11th Annual Lou Gherig's Disease 10K Run RR

Today, I ran the 11th Annual Lou Gehrig's Disease 10K race.  This is the fourth time I've done this event.  This was to be my goal 10K of the season and I've been training for close to 11 weeks for it.  Goal was just to get as close to the pre-asthma paces as possible, post-asthma PR if I could.  Several things made this race one of my worse races in the last year.

It will sound like a comedy of errors but each and every thing I am writing really happen.  I swear.

Training: I've been doing Daniels' 5K - 15K training program with some modifications for tempo runs (the asthma prevented me from doing tempo runs until two weeks ago).  In the beginning of the training, I was running 200-400m close to 8mm and now I can easily do 200m at 6:50mm and 400m at 7:30mm, without getting asthma attacks.  800m and 1000m went from impossible to doable.  The asthma seemed to improve and so did I.

Illness:  And then I got sick last week.  I ran the Monday after my HM but I already felt off.  By Tuesday I had a fever, by Wednesday I was in bed.  It cut my week from 50mpw to 27mpw, and made my last long run bad.  I could've nipped it in the bud had I stayed home but with my week in SC looming, I could not take time off until Thursday, so I was at the office and then in bed, rinse and repeat.  I felt 90% by Saturday.

Training:  I was in SC all week long on a training.  This training is not like others; it's a very stressful training that involves lots of extra hours of work apart from training.  I had to prepare and argue a full case in front of real judges and because I was sick, I started preparing Sunday on the flight there.  I loved SC and this training, and was able to do all my runs while there.  I was also very happy when it was announced that I (me!) had gotten the best scores out of all of the attorneys there and the judges chose me as best advocate.  Cool!

Unfortunately, SC has a dust problem.  Their dust levels are higher than in Miami.  I am severely (think lethal) allergic to dust particles and dustmites and spent the whole week trying to breathe.  I could barely breathe and at one point in time, even thought of taking my inhaler out while we were walking to dinner.  I lost my voice during my arguments due to that too.  On top of that, on Wednesday I ordered breakfast and mine got cross-contaminated with shrimp and almost needed the Epipen (who the heck eats shrimp for breakfast?  Oh, yeah, Southerners).  Next time, keep it in the kitchen, I don't want to die, you know.

Oh, and since I had a fever last week, I could not do my allergy shots for these last two weeks.  That is crucial for me to continue running; I just didn't know how much until today.

Travel:  Unfortunately, this race was screwed up before it even began.  First, I got delayed for 2 hours in SC.  Then, in ATL.  I got home almost at 8pm.

I kid you not.  This is more surreal than a telenovela!

Race:  So, I wake up early, think myself well hydrated, prepare my coffee and head to the race.  Picked the packet and checked my HR. It was 20 beats higher than normal.  Humid, anybody?  I went for a warmup run.  Not as long as I wanted (2 miles) because the packet pickup took longer than I wanted, but it is what it is.  I was soaked way before I finished my warmup run.  I also tried a caffeinated gel.  I don't need gels for a 10K but I am trying to add caffeine before races because it helps with the asthma.  Except today, haha.

And off we go.  I settle into a pace close to tempo pace (I've been doing tempo runs at 8:53mm) and I settle at around 8:41mm.  The first mile goes well.  No hyperventilation, no issues.  But looking at my HR profile, you know what is coming and you know it's coming soon.  Also, the elevation profile does not do justice to this course.  It's tough, shadeless, curvy, and not flat.  It was 84F when we started, did I mention that?  Oh, and 71 dewpoint and 87% humidity.  That's like 100% humidity and a gazillion degrees.  Come on, it could be worse, no? 

Anyway, by mile 1.50, I look at my pace and I'm already slower than 9mm.  In less than half a mile, I dropped 20 seconds from the pace.  You know what's coming and it comes at Mile 1.83.  You can see from the HR when it happened.

So, I take the inhaler out, walk but cannot breathe well enough to use the fricking inhaler.  It takes me a couple of minutes for me to use it.  I run to the next water station at the end of 2, take the water cup, and walk while I use the next pump of the inhaler.

So, off I go and I am slower now but no longer dying.  Then, as you see at Mile 3.83, I start having difficulty breathing.  I already have 4 pumps of the inhaler, so I cannot use it unless it's really bad, so I walked for a minute to get back on track, and quit.

Here is where I quit.  I was 2 miles from the car but I decided at this very moment, that I was DNF'ing this race.  It was a goal race, what good would it have done for me to shuffle through the finish?  Nothing.  If the car was closer, I would be home already.  Sheesh.  Oh, and getting passed by the 60 minute pacer when you have not run a 60+ minute 10K in two years is demoralizing.

Anyway, at this point, a friend of mine passes me and I tag onto him.  We talked for a mile but I can barely run at his 10mm pace.  I am still winded.  We part at the water station at Mile 5-6.

At this point, I see a friend from my running group and I stopped to talk to him (remember I quit). He's already done, and he asks me how I am doing.  I told him I'm DNF'ing when I get to my car (it's close to the finish).  I already have the bib off and all scrunched, etc.  He tells me to finish; I told him no (this includes some eye rolling and tongue showing).  So, I started running and before I head to the car I pass my previous friend and he asks me to run with him just til the end.  He keeps me entertain long enough for us to be inside the chute.  You cannot exit the chute once you're in it.  So, I finished.  Pfffttt.

I know it was a bad day, a super hot day at that.  But part of me thinks I just wasted 11 weeks of training and have nothing to show for it.

On a good note, all my goal races are over and I only one 5K to check how my paces are doing and marathon training starts in 2 weeks.


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