The Boilermaker was my last race back in July and let me tell you, that seems like months ago! I purposefully did not choose a race in August because I know how much I hate running in the heat and it worked out perfectly because in August, my running kind of unraveled.
Throughout July and August I continued to spin twice a week and tried to run at least twice, including a longer run on the weekends. All was well until one Saturday morning when I set out to run 16 miles with a friend (who’s training for a fall marathon) and couldn’t walk past mile 12. I’ve never felt a pain before in my knees while running and this pain was behind my right knee, almost where my calf muscles attached. The pain was so bad, I couldn’t walk with a normal step for three days after the run. I stretched, I foam rolled and I took it easy hoping that the pain wouldn’t return. But it did and during a five mile run. Needless to say, over the last three weeks I’ve only ran three times, including this race.
Going into this race I didn’t set any time goals and knew I wouldn’t be setting any PR’s. It was for a great cause and the turn out this year was larger than the last. Another plus was that it was in Saratoga on the Palio course; I still have plans to run this race on Sunday. I know, a little ambitious.
Mile 1: I ran this mile with Dave- he too didn’t have any goals but always runs the first mile with me so that he doesn’t go out too fast. My body definitely felt like it hadn’t ran in a week and the chilly weather felt great but was a shock to my lungs.
Mile 2: Dave took off because he was feeling good and I kept on chugging along, running my own race. At one point I met up with this young boy, probably 12 years old, who we had all seen cutting the course during the first mile. He was walking when I came up behind him and encouraged him to keep going. He started running beside me and told me it was his first race. At that point I wanted to tell him for starters, runners don’t cheat the course but instead, told him he was doing great. We got to the second mile marker and I told him he only had one more mile to go or nine more minutes; he could do anything for nine more minutes.
Mile 3 and point one: The young boy stayed with me for about a quarter mile and then started to walk; he was definitely out of breath. This was also right about when I saw the monster hill. “Last mile, strong mile, kick it in” was what I repeated in my head and slowly chugged up the hill. I passed a woman who had a cramped calf- I could see the pain on her face- and asked to make sure she was okay. She was and soon caught up to me as we rounded the corner to the finish. Speedy one she was! Before I knew it, I was crossing the finish line and enjoying an orange slice.
I’m not going to lie, seeing this time result was a little disappointing at first; I felt like I had taken three steps back. But then I had to remind myself that this time was pretty good for me a year ago, before I decided to train for the Turkey Trot. This week I’m trying to prepare myself for a difficult half marathon- physically I haven’t ran thirteen miles and mentally, I’ll have to push aside any pain or doubts of finishing. I’m going to try and get outside to run twice in this cool weather to prep my lungs and spin once to remind them to work up the hills. My sister will be running again and also my friend training for that marathon- hopefully I’ll have some company along the course.
After the Saratoga Palio, my plan is to figure out this knee pain (maybe new shoes?) so that I can finish the year out strong. I’d still love to run 12 races this calendar year and I’m only a few races behind. Gotta finish what I started!