I had mixed feelings going into this race. On one side it was the first race since the Marathon and could be a good gauge on how well I have recovered. On the other side I couldn't seem to muster up any enthusiasm or excitement as race day came upon me.
Dammit Run 5 Miles - 42:36 (8:31 pace; 205/603)
This one had the makings to be a great race. It started at 8:30 and was only a 15 minute drive from my house. What more could I ask for? So I was able to get some decent sleep despite the kids next door having a loud party, yet again, until at least 2 AM, which was when I finally fell asleep. Well rested, I woke up and decided to skip taking a shower. This was mistake number one. I figured since the race was so close to the house and it was only a 5 mile run that I could run it and get back here and shower after. So end result? I never fully woke up or felt energized, which a shower always does to me.
I got to the Los Gatos High School and found parking easy enough. So I turned the Garmin on, checked my bib number and did all the typical last minute stuff. Mistake number 2: I didn't charge the Garmin so it, obviously, ran out of battery power. Oh well, it could be worse, right? Like getting to the race and forgettng your timing chip... Yeah, I've done that one as well. Eventually I made my way to the track and did a warm up lap and everything felt great. I was hitting my stride, the legs felt great. Perhaps the day would turn around and it would turn out to be a great race.
Remembering past races, I lined up in the front so that I didn't get stuck behind the slower runners and thus blow a lot of energy weaving around everyone. The gun went off and away we went. The lead runners eventually outstripped everyone, but I didn't care. I was running my race. So we looped once around the track before heading out of the track and onto the trail towards the dam. Already I could feel that something wasn't right. My legs felt strong, my knees were fine. So none of my major concerns coming into this were slowing me down. Mile one rolled around and the volunteer yelled out 8:16. So not too bad. The gravel trail slowly gained in elevation before dropping me off at the first steep incline, which ascended 61 feet. It may not seem like much, but the gain was over only .08 miles, so a steep incline over a short distance. I ran a quarter of it before telling myself to give in and walk. No sense beating myself up over something when I am still technically recovering from the Marathon. At the top of the first hill was the mile two marker and the volunteer yelled out 16:50, so I'm averaging 8:25 a mile, just slightly slower than my mile one pace, and I had walked a hill! Not too bad again.
A little bit farther on and I made it to the dam, and thus the reason for the race. Yet another hill that I gave up on and walked virtually the whole thing. I wasn't feeling right, so why push it? The dam was a little less than a quarter of a mile and has an elevation incline of 132 feet. This was where a ton of people were passing me up, which is usually a motivator in and of itself. But not this time. I watched them file past me, keeping track of who they were. Then, once I got to the top of the dam, I used the energy I didn't waste trying to run up the dam and was able to pass most of them... until the next hill.
Ha, only three hills but they were killers. The last was THE killer. Elevation ascent was 140 feet, so not too much different from the second hill, and this one stretched over almost four tenths of a mile. Not too bad, right? Wrong, because 120 feet of that gain was in the first tenth of a mile. So it goes without saying that I walked this one too. Again, once I reached the top I kicked it into gear and passed a ton of people, making up place wise what I couldn't make up in my time. Yet here was where the trouble began. We soon hit mile 3 (with no volunteer this time) and I was cruising downhill pretty fast. But... But... But, oh I so didn't want this to happen. I started feeling a pain on the top of my right foot where it had felt tender from the Marathon. I pushed through it for a while when I take an extra long lunge to get past a rock and the pain shoots up my leg.
Did something happen to my foot in SF? I know tons of athletes tend to push through pains in their feet, able to continue playing for months at a time without really noticing anything more than a discomfort, only to find that they had a stress fracture or something similar. Is this what has happened to me? Perhaps this was why I wasn't feeling to into my run today? I pushed on and felt the pain build a little with each step. Finally the trail leveled out and turned onto a road where mile 4 was, with the volunteer yelling out 35 minutes. The pain/ache from my right foot subsided noticeably, almost disappearing completely, once I was no longer running downhill, so that was a plus.
I finished the last mile in a little over 7 minutes, coming in at around 177th place (out of around 600) in 42:36, which is an 8:31 pace. Not too bad considering the amount of walking that I had done, around two and a half minutes worth. This was a little disappointing, though, because I had signed up for this race with the intention of running the hills and using this as a gauge/preparation for the 50k coming up in September. Oh well. You win some, you lose some.
I found a few things out. One, my knees and muscles are fully recovered from the Marathon, so that is plus. But, and this is a huge minus, the tenderness on the top of my right foot (which happened because of the Marathon) seems to be something more than just being tender.
So a week of rest I must take, although this is a bummer. I do know the alternative, though, and would rather prevent further injury than satisfy a here and now urge to run more. I guess I will have to wait until Saturday to test the foot out before I decide what I will do about the 10k race coming up.
Here's to a speedy recovery!