"Oh what fun it is to run 13.1 miles on a strained calf, HEY!"
Let me start off by confirming that 12 weeks of training paid off tremendously. Besides a little set back in the form of a strained right calf muscle (more on that), I would have to say my first half marathon was a total success! I'm still reeling from the fact that this "non-runner" was able to run 13.1 miles without stopping - it was definitely a mind over matter kinda race and I am stoked to know that my mind is becoming strong enough to overcome certain obstacles - will definitely be a must need for Ironman.
P (who was doing the 5k) and I got up around 5am, had my usual race day breakfast of peanut butter toast and a cup of coffee and was out the door and on our way to downtown Portland by 6am. Race day morning for running events are so much easier than triathlon. Nothing to remember but your bib number and a few gel packs. No bags to prep, checklists to review or equipment to verify - definitely helps with nerves.
The Holiday Half and 5k is put on by Foot Traffic and is relatively new, only in it's 4 year. The start and finish are both on the Adidas corporate campus - great venue but unfortunately in a few more years will not be able to hold so many people. But, since the campus is located in a residential neighborhood, they did offer shuttle service from a local parking lot ($5 and worth every penny - I would highly recommend for next time). We got there so stinkin' early that we made the very first shuttle. Without knowing exactly what to expect we didn't want to run into any issues - better to have an extra hour of stretch and much needed toitty time! The weather was awesome - 43 degrees and just a very light drizzle at times - kept my body temp very happy.
Then mile 2 hit.......OUCH!!
Crap! It was my darn right calf again! 11 more miles of this? Are you freaking kidding me??!!!
You see, two days prior I had jumped on the treadmill to finish my last easy run. About 20 minutes in I felt a sharp pain shoot up the outside of my right calf. I figured it was probably just a tight muscle so I hopped off and spent a good 5 minutes stretching. Got back on and within seconds the calf was on fire again. I was pretty pissed. Besides dealing with that tendon issue due to my laces being too tight, I had virtually stayed injury free through my entire 12 weeks of training. And now, two days before the race and I pull a calf muscle? This has got to be a joke....So I spent most of Saturday (after all the Christmas shopping), stretching, icing and elevating. Hoping and praying that by Sunday morning I would at least be able to "get through" the race...be it at a snails pace.
But no, mile 2 of the race and my calf fired up again leaving me in a bit of a pickle - continue to run and possibly, depending on the extent of the injury, do significant damage to the muscle OR stop at mile 3 and call it good. My first half marathon...this non-runner's first real distance race possibly ending with a DNF?!!! For those of you who know me well, know that quitting was NOT an option. I considered stopping for all of two seconds...and after the next mile passed and the next, and the next, my mind eventually went into BEAST MODE and the throbbing was all but forgotten over the next 8 mile or so.
So I ran, taking in a GU pack and some water at miles 5 and 9 - and am happy to report no intestinal issues whatsoever!! My energy was outstanding and I never felt the need to stop and walk - not once! The course was relatively flat, winding through cute little neighborhoods and right by Portland State University. And as it was in a section of Portland I have never been to, did a great job of keeping my mind occupied. I only had my trusty Timex on - no gps- so figured I was clocking somewhere between 10:30 - 11 min miles. Not nearly as fast as I was hoping for, but given the circumstances was satisfied with just being able to run the whole way.
By mile 11 things started to slow down and my body questioned why in the world I was doing this in the first place. I just kept reminding myself that with each step I was running farther than I ever have before - that proved to be motivation enough to keep my legs moving! P was a sweetheart and was waiting on the side about 100 yards to the finish cheering me on. He finished his 5k much early and had already enjoyed his free beer and post race festivities while waiting for me to come hobbling along. I crossed the finished with mixed emotions - a smile for the gratitude and pride I felt in accomplishing the race and a few tears for these same reasons, along with the fact that the numbness had worn off and the pain I had been ignoring the past two hours had made itself very present once again.
Time - 2:20:03
Pace - 10:41
Place - 1612 out of 2505
Needless to say I was very happy to be done and unfortunately didn't want to stay for the post race activities - rather P and I made a beeline for the shuttle and was home in 25 minutes! I was able to find my work buddy, Laura (Rock Star marathoner!) before we left and met a few of her running group buddies. Always nice to see a familiar face in the crowd!
Anyway, drama aside it was a great morning and has definitely boosted my confidence in being able to finish the run portion of June's 70.3. I do plan on mixing in another HM some time in April in order to keep my base full - but now it's time to take a short break, rehab the calf, enjoy the Christmas holiday and research 70.3 training plans - WOOT!
And if I'm not back on here before then, here's wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas! I hope Santa brings you everything on your list!
I want a Garmin 910XT, a new RoadID, new wheels, waterproof iPod Shuffle, a few paid entry fees for 2014.....................