I had overstretched my left calf a few days before the race. I didn’t know if I should run it or not.
I woke up in the morning and my leg felt OK. I twisted and turned my ankle around as much as possible. I could feel a bit of a pinch in one position, but it was very faint. The race didn’t start until noon, so I had lots of time to consider the options. Do I not race and give the ankle more time to heal? Is the ankle OK and am I been a suck not racing. The weather is nice. It was about 9 below at 6:00, but by 10:30 it was about -4. There didn’t appear to be any wind to speak of.
My training plan called for a 3 hour run. The plan with the race was that I run for a bit before the race to get warmed up, run the race and then continue on for whatever time I still needed to make up after the race to fill in the three hours.
I decided to drive over to the venue and do the warm up run. I figured if I did an easy 30 minutes, I’d see exactly how the ankle was. I figured if it hurt, I’d just not do the race. I take my shirt and go home.
I did that run up and down some nearby streets running from the YMCA. The new Y in town was the meeting spot and was only a couple of block from the starting line. I felt fine. If I thought about my sore ankle, I could feel where it was sore. But if I wasn’t’ thinking about it, it didn’t bother me at all.
I decided I would run the race. I figured I would lay back and take it easy. Maybe I’d stay a bit behind the 2:15 race bunny guy.
The race started and we walked, then slowly jogged to get past the starting line. The group at the back were really moving slowly so I passed a bunch of them, I passed the 2:15 guy in a couple of minutes and in no time was about 50 feet behind the 2:00 Pace guy. I felt good running along in that spot until about the 8k mark.
I got to the 10k mark in 1:00:32. I was ecstatic. I’ve not run a 10k, but I was sure that it would be a real strain for me to get under the 1 hour mark if I did. I started to think about all that cold winter outdoor running was paying off!
I dropped back a bit as we closed in on the 1/2 way turn around point. I turned at 1:03:59. The other 1/2 marathon I did was the Toronto Marathon last fall and I’d done that in 2:09:04. I realized I was just a wee bit ahead of my time from that race and felt like I could push just a bit more and maybe break the 2:05 mark!
It was wonderful for me to see how many folks there were behind me. I’m usually just about at the end. I was about 1k past the turn around when the 2:15 guy passed me, going the other way!
I looked at a couple of ladies walking in front of me. I felt good running past them and was pretty happy at how food I felt. I was starting to get tired, but I felt like I would keep up my pace to the end. Just as I passed them, they started running again and shot past me. I figured God was getting back at me for taking so much pleasure in passing them a few seconds earlier!
A couple of minutes later, they stopped and walked again. Again I passed and again they took off and passed me a second time. The third time this happened I told them they were mean tricking me like this time after time. We talked and laughed a bit. I needed to walk for a minute while I got a gel and drank some water. I never did catch them again!
About the 15 – 16k mark my ankle started to really hurt again. I could tell I was running with a bit of a limp. I slowed down some, happily because I was getting pretty tired at this point. The wind picked up as I turned a corner at the 17k mark. That was a really cold breeze blowing straight into my face for the next kilometer of so. I’d run out of water, and the water at the aid stations was way too cold, so I ran with a dry mouth for the rest of the race.
When I turned the last corner I could see the finish line about 3/4 of a kilometer away. I pushed with what I had left. I passed a fellow that I was playing catch up with for the last 10 minutes or so. Several guys turned it on and passed me within the last couple of blocks. There was a convenience store in the last block. It crossed my mind for a second of dropping in for a Coke, but I kept pushing to the end and finished in 2:12:43.
I headed back over to the YMCA. I talked to the fellow that I’d passed on the way back. Inside the “Y” I tried to stretch a bit. The best I could do was slide down a wall and sit with my legs straight out in front of me for a couple of minutes. It was tough to get myself back up on my feet. I walked back out to the car and headed home. I learned quickly that I should have taken the extra time to change into warm dry clothes. It didn’t seem to matter how hot I turned up the heat in the car, I just couldn’t get warm.
That HOT bath within 2 minutes of getting back home felt great!