Sunday, April 01, 2007

Evil Hills vs Pika - Let's Call it a Draw

Let me just say I was not ready for this race and it became quickly apparent to me that finishing dead last today would be an accomplishment.

Let's start with Thursday when I went out for just over 4 miles through the neighborhood. I had mapped out a course with lots of hills to get ready for today's race. The first 3 miles were fine but then my running shoe began to dig into the fleshy part under my right big toe. To be honest, I've been using these shoes pretty heavily since August and knew they were towards the end of their life span - but I hadn't expected that to happen a mile from home.

About the same time, I realized I was going to need to do the runner's butt clench for the last part of the run. Damn! The last mile was tough - my stomach was complaining loudly and my foot was starting to hurt. I ran in the door, up the stairs and straight into the bathroom. What I hadn't realized was that I had some sort of stomach bug or something and - long story short - I got a lot of reading done.

I took Friday off instead of doing another 4 miler to replenish whatever my body lost. The salt cravings were truly odd for me as I'm not a big salt person, but I did listen and took it easy.

Saturday I found out my dad was in the hospital. His good kidney is not a happy camper and I know he will refuse dialysis. My head was not in a happy space but I also knew that if I didn't get out and run, I'd go crazy. I ended up going out for a mile, making sure to hit a couple of hills in the neighborhood, but my heart wasn't in it and I just came home.

Then came today's race. I know those Cohasset hills well from my teen years (when I was half the woman I am today - literally) and rode my bike over them without a second thought. Thirty years has a way of sneaking up on you and, to be honest, I knew there would be some walking involved.

I met up with one of my brothers, my older sister and two of my nieces. At the starting line, we bumped into my cousin - who is the type of guy Gazelle Boy would love running with - so it was a family affair. To be honest, between the disappointment of missing the Cherry Blossom 10 miler in DC, the fear of the Cohasset hills and my dad, I know my heart just wasn't fully there. But I was excited to run by the ocean that I love in a spot that evokes strong memories of freedom for me.

My niece lead us all in 3 minutes of running/1 minute of walking. Those first two miles were just over 11 minutes each - which is over a full minute faster than my fastest pace. About 25 minutes into the race, I knew I couldn't keep it up and told them to run ahead. My sister decided to hang back with me and she let me the speed. We walked a big chunk of the race, running down hills and other spots... but mostly we walked and talked.

Around the 3.5 mile mark, my legs felt like rubber. I could feel some creeping crud in my lungs and I just hadn't realized how much Thursday's stomach bug knocked out of me. To be honest, had she not been with me, I may have ditched early. So I'm truly grateful for her company because it really pulled me through. Around the 4 mile mark, my right foot began to cramp and at the 5 mile mark, the insole of my left shoe began digging into my instep.

Again, I've been using these shoes heavily since October and I knew they were starting to hit their expiration date, but still a surprise to have it happen then and there (and all the way home for that matter). Can we say time for shoe shopping?

We came up on the finish and crossed together. We actually had a pretty respectable time of 1:23 and change. In fact, in spite of everything, it looks like I PR'd at this race! Who knew?

I will challenge these hills again and next time I will do better. So I'll call today a draw and keep training for the Doyle's and Harpoon 5 milers, the James Joyce Ramble and the Johnny Kelley Memorial.


GB said...

With all you had going on prior to that race, I woulda opted out. But you're a tough chick and you did it, and you PR'd! That is so cool that you ran with your family. I hope your dad gets better. And lastly, I vote you get new shoes pronto!

Very good job Pika! Give yourself credit because it is due!

JOJIT said...

hope everything goes well with your dad.

Congrats on accomplishing yet another milestone in running.