Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Juxtapose me this....



Shall we play a little game of Juxtaposition? Shall we?

I have the perfect "objects" to use for this game: My recent 5K (on July 4th) and my (less than desirable) recent training.

Most of you know that I had a bit of a scare with my wonky heel, which started almost two months ago, but was most severe in early June. I ended May with 100 (monthly) miles, and had some heel pain as well. Coincidence? (most likely not)

I had two half marathons (already bought and paid for) on June 4th and June 11th that I did not want to miss, so I scaled back my weekly mileage and did lots of icing, stretching, massaging, and utilized athletic tape to keep my arch fully supported (to prevent further strain and /or pain). I was able to run (and finish!) both races with minimal pain and stiffness. There weren't any PR's happening, but PR's were not my concern.

I kept my weekly miles very low, and my "long" runs on the weekends were no longer than 5-6 miles. Meanwhile, I also biked and continued with my planking challenge (which morphed into a push-up challenge being added to the mix). The result? My heel is not 100% healed, but it is definitely feeling much better. The pain is now a minor (intermittent) discomfort, and my walk no longer has a gimp to it.

And I am breathing a pretty big sigh of relief, which is a good thing. Why? Because I have a very busy July on my plate....an 8K trail and a 15K road race (both coming up in a few days), a 12-hour  Ultra in 10 days (gulp), and the 5K on July 4th.

The Sully Freedom Fun Run takes place every year on Independence Day, and this was my third consecutive time running the 5K (there's also a 1-mile and a Kids' Run). Although I'm not an especially fast 5K racer, I do enjoy the challenge of trying to better my PR (coincidentally, set at this very event in 2014). This 5K race would also be a great gauge of my recovery....if I could run three continuous miles (at a somewhat faster than usual pace) with minimal (or, ideally, NO pain), all would be great in my little world.

traditional pre-race pic of the bib and shoes
Pat (my husband), Barb and myself all arrived early, got our packets, and had plenty of time to drop our race packets back at the car before the race began.

Game faces?
We also met up with another local friend, Mary.

Myself with Mary and Barb
The temps (in the mid-60's) were especially mild for July in Iowa, and there was plenty of cloud cover. The air was pretty humid, but bearable....not bad for race day conditions.

We lined up...and off we went. The race begins (and ends) on the town square in Sully, IA. We run around the west and south sides of the square and then continue on for a few blocks before turning right, going south. This street leads us to south east edge of town. We then run a couple blocks (east), and turn again (this time going north). Several blocks later (including a couple very easy, gradual hills) and we're on the north edge of town. A left turn takes us along a short stretch (going west) before another left turn. Again, we go a few blocks (south), turn left (again) and a few blocks later, we're back at south side of the town square. We then (except for that first west side of the square) repeat the entire course a second time, finishing with a complete loop around the town square to the finish line.

Kind of on a whim, I had pulled out an old pair of running shoes....my Mizuno Wave Inspire 8's. I had worn them for a quick 1-mile run the day prior, and they had felt so comfy! I know they are well past their prime. They saw me through my first marathon AND also my second marathon. It wouldn't be wise to wear them for any long runs, but I didn't think a short 5K would be a problem.

The first lap went well. Even though the first mile felt pretty great,  I could tell I was going a bit faster than I should have been. The course is relatively flat, except for a couple of gradual hills right before the 1-mile mark (and then shortly after the 2-mile mark on the second lap).

The second lap got to be a bit of a challenge, though. I struggled with not knowing how much to ease up (so I could catch my breath) and also trying to maintain a consistent pace at the same time (another example of juxtaposition if ever there was). Overall, I felt great. The shoes gave me some (emotional) mojo and helped me power through the final mile when I could really feel the fatigue (and stupidity of starting out too fast) washing over me.

Amazingly, I never felt any strain on my wonky foot, but my left hamstring "region" did feel a bit off for most of the race. (Isn't it always something???) I was tempted, though, as I neared the final corner of the course and was headed towards the lap around the town square (that would lead me to the finish line), to pause for a quick walk reprieve. But I kept going. Seriously, even though I usually can make up any "lost time" by taking a quick walk break, I only had about the equivalent of three city blocks remaining so I chose to press on to the finish.

I have said it before, but I am more of a runner than a competitive racer. I usually can summon some finish line adrenaline, but I simply do not have that innate "thing" to gun it and go all-out anywhere else on a race course. Truly, I am OK with that. Maybe if I had a little more natural speed, my perspective would be different.

Anyways, I made it to finish line without needing to walk, and I felt a huge rush of relief wash over me in realizing my wonky foot had done me proud. My Timex Ironman showed my splits as being 8:15, 8:31, and 8:35 (and an 8:24 pace for the final .1 of the 5K); finish time of 26:36 (with an average pace was 8:27). My "official" finish time was 26:28 with an average pace of 8:31. I am sort of an idiot when it comes to technology.....but I thought it strange my watch (that showed a slightly slower finish time) actually displayed a faster "average" pace. Can anyone explain that to me?

I was happy to score the second place finish in my age group, though! The stats showed me finishing 85th out of 179 runners in the 5K, 36th out of 104 females, and 2nd out of the 5 gals in my age group.

2nd place AG ....I'm good with that
What's interesting is that this is my third consecutive year doing this race, and also my third consecutive year bringing home a 2nd place age group award. And, this year's finish time was a mere seven seconds slower than last year's 26:21... but I feel like I ran it faster (and better). What's up with that?


