My first real ‘race’ since my May Calgary 50km….my first race since my June 10th foot surgery….
I know, I know…my previous post was about the Lethbridge Police 5km I did on October 1st. You may be thinking “well, wasn’t that your first race?” I need to clarify that the 5km was my first ‘event’ since surgery…today would be my first ‘race’. I was screwed…..(I have 3 screws in my foot now. Get it?)
I wanted to push it and see how much my body could handle.
I was also very nervous….Would my foot hold up? Would I be feeling immediate pain upon leaving the start line? Would I push myself too hard and tank? What would my cardio be like? Would I feel like a shell of my former racing self?
I have never ran a 9km race before. It’s an odd race distance. I figured to try and pace at my 10 km pace…which, I knew I couldn’t hold. My best 10km time was from April 2015, when I ran a 41:30 at the Rattler Run in Medicine Hat. I was in my top racing form, as I had been aggressively training for the Vancouver Marathon with the goal of qualifying for Boston. I know it will be a long time until I am back in that shape. But I didn’t want to be so far off from my more current 10km paces. I set a goal in my mind of a 7:30 min/mile pace, but I knew that would be crazy to attain…I hadn’t ran a sub 8:00 min/mile since May. My fastest mile time since surgery was around an 8:14. Would I go out too fast and just fall apart?
I knew lots of people in the race (there was a 5km and kids 1km events too) and lots of runner friends were there spectating. It was honestly helpful being in such a familiar location full of familiar faces for my first go at it since surgery. It made it less scary.
Race start was 9:00 am. I went out hard for that first mile, and it was a rough mile full of gravel, dirt and the view (and smell) of the water treatment plant. I ran a 7:11. Lucky me. My first thought was “SHIT, I am going too fast.” When I’m in prime shape, I try for a 7:00-7:15 min/mile in 10km races. This 7:11 was amazing because I ran about a minute faster than my best mile time since surgery. But I knew it probably wasn’t possible to hold it for the whole race.
At this point, my friend Glenn came up behind me. I didn’t even have to turn around to know it was him. Much like many people say my stride is distinct, so is his. I could hear him coming. He has been struggling with injuries for some time, so he was out here today for the same reason I was. To see what he could do. He kept me company for mile 2 and 3, which was awesome. We ran 7:36 and 7:54 splits. I was nervous I was going to keep slipping, but I knew my mind would help me through. At this point I was 5km in. I was over half done. Glenn went out ahead of me to see what he could do for the latter part of the race, and I kept trucking along.
I made some traction on miles 4 & 5 running 7:49 and 7:49. During these splits, the 9km caught back up with the 5km runners. This race is a benefit for the local SPCA (humane society) and it is a dog friendly event. It was fun heading back to the finish and seeing the families with their dogs running and walking together. It kept me motivated and moving. Once I made it back on to the rugged part by the water plant, I just knew I had to keep moving and get this done. I finished the 9km race (my watch said it was 5.64 miles) in 43:38. I finished 2nd place female (2/38) and 10th overall (10/57). I even got to run the last 20 ft into the finish with my main man, Snoopy!
And you know what? I WAS PROUD!
First, my foot: it felt GREAT! I didn’t have any pain in the spot of my surgery. The only pain I had in my foot was near the tongue of my shoe, as I tied my right shoe too tight. Whoops! My cardio wasn’t the best. I was feeling winded by the 5km. It took a lot of mental strength to hold pace for the rest of the race. A few runners passed me in the last 2 miles, but I was able to hold my 2nd place female position, which was awesome. Cardio it something that will come back over time. I started week 8 of my Goofy Challenge training plan with this event, and will be adding another day of running to my regime. I will now be running 4 days a week, plus Zumba! on Mondays. By the half marathon & marathon in January, I will be back at the level I took for granted!
I will admit, one of my first thoughts after crossing the finish line was “I ran the Moonlight 10km in March almost faster than this” but then I snapped out of it because I know these are different circumstances. I was thankful for my husband and my dog Snoopy being there for me at the finish. I even laughed and didn’t get mad at Dan when I ran over to get Snoopy and run into the finish line with him, but Dan had the leash tied around him all weird, so it took about 10 seconds to get him set. I was thankful for my podiatrist, Dr. Williams, who did a damn good job fixing my messed up foot earlier this year. I’m also actually most proud of myself for WAITING and following “doctor’s orders” this whole summer. It drove me nuts not running for almost 60 days. It was even harder getting back at it and having to retrain my foot how to run. I wasn’t really sure if my racing days would be back. Today showed me that the best is yet to come.