After my first run in the Race the Landing series (see Recap 1), which was a study in highs and lows – a new PR, an age group trophy, and a miserable race involving a big crash at the second mile marker – I set new goals for this race.
Instead of going for a PR I wanted to try and focus on consistent pacing. The last race I started out around 8:30 (way too fast) and ran my last mile (which hurt like crazy) around a 9:30. This time my goal was to split the difference and see if I could hold on to an even 9:00 per mile pace the entire time with no crash at the end.
However, there was one unknown. Ten days before the race my left calf muscle had locked up in a huge knot and it had yet to release. Instead of getting better, it was becoming more and more bothersome. When I saw my sports med chiro for our standing Thursday night appointment, he said that while most knots/cramps come from adhesions, mine is actually a severe constriction where two muscles have locked together and are basically acting like a steel rod with no give and no release, which is why it has stuck around so long. He worked on it for about 20 minutes, which was so painful it caused my eyes to water, before telling me he couldn’t do anymore that day without causing tissue damage. So, he taped me up and I was off to race on one very iffy leg. As soon as the race started I knew that things would not go as planned. I made it about two tenths a mile when my left leg started screaming at me. Every single time my foot hit the pavement pain would radiate out from the site of the knot.
It was HORRID!
I really thought about stopping and quitting right there.
I even stopped and walked a few steps.
If I was smart I probably would have quit, but instead I convinced myself to try and make it to mile 1.5 where the course passed close to the finish and it would be easy to stop if I needed. After about a mile the pain switched from excruciating to very uncomfortable and I told myself I could finish. I only had about 2 miles left and I didn’t want to quit. (I know, I am horribly stubborn.) The faster I tried to run the more it hurt, so I settled into a comfortable pace, ignored the Garmin, and focused on finishing. I could not wait for this race to be over. I knew this race would not be a PR and that there would be no trophy for me this week. However, I kept telling myself that just finishing this one would be an accomplishment. I think this photo of me captured at the finish line shows exactly how I felt about this race – OUCH!Overall, I didn’t do as badly as I would have thought (I never looked at my Garmin, I didn’t want to know how fast or slow I was running) and was pretty happy that I still broke thirty minutes finishing in 29:44.
I actually came in 6th in my age group, so I just barely missed getting a trophy by 15 seconds. (This week they were old coins in honor of the ship at the park.) My time from last week would have once again pulled in a second place. However, overall I am really happy I was just able to finish this race, because that whole first mile I was sure I would have to drop out. The entire night of the race and day after it hurt to walk and I was limping around in lots of pain.
Right now my left calf is still locked up in the most ridiculous knot/cramp, but at least I am not limping anymore.
It has been like this for two weeks now and I am so sick of it.
I am rolling it out every night with a lacrosse ball, stretching, and generally inflicting all sorts of painful torture on myself. Anything to make it go away.
Luckily the next two races in the series are not until June, so hopefully by then this calf issue will be a distant memory and I can have a redo on my race goal, consistent pacing at about a nine minute mile.
If you were in my situation –
Would you have been smart and stopped?
Or stubborn and finished the race?