I registered for this race back in December, figuring I'd be done with C25K by March 13 and surely would have run outside. Because the answers turned out to be No and No (due to constantly crappy weather and dangerous road conditions), I decided to just go and pick up my race packet since I had already paid my entry fee.
But a few days before the race I got an email reminding me to pick up my packet, and it noted that 1,700 runners and walkers had already registered. Walkers? If there were walkers my fear of being the last person across the finish line would, in theory, go unrealized. Plus, I had to run outside eventually, why shouldn't it be this race?
10 weeks of running and the first time my running shoes hit pavement - 75 minutes before a race. Don't try this at home.
So I picked up my packet the day before, confirmed that, yes, there would be walkers, and got ready to run - well, run and walk. I figured I would run as far as I could, walk some, then run the rest.
My last run was Friday - on the treadmill. On Sunday, I was ready to go. I got to the race about an hour before start time to find a parking spot, figure out what was where and, most importantly, walk around a lot to warm up.
I'm smiling because the race hadn't started yet and my right hip still felt attached to my leg.
By gun time I had walked around and was continually moving for about 25 minutes to warm up my legs, which were in for a shock. It was grey and in the 40s, with a nasty wind that made things feel much colder, hence the long-sleeved shirt. I lined up at the 14-minute-mile pace spot, cued up my Nike+ iPod and was soon off.
I felt soooo slow, even though I was with the slowest runners and in front of the walkers. But I took it slow, knowing that going out too fast in a race will come back to bite you later. And, you know, the whole not-running-outside thing. It seemed like it took forever to reach the 1 Mile marker - and the course was very flat (thank goodness).
My Mile 1, my right hip was killing me with every stride. When I last ran in 2003, my right hip would be sore after an outdoor run. During C25K this time, sometimes after a run my hip would be a little sore, but not agonizing. During the race - and I would find out, after - it was terrible. I felt like my leg would fall off at any moment.
So at Mile 1 I slowed to a fast walk and walked the second mile. Soon, I'd make a deal with myself and run to the next landmark or lightpost in the distance, then walk again. I really wanted to finish in less than 45 minutes. I just kept trucking along, run/walking.
When I hit Mile 3, I knew I was almost home, so I started running again. My hip was killing me, but I knew it was almost over. I turned the corner and saw the finish line. Vainly, I knew there was a photographer ahead so I tried to look cool and no-big-deal as his long lens was trained on me. As you can see, I didn't succeed. Next time I see a race photographer I need to remember, Head down. But I feel like a real runner now in that I have a crappy race photo.
I crossed the finish line and glanced at the clock on the right: 45:20. Damn. Oh, well, at least I finished and I was not the last person to cross the line.
By the time I got home my official times were in my inbox: Chip time - 45:20. Pace - 14:36, not bad considering I walked a lot of the race. If I ran the whole thing it would have been much better.
My hip continued to kill me Sunday and nag me Monday. On Sunday I walked around like a had a peg leg, and since weigh-in day was only 48 hours away, no way would I take Ibuprofen, which causes me to retain water. If you've never been to Weight Watchers, this makes absolutely no sense. If you have, I know you're nodding your head in agreement.
My hip was hurting so much I will be asking my physician for a referral to a orthopedist or a sports med facility. I'm hoping it's something easy, like I just need an orthotic or specific exercises to strengthen my hip. I already wear a mega motion-control shoe to help my overpronating, so maybe I need something more.
I hope it's something easily fixable so I can continue to race. It is a lot of fun and races are good goals for all the 6 a.m. running I do. I would like to continue them without agony.