Long version: Wow, my first race after actually healing my injury! Should have been wonderful, but I lost a lot of fitness being either out or running injured with reduced mileage for over six months.
The good news: NO PAIN! I've been feeling wonderful lately and even after a race on reinforced concrete up and down a bridge, I'm pain-free.
|From a friend who also ran|
|See? Girl cut.|
|I do still have a head, btw|
The race started at 6 pm. We took a shuttle from the finish, dragging along little brother Abe, and got in a very, very hot warm-up run before the start. It was in the 90's at the start and very humid. Because the bridge is shadeless and bakes in the sun all day, this is a hot race. And it isn't a fast course at all. I forgot that.
So, I started kind of mid-front pack, felt OK starting out, and ran the first flat 0.75 mile in about 6:20 pace. Then we started climbing the bridge. I thought slowing down would be fine here - catch back up when the bridge goes back down, right? So I kept slogging up the hill. I passed a million people. A kid next to me threw up. A guy oddly body-checked me (later begged for forgiveness: he said he was looking at the view of the Mississippi and just ran right over me - didn't even see me at all). I finally reached the top of the bridge, and I was right next to the #2 lady. To my surprise she was talking on the phone. I laughed - she was playing with us. I knew she'd win this one.
As I hit the peak of the bridge, I was already past mile 3. That's when I realized I wouldn't be doing any catching up. The bridge gradually ascends, but it descends in a steep half-mile corkscrew, too tight and dangerous to really use for much speed, then suddenly you're on flat ground again. So the race is about a quarter flat, a quarter steep downhill, and half uphill.
I tried to manage the downhill well, but I was spent, hot, and miserable. My stomach ached as I wallowed around the last turn in time to see #2 lady blow by #1 in the chute to win it.
|Disappointed at the finish line. With Mark from Varsity Sports and Lauren, also a Varsity runner, who was 2nd.|
Once I got over my grumpiness at how out of shape I am, I enjoyed the after party. Rain rolled in briefly, just enough to cool things down, and we waited for the awards ceremony. Overall winners got a glass aligator!
|What the heck do I do with a glass aligator?|
I'm glad I got back out to race, but I wasn't expecting to feel this out of shape. I'd be lying if I said I was happy with my finish. I'm not. But I need to remember that I was basically out for 6 months. It's going to take me that long to get back to my fitness pre-injury.