The Tuesday before the race (I hadn't registered yet), I was doing some short intervals in our cross-training class at the YMCA. Stupid, competitive me, I was keeping up with the guys with sprints the whole way. This severely wore me down. The final interval, one of the guys says, "Hey, let's go all out." Sigh. Could I say no? I think not. Ready, set, go, and we race about 200 yards in an all out sprint. I tried to keep up with him, but he was so fast. I didn't lag too far behind, but I could'nt have caught up if my life depended on it. When I stopped running, I really felt the pain. I pulled something. Bad. Butt muscle. Gluteous. Whatever. It was killing me! The worst part was I was I still had to jog back to work from here which is about a mile away.
After some extreme Googling, it looks like I have piriformis syndrome. Crap! I was looking forward to running the Passavant race, and now it seems like a lost cause. I'm hoping this is temporary.
I do a lot of resting and icing over the next couple of days, and on the deadline for online registration, I decide I should be healed well enough by Saturday. It's still hurting of course, but I'm taking a chance that with two more days of healing that I'll be okay.
Friday, I'm feeling somewhat back to normal. My pain in the butt is nearly gone, but slightly lingering below the surface. I'm not sure how an 8:00 pace is going to go.
Saturday morning comes, and it's a HOT one! By 7:00 a.m., it's already over 80 degrees outside. The race doesn't even start for another 30 minutes. I am by myself today, I'm not sure I even know anyone racing except for a few from the DailyMile website that I haven't met in person. I park, get ready, and warm up by running around the parking lot and getting some of my race nerves adrenaline burned off. I end up running into a couple people I know during pre-race annoucements.
We head over to the starting area and it's pretty congested. The start/finish line has an arch over it, so everyone has to run through it to get started. I head back through the crowd of people already in line and try to pick the runners that look like they might be around my pace. I don't want to judge a book by a cover, but I think some of these people have no idea, and they are WAY to close to the starting line. Eh, I'll just jump in where ever I can squeeze in. Not long after, we're off!
The race starts heading downhill under an overpass. The crowd is moving fast, but thinning out just a quickly. We start winding through a neighborhood, and I'm keeping pace decently. For a short amount of time, I'm running right next to "Boston Billy", Bill Rogers who has come to town to support the race among other things.
Mile 1: 7:54, a bit faster than goal pace.
Shortly after the first mile, the piriformis injury starts a slow ache. Crap! I back down the pace a bit and start worrying if I'm going to be able to run the full five that I have left to do. I'm now running somewhere in between 8:20 and 8:30. An 8:00 pace for the rest is definitely not happening today. I'm focusing on staying on minimum pace while worrying that I might be doing worse damage by running injured.
Mile 2: 8:22
Mile 3: 8:35 - dropping pace big time!
I hit the turn around at the half way point. I've made it this far, I need to keep on pushing. My pain has gotten a little worse than initially, but it seems to have leveled out for now. It's so hot today too! It's making everything a struggle.
Mile 4: 8:32, just over two miles to go. I can do this!
Right about this time, someone who could be in my age group passes me. I've decided this is the person I'm going to race for the next two miles. In seeing the runners ahead of me on their way back earlier in the race, I know that I'm still doing fairly well as far as female runners go. I set the cruise mode behind this runner and stick close.
Mile 5: 8:20
Just a bit over a mile left! The route is deceiving because I knew we were back on the main street leading back to the start/finish area. We take a turn into a neighborhood, and some nice folks have a sprinkler spraying into the street to cool off runners. It's amazing feeling and so welcomed! It energizes me a bit. As we take another turn, I decide that it's time to pass the girl I'm following. I think she is running out of steam anyways. We've been slowing down a bit. Less than a mile left to go, and I'm feeling more numb than in pain right now.
Mile 6: 8:22, so glorious to be so close to done!
I start to lengthen my strides and pick up my pace at bit. I pass a couple of more runners as we get back on the main road with the finish line in sight. I give it all I've got to get across the finish.
Official results: 51:32/8:21 pace - A new 10k PR!
I quickly look around for a first aid tent or something. I need to get some ice on my backside! Ouch! The last kicker really did it. This is painful! After looking around, I see nothing, so I ask a volunteer handing out Gatorade if there is first aid to get ice. She says she doesn't know, but gives me a bunch of ice out of the Gatorade tubs in plastic wrappers from the drink cases. It will have to do! I stick the ice down the back of my pants and head off to get some food.
I'm checking out the results as they are posting, and I'm floored when I come up 11th female overall and 2nd in my age group! I'm so excited and I wish I had someone to share this with! I wish Shane was here! While I didn't do as well as I could have, or should have if uninjured, I'm thrilled with these results as you can imagine. I walk to my car to get my phone so I can at least text Shane to let him know. I also down a few ibuprofen to hopefully assist with the pain.
I hang around and receive my 2nd place medal. I'm smiling through the pain. So, my thoughts on this race is that I am definitely doing it next year when I'm healthy. I love the flat course with not a lot of turns. I'm sure I can improve on this time quite a bit. Hopefully next year Shane will be able to run it with me. When you don't have loved ones to share your joy, it's just not as sweet somehow.