This past Saturday I participated in the Shoppers Drug Mart Run for Women in YYC, and I can safely say that it was the most difficult race I have ever run. Was the terrain difficult? – Nope. Was it overcrowded, full of children or strollers? – Nope. Was the weather uncooperative? – Nope. My leg was uncooperative, and my ego was bruised.
I have been battling a sore leg for 3 weeks now, since finishing Stampede Road Race on July 7. I had already been attending physio for an overly tight IT band as well as lazy glute med, and for whatever reason it all decided to overreact after the Stampede 10k and cause mega problems. For 10 days I could barely walk: my IT band was so tight that it was pulling my patella out of alignment and causing things in my knee to pinch with every step I took. Stairs were unthinkable, even sleeping was difficult. The next 10 days were progressively better, and I was even able to return to the gym last week, although many things were modified. So, I felt fairly confident about my impending return to running this weekend. Was it going to be a PR? Certainly not. But running is running, I could still do it, right?
The race package was OK…unremarkable, and a bit less than I expected, given the cost of this race (around $70 for the 10k). It included a Running Room wicking tee – a fitted women’s cut with nice, non-gaudy graphics, which I appreciated – and some Shopper’s Drug Mart Life-brand items like bottled water, a granola bar and a fruit bar, and after-sun face cream. Everything that was included was of good quality, and useful…I just expected more stuff, I guess.
Pre-race, 2 cool things happened. Surprise #1: a girl came over to me and said “are you princess runners?”… I’m sure I had a really confused, blank stare on my face. “…from Instagram?” she said. “I was making sure to watch for you, number 1026.” Ohhhhh!!! Lightbulb!! It had never occurred to me that someone could recognize me from our Instagram! (@prairieprincessrunners, if you aren’t already following!) I was fairly certain that I wouldn’t be recognized by my face from those pre-race selfies…but I had never thought that someone would track me down by my bib #, which I posted a photo of pre-race. So, thanks to Kiera for that pre-race perk-up! It was nice to meet you! Surprise #2: Shortly after that I felt a tap on my back and turned around to see Leticia, my fab running coach from Westside Rec who had whipped me into shape prior to Princess Half Marathon in February. I was totally shocked that she had recognized me, as I hadn’t seen her in months, and I was wearing a hat…
The sun was just starting to come out as we lined up for the 10k start, and I was getting nervous. Was I really going to be able to do this? We jogged across the line and I started my interval timer. I was planning on doing 3 mins run/2 mins walk in order to spare my knee. By 1km, I knew that wasn’t going to work out. I sent my running partner off on her own, and started power walking. I was mad. I was beyond mad, I was furious. I have spent so much time and effort and money on rehab over the past 3 weeks. Why is this happening to me?? I texted Princess Lisa… Thank God for friends like this, I couldn’t have done it without her.
I held run/walk intervals of 30 secs/2 mins for the majority of the race. Yep, that’s right – I walked 4 times more than I ran. It was excruciating, mentally. But the pain was bad enough during the run segments that I knew I couldn’t do much more. At 9k I pushed to 30 secs run/1 min walk all the way to the finish line, where I was handed a cute finisher’s bracelet.
|Event||Overall Place||Gun Time||Race #||First Name||Last Name||City||Chip Time||Division||Division Place|
By the time I stopped running, I really started to feel my leg screaming at me. I headed to the tent labelled “Medical.” “Hi – Do you have some ice?”…”uh, no. Check over there maybe? That lady is giving out drinks. …Maybe she has ice for the drinks?” Really?? Ugh. Post-race food wasn’t great either. I did get a bottle of water right at the line, which is good, but food consisted of the same granola bars and fruit bars that were in the race package, and bananas. That’s it. Needless to say, we didn’t stay long. I went home to start rehabbing all over again: foam roller, shower, ibuprofen, ice, stretch, heat, more rolling, more ice, more pills…you get the drift. By Sunday, my knee felt remarkably OK. Definitely not great – going down stairs was still iffy – but walking was normal. Today, I’m feeling pretty good and headed to physio where I’m sure I will get reprimanded for my greediness. Sigh…the deadly sin of an injured runner. I’m 4 weeks out from my next race (undecided on whether this will be Calgary Women’s Run or Run at the Ranch…thoughts?!) where I’m hoping to post a 5k PR – that means anything under 29:30. I know it doesn’t look good, considering my lack of speed so far this spring, and my injury, and my current fitness level (I could definitely stand to lose a couple pounds…), but I’m going to be optimistic and push for it anyway.