than exciting – clouds everywhere!
Feeling like I had “lost time” I ran the down hill portion pretty fast, but I stuck to my walking breaks at every mile interval. I wasn’t going to break any personal records, so why I was pushing the pace I have no idea. I’m stubborn I guess…..
To no surprise, somewhere around mile six I suddenly ran out of steam and wished I was done. No really, I wanted it to be over. My heart rate was too high, I was hot, my left hip was hurting while my opposite calf was tightening up, probably from subconsciously shifting the weight away from the affected hip. But, I hadn’t even reached the turnaround point yet and quitting wasn’t an option, so I drudged on. Aside from the pain I really felt the lack of training. Oh my, what had I gotten myself into?
I needed some distraction from the negative voices in my head, so I turned on the music which worked for a while. I was able to forget my “troubles” until I reached the turn around point. I was happy to finally be on the way back, but now so uncomfortable that everything was getting on my nerves: the music, my hydration backpack, the too-narrow lane we had to run in, the one runner I could not get past. She slowed down, then sped up when I tried to pass. What the f**k???
Reaching the bottom of bridge #3 I once again slowed to a snail-pace like jog, keeping the 2:30 pacer in view for motivation. Surely, I was going to finish before them………..or was I? I eventually reached the top and once again picked up the pace on the way down, passing said pacer and making up for a bit of “lost ground”, at least in my head.
My Garmin beeped at mile 10 and I took another walk break, but it wasn’t helping. In fact, I was at the point where I considered running faster just to get it over with, because each time I “restarted” after a walking break I was in more pain than before. However – when you see a race photog you straighten out and perk up, you understand? There’s no crying in
Finally, approaching the incline of bridge #4 I conceded. There was no running at that point, I walked the entire uphill portion and jogged gingerly down the other side. That silly smile? Fake, fake, fake. But you know what they say: “Fake it ’til you make it”….
And then, oh what a sight – the finish line was ahead. Never ever have I been happier to reach it!
It’s been two days since the race and I’ve just returned from my orthopedists office. The verdict? Bursitis. Oh joy! Dr. Hirshorn is a talented hip surgeon and assured me that surgery was not an option or necessity (LOL). He sent me home after a Cortisone injection along with a prescription for oral steroids to combat the swelling and inflammation along with Physical Therapy, which starts next month (because my PT is just too damn popular!). His parting words? “No running for two weeks, but no worries – you’ll be back to training in no time”. Now, let’s hope he’s right about that……