Monday, September 28, 2009

Still Here and A Race Report

Let me open this by saying that I know I haven’t been posting because life has been exceptionally busy these past few months. But I haven’t given up, haven’t quit, I am still going strong (well kinda).

About 8 weeks ago I noticed the pain in my shins was getting to be a bit well um painful so I decided that I would let them rest. Give them the time they needed to heal before I ended up in a cast or something. So I hiked a lot. But no running other than the occasional run to the car when it was raining. No pounding on my legs so to speak. I wasn’t sure I was going to do this Race. I wasn’t ready for it in my mind, I hadn’t been running. But a week before the race I snuck out while my daughter was on her horse at the barn and took a nice little run in the country. Just 2 miles total counting warm up and cool down, nothing all that long. I just wanted to see how my shins where, if there was any pain I committed myself to go see a doctor.

Well there was no pain, other than my lungs screaming I thought you quit doing this! It was wonderful; I was running on country roads through corn fields. So I decided that even though I wasn’t ready for the race I would do it and see what I had lost and start the rebuilding process from there.

I registered and the day after that I got an email that was sent to a running club I joined that they were looking for 15 people to run the race in all Adidas gear, with a foe blindfold on to advertise the Adidas tent at the end of the race. For this I got a shirt shorts and a pair of Adidas running shoes, to keep! Plus they are going to cover my race entry. So I emailed them back and was like HELL YES! Well I really didn’t do it that way, but that was my initial response.

Pittsburgh hosted the G-20 Summit 3 days before the race and on the last day of that I could pick up my race packet. I didn’t let the stinking protesters stop me from getting my race packet. I left work and drove right down on Friday to pick it up. Walked around, talked to a few people I know and then headed out to drive past soldiers and check points to get home. Went for a small run Friday night, to double check my legs and try for distance. I didn’t go to set any records on this run, just wanted to warm up some for the race on Sunday plus I wanted to see how I was going to fair on hills. Still no pain and the hills sucked like always but I got up them with a little walking. On Saturday I had to go get all my new FREE gear, I have to admit I was a little worried about running a race in brand new un tested shoes. But since it’s only 3 miles and I wasn’t going to push it to hard I figured I would be fine. When I got there the girl told me that she didn’t have the blindfolds yet but would send one up with someone else on Sunday morning to the starting point.

Race day:

I woke up at 5:45 am to it pouring down rain, it was cold and miserable. I had to repress the thoughts about backing out down, so I really wouldn’t do it. I had to show up at the starting line 45 mins early to meet the other Adidas runners and get my foe blind fold. When they were all there, none of them had a blind fold for me. So I went without it.

There were over 5,000 people entered in the race and it looked like all of them showed up. I ended up in about the middle of the pack because there were walkers and I didn’t want to have to get around them at the beginning. It still was raining but it slowed to a drizzle and while I was wet, the excitement of the race start kept me warm. I talked to friends and waited for the gun to go off. Once it did, all bets were off, you ran or you got run over till it thinned out a little. When it did I set a nice comfortable pace and just ran. I had forgotten to bring my heart monitor, so I didn’t have a way to watch my HR, which should have bothered me, but I was enjoying the race too much to notice.

At the end of the first mile they had a water station for us. I grabbed a cup and kept going, by this point I was still in the pack but at the back of it, but I was still running, which was my goal. I didn’t care about the time, although I did think about it. The water at the first station almost made me throw up. It was warmish and tasted a like a swimming pool. Tons of chlorine, I tell you. But it did the trick to keep me going, we were about ½ ways up the first and only hill in the race, the rest was all down. Once we started down I had to walk for a min to stretch my leg muscles they weren’t hurting but I was really tight. I ran beside an older gentleman who told me that he runs this race every year for the view. He comes in from Boston to run it. The view of the river and the city is awesome on the roads we were on. Normally, I drive these roads at 50 mph. I suggest to anyone, even walk the 5k if you really want to see Pittsburgh’s beauty.

Coming into downtown was awesome too, to see the buildings and the noise of the crowd at the finish line was echoing up through the city. We ran down through town, turned to outskirt a little of it then right into Point State Park. Coming in with 10,000 or more people cheering you on was great, I sprinted the last 500 yards, I was tired, spent and I really could feel the effects of the weeks I didn’t run pulling on me, but with the crowd there, that many people, I wasn’t going to give up until I hit that damn line.

I crossed it, looked at the time and was like really? I knew I PR’d but I didn’t know by how much. I didn’t have my HR monitor so no timer there and my phones GPS system was too hard to run because I wasn’t allowed to show anything but Adidas stuff. So I went and ate a Banana (god they are still my favorite fruit) drank ice cold water and then had some pasta and ½ of an orange. I still wasn’t sure of my time though, but the rain started to really come down and I had to get a shuttle back to my car. I went home, knowing I did well but not how well.

Finally after I got home, I got my time (40:17) beat my PR by a full minute even with the weeks off. Today I am a little sore, but there is no shin pain to speak of. But it is a good sore, a well fought sore that I will remember for awhile.

Tonight, well I hear the road calling me, saying hey 17 seconds and you would have beat 40 mins. By spring my friend you are going to beat 30.