Tuesday, March 20, 2012

NYC Half Complete - working my way back

Headed into Sundays race I was apprehensive.  I had sent my PT girl a note about declining an invite to run an 'easy' 5K (to benefit her fundraiser - I chose to donate instead of signing up for the race knowing I wouldn't be able to put a lot behind it) prior to leaving for NYC.  She responded saying it was 'probably better' and that we'd get me in good shape for the next big race.  Oh no, I wasn't talking about NYC half like she thought but it made me think - did she really not think me run/walking this half was the best idea?  She hadn't let on.  Now I'm paranoid.

My plan was to run 10 minute/miles and walk through all the water stops.  Easier said than done - I am not capable of this - physically and mentally.  I drove down with Dan and Tom who I hadn't seen in awhile so it was good to have the 4 hour drive to catch up.  They did the Gina exchange to my cousin Mary who I spent the night with getting some quality cousin time.  That night as we sat there watching a movie, I swear I felt the area of the injury aching and it occurred to me that maybe I should bail out.  That's just not me and I was there - I was doing it.

So bright an early we set off for the race meeting up with Dan and Tom and Mary walked us to the corrals (she easily snuck in).  It was great because I could keep all my warm clothes on (it was chilly!) and then hand back to Mary and start the race.  The only modification I made was to drop back a corral which was fine because I had company with Dan although soon after the gun went off he went to run his race.

I started off very slow as I was told and very quickly the first water stop was there - I walked through it as I was supposed to.  It wasn't easy.  Every time I stopped at a water stop I had the very supportive volunteers yelling "C'mon, you can do it".  I wanted to say "Yes, I can do it but I'm not allowed to do it as I'd like to" :)

It was a different experience running this race 'easy'.   I was far more aware of my surroundings and spent a lot of time focusing on those around me and the spectators.  The course was actually kind of difficult: rolling hills for 6 miles through Central Park, out towards and into Times Square, a right down 42nd street and then to the water towards Battery Park/World Trade Center area.

I kept my pace but realized I was progressively getting faster.  I still tried to keep myself conservative but every time I'd look down, my watch showed a slightly faster pace.  So I pressed it to see if I'd feel anything, nope - nothing.  No pain at all.  As I continued, I tested little by little and still no pain.  It was coming to around the mile 9-10 marks and well, my stomach started to hurt.  There it is! An 'old' typical pain - something other than this injury hurting.  As stressed as I get when my stomach hurt, I was thankful it was the stomach hurting and not the injury - that in fact felt great. 

As the last water stop approached I considered not stopping for it because, well - my stomach was really bothering me but I felt like if I didn't stop, the Running Karma Gods would make me sorry I had broken my promise.

As we made our way past the 12 mile mark, we went into a very long tunnel - it was scary long and all I wanted to do was get out of it - so again, I picked it up.  Coming out of the tunnel I could see the '800 feet left' sign, a 400 feet left sign and so forth.  Well, I picked it up here - I was almost done, nothing hurt and I truthfully just lost my head.  It was awesome and I was really overcome with emotion as I made my way to the finish.  I had just hoped I could skirt in under 2 hours having come back from injury and keeping my '10 minute mile' - well that ended up at a 8:27 pace for a final time of 1:50:37 - definitely not my best half by far but not my worst.  The best part? No pain.

I arrived at my chiropractor and PT visits today - happy but cautious because I hadn't followed directions - both Mika and Jess were very supportive and happy I had done so well.  I have been downgraded to 1 X week PT and the bad calf essentially felt equal to the good half.

I even got to run over 6 miles today @ 8:01 pace - it seems like things are headed in the right direction.  Fingers crossed it's only up from here!  I have running every other day for the next two weeks.  In terms of racing, Doyle's 5 miler at the end of April is up next.  I'm sure I won't be in top shape by any means but I'm excited just to be back in the game!

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