This is my journey from couch to athlete.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

So when do you quit?

The answer for me was....not today! Today was my second shot at the St. Albert 10 mile road race. Last year, I had a great run here, and I was hoping to come back for a PB. I knew that this year could not be directly compared because I am at the end of two 12+ hr training weeks (including a 2:45 trainer ride, and a swim yesterday) whereas last year I had more rest  beforehand. I was still hoping to see how much I've improved until I got up and saw the weather. After I woke up I looked outside and saw how much snow had fallen and it was still snowing. I decided to turn on the weather network to see what the temps are like, and the screen is all red with a "severe weather warning" for Edmonton. They don't even give the temperature or the windchill. At this point, I accepted that these are not PB conditions. 

I arrived at the race and was surprised that Kim was the only one that bailed; everyone else (even Warren!) showed up. We went out with seconds to go before the start. I saw some friends from runningmania and joke about what "fun" we're going to have. The gun goes off and away we go. The roads are nicely layered with ice, and covered in churned up snow. As soon as I start I realize that my achilles are tight on both sides. The first  mile goes by not too bad, I was at about 12 minutes and impressed that I did not go out too hard. At mile 2 I'm doing race math and figuring out what a reasonable finishing time is. If I can maintain 12 minute miles, I'll be done at 2 hours; I can live with that. I am surprised at how many people are still around me but it is starting to thin out. Mile 3 and my achilles are still sore. Then my right foot goes completely numb. Hmmmmm it doesn't hurt but it's not a good sign. Then I start weighing out my options - keep running and risk injuring myself which could affect my training for weeks to come, or DNF. Quitting is an option I never take lightly. I spent a lot of time trying to decide what to do because I got quite a few people to come out and do this race, and I know a lot of people are following my training so I felt like I would be letting all of them and myself  down if I quit. There are still 7 miles to go so I decide I'll see how I feel later.  I really want to finish though because I know how important perseverance is in endurance events. 

There is a guy running right by me, we are running at the same pace but there was one track that was a little "cleaner" so I was behind him for a bit and then passed him. He was behind me for a while, and then he comes up beside me. I apologize for taking up the path and comment that we are running the same pace. His response was, "yes we are running the same pace but I'm tired of looking at your legs, haha just kidding." He passes me and we keep running. I get to mile 5 and am still around the 12 minute miles and my foot has some feeling back in it. Once I passed the 5 mile marker, the thoughts of quitting stop. Now, it was just counting down to the end. I was tired and had to walk a few times because the snow is really churned up and slippery on some of the small hills. I get to Sir Winston - the big hill on the course, and am really happy that I run the whole thing. Not only did I run it, I got to pass mr. I'm tired of looking at your legs. Now it's down to the last 2 miles. So far I have maintained my heartrate in the 160s. I probably should have pushed it a bit higher earlier but I was concerned that the road conditions would wear me out if not I'm wasn't careful. I decided that I would really push the last mile. I get to the turn and know that it's all downhill from here, but as soon as I change direction I'm running straight in to the 39 km/hr winds. The conditions are completely whiteout and see a lot of people walking in front of me. My HR is in the 170s and I'm working hard but don't feel like I'm moving very fast. My face was hurting from the wind. I keep going, just telling myself the faster I run, the quicker I finish. I round the final corner, still hoping to get 2 hours so I know I stuck with my pacing. I cross the finish line and see the clock says 2:02. I knew I started a bit after the gun so I figured I was 2:01. Last year's time was 1:52. 

I head inside and see one of my friends. He comments that my face is frozen and puts his mitt covered hands over my cheeks to try and warm them up. My legs were REALLY stiff. I know the line-up for free massages is long, so I head straight there to sign up. After hanging out with my friends from run club and runningmania, I go to the awards (congrats Claudette and Gordon! for age group wins/placing) and then go for my massage. The massage hurts! My ITBs were really tight. While he is massaging my achilles, he comments that they are "crunching" which means I have injured them. Hmmmmm that sucks. On the way out we check the chip times and I finished in 2:00:39 - for some reason that 1 minute mattered, and I was happy that I finished in 2 hours but a bit disappointed that I was 45/47 in my age group. One day I want to get off the bottom of the age group standings. 

Since this morning, my achilles feel tight but they don't hurt at all. Now the muscle soreness is setting in, and my face hurts from the windburn but otherwise I'm fine. While running a volunteer said, "way to go for persevering!" And at that moment, I thought, that is what today is about...perseverance!! If there is karma, I think today bought good race day weather karma for the rest of the year!


  • At 1:20 PM, Blogger Shaunene said…

    Hey Kerry,

    Glad to see you are still training hard and such - I will definately be looking for you when I am up in Penticton this year to register for 2009.



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