>Racing>Race and Injury Report: Racing is Stupid
Queen of 3rd Place
This is the time of year I usually start easy base-building through the next weeks until early February. This year, I simultaneously upped my mileage and hopped back into racing (the local racing series takes a summer hiatus). I ramped up to the 40 and 50+ mpw range over the last couple of weeks, at the same time racing a hilly 10K one weekend (for an AG 3rd) and a 5K (AG 2nd) the next. The racing felt great and was doubly-awesome because I moved up in the standings to 3rd, where I needed to be to get a stupid cheap plastic trophy!
The day after the 5K I ran a gentle 12 miler, but noticed some aching midway up my achilles that increased over the course of the run. The next day I was limping. Ah, yes, the agony of stupidity. I jogged a little on Monday but it was clear I needed to take it easy. However, the last day of the racing series was coming up on the 12th and I needed to score some points to stay in 3rd! I rested the remainder of the week, and by Saturday morning I could jog gently with very little pain.
The plan was to do the 5 mi race somewhat conservatively, since I really just needed a 4th place finish to lock in my 3rd place standing. There was no way I could move up to 2nd, so why do anything risky? After a gentle, solid warmup I jogged over the the starting corral and noted that adrenaline is an amazing pain-killer. I looked around and saw only one of the two women in my AG who threatened my position in the points standings. She's usually slower than me, and I knew she'd been fighting a groin injury. I asked how she was doing, and was informed that the injury had resolved fully. I said nothing about my achilles. Better that she remember the previous weekend's 5K, where I had easily passed her at mile 2. I decided it would be a good strategy to stay with her and just cruise by her during the final mile.
The start came and she took off fast! She was up there with a couple of the 40 - 49 women's leaders, right around 7:20 pace. I knew from experience she runs positive splits, but I wanted to keep her in sight, so off I went. I slowly reeled her in over the course of the first mile and-a-half. It was clear as I got closer that she had a handle on her pace. I carefully watched her gait and it seemed to be true that the injury had resolved, she looked relaxed and strong. Meanwhile, my own injury was starting to protest. She turned and saw me, picked it up a little, but it was a weak response, barely noticeable. I still wanted to be conservative, so instead of passing I stayed right on her. Mile two went by in about 8:17, a comfortable pace. I told myself to be patient, but after less than a mile of this I was kind of bored and picked it up just a little more, which she did not challenge. "Yeah, I got this" I thought, "the pain isn't that bad".
Mile three was a still relatively comfortable 8:07. However, now it was my turn to worry about being passed. Besides, I had a chance at my first AG win of the season! Mile 4 ticked over in 8:03. I turned to look as I rounded a bend and she was just a little too close for comfort. I kept up the perceived pace and finished mile 5 in 7:53. AG WIN!!!
But wait, not so fast! One of the 40 - 49 women just had a birthday! "Happy 50 Julie!!" (Shit! She beat me! I hadn't given her a second thought.) Another 2nd place for me. Hey that's cool, it's only my 3rd podium finish all year. And the stupid cheap plastic trophy is mine, I don't have to race the final race in two weeks. Good thing, because it seems I'm back to gimpy. Damn.
So here I sit, icing my achilles, wondering what's next. I have no experience with this injury, so will just have to gingerly see how it goes and be patient. Stupidity, ego, and more stupidity are to blame. For some strange reason, I don't regret it.
Because, man, it sure was a fun race.
Quite an amusing read. As for Julie turning 50, you will get to 55 before her (the only time getting older is a positive thing). Hope you heal quickly, and congrats on your plastic trophy.
Agree! Very funny, thanks for sharing. And yet.... I don't know how to feel. Achilles issues suck! Boo! Plastic trophies rule! Yay! Having a great race rocks! Huzzah! But...achilles It's very confusing. Hope it heals soon.
Very entertaining read. Master's competition is no joke! LOL! I hope your Achilles feels better soon and Julie moves to another town.
Fate loves the fearless. – James Russell Lowell
My blog is JT Running DC.
Yeah. Great story. Except for the injuring your Achilles part. I've found that eccentric exercises for the Achilles are good. For me this was the best set which made the difference when I had Achilles issues http://www.sportsinjurybulletin.com/archive/1019-achilles-heel-injury.htm
"Know thyself." Socrates
Nice going Arla!
Julia - no kidding about master's racing, and I'm jealous about you getting to hang with Joanie and Shalane! Wow!
runsinskirts - those exercises in the link make sense, thanks...
Joe. - where have you been?????? NY is coming up for you, right?