A Day at The Races

Success!

I am feeling good. Sore, naturally, but good. Spirits are definitely up! The race was this morning, and I am very pleased with my performance. I wasn’t able to run the entire thing, but I didn’t have to walk the entire thing, either – even with my injuries.

The first half mile of the 5k course is uphill (thank you, Pittsburgh). I made it up that hill without pain in the groin or ankle (thank you, Ibuprofen), but shortly after that, the pain set in and it didn’t feel too good to run.

It didn’t feel too good to walk, either though, so what’s a girl to do? Hurts to walk, hurts to run… so run, right?! All things being equal, I say do what you came to do!

And that’s just what I did.

I ran as much as I could and pushed through the pain from my pulled muscle. I had to walk here and there, but I kept a quick pace when I walked, kept the walking bits as short as possible (10-30 seconds a pop), and never walked on the flat stretches or downhill.

It’s the uphills that are the real battle for me, and in Pittsburgh, they can be extreme. There’s one particular road on this course called Serpentine (nice imagery there, right?) that is a killer. It has two quick switchbacks, all on a steep incline. I had nightmares of these hills after last year’s race.

This year, though, it was as if I had my own personal trainer, pushing me up those hills. And he doesn’t even know it.

There was a man in his late 30’s – early 40’s running with a woman who was a bit older than that – his mother? a friend? – I don’t know. I ended up running beside them as we neared the loathsome switchbacks, and could overhear their conversation. She was telling him that she was already tired and that she didn’t think she could make it up the looming hills up ahead. (She was echoing my thoughts, let me tell you.) This man was great, though – so encouraging. He kept saying: “Yes you can. You can do this: Keep your head down, keep your legs moving and keep pumping those arms. You can do it. Just keep going.”

And he was right. She could do it – and so could I. All three of us made it up those hills and it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I honestly don’t think I would have pushed myself enough to make it without listening in on his encouragement, so I’m very grateful to him. It felt so good to reach the top that I was able to press on for quite a while longer before having to walk for a few seconds! I wonder how many other people this kind man helped up those hills without even knowing it. One friend later joked that maybe he’s not real at all: A sort of “Guardian Trainer.” Nice thought!

After I finished the race and the adrenaline stopped pumping, the pain set in again. I’m still feeling it now – a few hours later – but you know what? It doesn’t even matter. I feel great. I did what I set out to do, and I did it better than last year when I was working on an injury-free body. The big clock said 36:12 when I crossed the finish line, and it was a good minute or more after the clock started at the beginning of the race that I crossed the start line, so my official time will be faster than that. Last year’s gun time was 37:45, and chip time was 36:13. I’ll let you know my official time later when I get the results!*

I challenge you all to do something you’re unsure about. Something you think you can’t do. Those are the goals that feel the best to accomplish. Get out there and challenge yourself: Challenge your body! Challenge your mind! Your resolve!

You can do this. Just keep going…

*Update: Official times are in! I completed the 5k in 34:51 – about a minute and a half quicker than last year. Woo hoo!

4 Responses to “A Day at The Races”

  1. WDOphoto Says:

    I know it was only a 5k (and I say this knowing how hard a 5k is, but I mean it wasn’t a marathon) but you should be careful taking Ibuprofen when running. You can kill your kidneys doing so. I don’t want to scare you but my wife is a pharmacist and I’ve heard the horror stories of people who’ve done serious kidney damage taking advil or motrin before running.

    Anyhow, congrats on the run, and on the weight loss! That’s really awesome!!!

  2. Kimberly Says:

    Eek – That certainly sounds like some advice I should heed! I rarely take Ibuprofen (or anything else) before running, but it’s good to know that it’s an all-around bad idea. Is it just with running or working out in general?

    Thanks for the congratulations! I feel great – on both points!

  3. Tooting My Own Horn « Watermelon Waistline Says:

    […] I’m thrilled with my performance. For the last 5k I did – the Race for the Cure in May – my official time was 34:51, so no matter what, I’ve made my personal best […]

  4. Lazing About « Watermelon Waistline Says:

    […] My fastest official 5k time to date was last September, at 30:45, but that course was all downhill/flat. Tomorrow’s course is full of hills.┬áLast year I finished this particular 5k in 34:51. […]