Side note: My June miles came in at a whopping 52...slightly more than half of what I did for May. Juxtapose the healing of my heel (due to the modest mileage) with the maintenance of my fitness, and I'd say I fared alright. I don't think that's a coincidence either.

Have you ever had to scale back your mileage? Did it affect your overall fitness and/or speed? Did you do a 4th of July-themed race? Ever dug out an old pair of favorite shoes and raced in them?

I'm linking up with Deb from Deb Runs  for the Wednesday Word.....and the word is Juxtaposition. Head over and check out all the good reads!











34 comments:

  1. Wow, congrats on the 2nd place AG award! Glad your heel didn't bother you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks!! Knock on wood, the heel is doing great. Still a little tender at times, but MUCH better ;-)

      Delete
  2. I feel like all I've done this year is scale back my mileage. And my heel pain continues. Ugh. I'm glad I still have some speed but I think I may need a reprieve from any running at all. NOT happy.

    Congrats on that 2d place AG!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Friend! After my ultra, I'll probably take a good week off (except for the #nevermissaMonday LOL), but who knows? I'll be diving into marathon training in August to get ready for Route 66 (mid November). I'll be working with a coach, so I"ll have some guidance this time ;-)

      Delete
  3. Great job, Kim! My 4th race wasn't humid, thankfully, but it was sunny with very few clouds and quite a bit warmer (and didn't start until 9:15). No AG awards or PRs, but I'm happy with my race all the same.

    Could I have run it faster? Oh yeah. Or at least I think I could have. But I don't like to push *too* hard when it's hot, and this race is almost always hot. Maybe we'll get a break again some year like last year -- I'd love to see if I could improve my PB for it from last year!

    I find I need to maintain I certain mileage (which isn't a lot), or my race is very painful. It's a constant balancing act!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. the balancing act is tough! I've been scaling back the weekly miles, but also trying to maintain my fitness so I don't crash & burn midway through my ultra....YIKES. This running gig keeps me humble.

      Delete
  4. WOOO!!Congrats on the AG and you ARE speedy!
    I know what you mean though, running all out isn't a natural feeling for me at all, I have to all the stars align lol
    I love your hat ;) very cute.
    Ummm, my whole existence had been about scaling back for months now. I want to do more, but I am trying to not be greedy with the miles. Healthy - I just want to feel good! I am glad the wonkiness seems to over for you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ha ha ha....I need the stars (and moons and planets) to all align in perfect formation also ;-)

      Delete
  5. Congrats on your AG award! Nice to bring home some hardware on the 4th! My watch showed a different average pace than the official result in my 5k too. But that was because my distance registered as 3.14 on my watch.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hadn't thought of the GPS thing...this was a small race, so it was gun-timed. (duh!) ;-)

      Delete
  6. You are rocking the AG awards this year! I've been scaling back a bunch lately due to being in the off-training season, but I started back again this week so things will pick up.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was pleasantly surprised how I finished. I probably could have finished quicker without the wonky heel causing me to ease up on the mileage, but it is what it is.

      Delete
  7. I had no idea what to write about for this prompt! congrats on your AG award that is so fun and 3 years in a row. You must be a legend in your town :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ha ha ha...well, this race took place about 15 miles down the road in another small town...not sure how famous I'm there LOL ;-)

      Delete
  8. Congratulations on you race!
    I find running typically has no rhyme or reason, so I tend to just take it as it comes :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm that way, too. I seldom do a race with total focus on pace/splits/PR's, etc. It almost always depends on the day's conditions as to how I'll do. Besides, I'd much rather focus on the pure JOY of running than all of the mechanics of it.

      Delete
  9. Congrats on your race! I haven't done a 4th of July event yet, but one of these days I am going to!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This race is always fun because it's in a small town but attracts a lot of people from surrounding towns.It's fun seeing all the patriotic colors and flags in the yards along the course.

      Delete
  10. Great job it looks like a lot of fun!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was fun, despite the sticky weather ;-)

      Delete
  11. I've never run a 4th of July race but I would love to. Congrats on your awesome race and AG victory! I have had some injury scares that lead me to cut back on my mileage, so I only had over 50 miles in June as well. Such is life! Better safe than sorry!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. exactly...better safe than sorry. I roll my eyes at the peeps who have injuries that they refuse to acknowledge or treat.

      Delete
  12. Congrats on another AG award! You're really rocking your races lately!

    ReplyDelete
  13. I had a July 4th 5K too but mine was in 83 degrees! :( You all look very patriotic! Looks like you did the right thing by resting that heel and keeping the training miles low- your feet know what to do when the real race happens :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm just hoping the feet kick it into gear next weekend for my ultra (and this weekend for my other races)

      Delete
  14. Congrats on your 2nd place AG finish! I ran in the Firecracker 5K on Independence Day morning, and finished in 25:20 which gave me 4th place out of 59 women in my age group (55-59) and 92nd out of 781 women. Our age group winner finished in 20:15 - wow, just wow!

    I can't wait to read about your 12-hour ultra race!

    Thanks for linking up!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You had a great finish time...and a much more competitive group than I did LOL. 20:15....that's crazy!! the gal who got first in my AG was about two minutes ahead of me, and the gal who got third was several minutes behind me....so that's that. I always say "how you PACE is contingent on you, how you PLACE is contingent on who else shows up."

      Delete
  15. I'd say you fared quite alright! Way to uphold your tradition of a podium finish at that race!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks ;-) The competition isn't too severe at a race like this, but I'd be really disappointed with myself if I didn't at least place LOL. The gal who got 1st was almost two minutes ahead of me....so as long as she's running this event, she probably has that spot secured.

      Delete