Cheers to the New Year 5K

I wasn't going to write an RR for this race as I was just running it for fun, but I think I can take some good things from this race enough to write them down.

As you know, I had a good late Summer/early Fall races, with times I wasn't even expecting. So it was frustrating to get injured after a fall and to still be dealing with this issue 3 months in. But such is life.

A few weeks ago, I ran the Donut 5K Holiday Run and it was not an easy race. I ended up walking it with some friends for a good chunk of the race and couldn't breathe well enough to run it. I've also been having issues with my right leg (the good leg) where I start scuffing the inner toe during my runs. I think I have changed my stride/gait somewhat to accommodate the injured leg. And it has been happening more and more often and during the race it got annoying. For a heel to mid-striker like that, that is weird. My retired shoes normally look pristine on the sole but lately all my shoes are already scuffed on the inner front even at 30 miles. Annoying!

Since then, my coach gave me some drills including leg swings before each run. And they have been helping a lot. Together with the PT exercises, it has helped me be more conscious of what the right leg is doing (it's slightly longer than the left due to the left's tendon tightness). Or maybe the left leg has become more limber and it's allowed me to not scuff a lot? Who knows.

This week I had 24 miles of running, which I have not done in 2-3 months. On top of that, everything went well during my 5 miler on Saturday, but my injured leg woke up super tight on Monday, with my ITB/knee area hurting. I limped most of the day but before my shakeout run I applied a lot of heat and self massaged the area and the 3 miles with 4 X 20 sec strides went well. It seems that it loosened the area more. Woke up on Monday with not much pain or tightness so the race was a go.

Even after 4+ years in Indiana, I am still not used to races that start at 10am in the Winter. I think there is one that starts at noon somewhere this Winter. Coming from Miami where a race by 8am was TOO FUCKING LATE for the heat, even in the Winter, this all seems odd to me, ha.

This race started at 10am which gave me extra time to sleep in. Good because I've been sleeping like shit lately. But on Monday, I slept great so I woke up walking well and rested. The temperature for the race was 34F, feels like 26F, 10-15mph winds and overcast. We had a bit of a dusting on the ground and it could rain, so I dressed accordingly. I got to the race start at 9am, picked my packet and went back to my car to finished my breakfast of an iced caramel macchiato and some water. I haven't tried eating anything before races since I started my new medication which gives me nausea if I eat anything before running or racing. I will start trying some new things now because I don't think a caramel coffee will be enough for a marathon (although I used to have one before my fast marathons fine).

At 9:40am I got out of the car and did my 1/2 mile warmup. Mostly walking with a few strides followed by some drills. Finished with 4 minutes before the race. And we were off.

The race is on a running path called the Monon, that goes for ultra length miles from the Northern suburbs of Indianapolis to downtown. Eventually it will be joined with our paths further north to form a gigantic trail system that covers most of Indy and surrounding counties. It's awesome. Anyway, it is also narrow and thousands of people running on it caused a traffic jam at the start. Which was good since I didn't want to go out too fast and pay for it later. After all, I wasn't racing it.

Mile 1 - I stuck behind a couple of runners that were slightly slower than what I would be doing at the time. This kept me from going out too fast. I ended this mile at 12:59mm which is slightly faster than I was planning on doing but it felt easy.

Mile 2 - Since Mile 1 felt easy, I decided to push it a little and see how fast I could do this mile without overdoing it and hurting my leg (it gets tighter the faster I run). I wasn't breathing all out which was good and I wasn't scuffing the foot which was really good. At the end of the mile I felt like I was running a bit of a tempo pace. Pace was 12:13mm.

Mile 3 - After the tempo mile I tried to slow down a bit and treat it like a cooldown, but I was still pumping my legs fastish. I cut the running and walking time by half so as not to overdo the last mile and run it all out but I was still running it faster than easy. Pace was 12:30mm.

The last 0.12 miles I did in what I felt was not a full out sprint. It was nice seeing a 9-10mm pace during this sprint, as I haven't been able to breathe well lately and the leg hasn't cooperated enough for that kind of paces.

Finished at exactly 39 minutes, 6 minutes faster than my last one and 45 seconds slower than the race I did in early December where I crashed and burned. So progress. 

To think I was running 34s in the late Summer/early Fall, it might appear like it isn't progress, but it is. Still dealing with the injury and not having run much these last three months, I'll take it.


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