Hog Trot 5K
If you’ve been reading my blog, you know that I’ve been struggling with an ankle injury for the last 1.5 weeks and have not been able to run in that time frame. I had my second (ever) 5K schedule for yesterday and, as the weekend neared, I feared I would not be able to participate. Thursday and Friday, my ankle started to be nice to me and I was finally pain free. I decided some kind of ankle brace would probably be a good idea to keep things stable to avoid injuring it again or further and I decided to get an ASO ankle brace. I was not expecting much of anything for this race. I breaking one of the “rules” of racing which is never race in gear you’ve never run in before, which was the ankle brace, so I wasn’t sure how that would pan out. Plus, like I mentioned before, I hadn’t run (well, not pain free) in almost 2 weeks. I had one goal for this race and that was to simply run; that is, if I could do so without any discomfort.
This race had a 3pm start and I didn’t want to eat too much or the wrong thing and end up with cramps or worse so I stuck to my normal breakfast (cereal & coffee) and a small lunch (more cereal and a couple of bites of a banana that my 3 year old stole from me). This seemed to work fine but I was an idiot and didn’t hydrate myself properly like I should have (more about that in a bit).
We arrived at Hog’s Breath Saloon around 1:45pm and managed to find a parking spot fairly easily. As I started my trek toward registration, I ran into Steve and it turned out he was parked a couple of cars down from my car so it was easy to stalk him. lol I asked him where to register and we parted ways for a few minutes while I got my packet. I made my way back to my car to get ready. Pinning my bib was much easier this time and I got it the first try. Hey, it’s the little things. 😉 I put my ankle brace on, strapped my iPod to my arm, got the kids out of the car and everything organized for my husband and we were on our way.
I had no idea where the race would take place so we ventured to see what we could fine. I saw a runner doing a warm-up pass under a small parking garage so we headed that way. I forget it we met back up with Steve as we were walking toward what looked like the right direction or if he met up with us but we soon figured out we were going the right way. We found where the finish line would be and I left the kids with my husband as I did a warm-up. Steve left a couple of minutes before I did and I ran the same route he did. I wanted to do a good 10 minute jog but there was a stop sign just a little further so I got to the stop sign and then turned around to run back to the finish line area. My warm up was about 1.2 miles and I did some dynamic stretching when I got back to my husband and kidlets. When I was done, there was still a good 20 minutes before race time so we just stood around waiting. It’s easy to tell who the “pro” runners are as opposed to the “here for fun” runners because they were doing all kind of warm up stretches, runs and techniques and kept moving until we were gathered at the starting line. This is probably where I failed. As I continue to race, I need to develop a good warm up strategy that takes place as close to race time as possible, or at least keep moving, so that my muscles are still warmed up when the race starts.
We gathered at the race start, we sang the national anthem and then we were off. I felt fine as we started but I will admit I started to feel a little uneasy as runner after runner passed me. I stick to the back of the pack so I was sure I was now one of, if not the last, runner. I don’t know why this bothered me seeing as all I wanted to do was run and nothing else mattered. Or, nothing else should have mattered. Guess it was my competitive side getting the best of me. I refrained from giving into the part of me that wanted to bolt and pass those that had passed me but I kept up with my pace and forgot about the rest. I reminded myself of the crappy two weeks I’d had and embraced the moment I was in because I was finally running pain free.
The route was a loop through a neighbourhood and apparently it was a steady incline until the 2.8 or 2.9 mile mark. I didn’t even notice it or know that until Steve told me. Guess it pays to live in a hilly neighbourhood that also has steady inclines. It was just like another run for me. There was one small (to me) hill just before the finish line which I don’t think slowed me down much, if at all. The only issue I had this run was cramping that started practically right off the bat. I assume it was because I wasn’t hydrated very well but I managed to push through it and continue to run. The cramping ceased as I went on but there was a dull ache there the entire race.
As I near the finish line, I saw Steve running toward me in the opposite direction. I was expecting him to go by me to do a cool down but, to my surprise, he turned around and ran with me. He asked how my ankle was and I gave him a thumbs up and said it was good and I wasn’t in any pain. I don’t remember exactly what he said but he basically told me to give it all I had and sprint to the finish because I was close. I did and I didn’t feel very close as I kept sprinting. haha It felt like the finish line was getting farther and farther away as I lost more juice and slowed down. I watched the counter rise as I neared it but the numbers weren’t registering in my brain. It looked as though they were changing in slow motion and I would never get there. I could hear Steve yelling my way to keep going and I was almost there (etc) and that’s what pushed me to continue to push myself. I finally crossed the finish line and I was gasping for air (clearly I haven’t mastered breathing while sprinting). I must have sounded and/or looked bad because the guy at the finish line asked if I was OK. I was fine, just needed to catch my breath. I high fived Steve on the way to the guy at the end of the finish line to give him part of my bib for my time, got a bottle of water and found the family. Turns out my husband took a random shot with the camera over his shoulder hoping to get something and he got an awesome shot of our high five. The angle isn’t the greatest but I love it anyhow.
We stuck around for a bit as we watched some runners & walkers cross the finish line. I drank water and eventually made my way over to the wall that had the preliminary results posted on it. My official time was 34:13 which is about an 11:00 minute/mile pace. For reference, my finishing time was 35:28 at my first 5K only 4 weeks ago. I went into this race not expecting much of anything and left with a new PR. I was pleasantly surprised!!! Especially seeing as my training came to an unexpected halt due to the ankle injury. I took 12/20 in my age group and 173/269 overall. I’m very proud of myself and looking forward to keeping up the trend of continuing to better myself as a runner.
I am writing this a day later and my ankle is still fine. My other ankle on the other hand is a different story. I don’t know if it’s normal soreness from the race or if I did something to it. Looks like my prediction in my weekly training post may be true and a brace may be in its future as well. I’m doing my best to keep it up today and we’ll see what happens. Just when I thought I was in the clear, something else is thrown my way.