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|
|Myself with Mary and Barb|
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.
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|
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!