My first race
Today I “ran” my first race, a hilly 10k in Agoura Hills with some friends and co-workers. I use the term “run” loosely because my run is pretty slow. I did better than I was expecting to, considering how much time I’ve spent skating lately and how little time I’ve spent running, but I do wish that I had trained a little better. Or a lot better.
Before I found roller derby, I aspired to be a runner. I would have dreams that I was running like the road runner (meep meep!), legs spinning under me as a gravity-like force pulled me forward along the road. I had never attempted running prior to about a year and a half ago, but once I did, I was addicted and determined.
Plagued by shin splints and then an inflamed iliotibial band (fibrous tissue than runs between the hip and knee), I had to take multiple breaks, but I kept trying at it. Over and over. I would improve, get that road runner feeling, and then have to stop because of pain. Not the “oh, this is hard” kind of pain, but the kind of pain where I knew if I kept running on it, I would cause damage.
Then I found roller derby. A brand new obsession. Suddenly my road runner dreams were replaced by dreams of conquering all the skating skills that were so elusive in real life. I gave my running injuries time to recover. I ran for a couple of miles at a time here and there, but never really returned to running with the same passion that I had before I found roller derby.
A couple of months ago, my co-workers decided to train for and run a 10k as a group. I joined in because, well, I’m an athlete now . Today was the big day. I almost backed out of it on Thursday, blaming the weather and my lack of training, but I woke up yesterday and knew I had to do it.
I started out well, enjoying the fact that the course began with a good downhill and then flat. I used my Garmin to keep a good pace and not get caught up in all the fast runners’ pace at the start. I felt pretty damn good for the first four miles. I felt a twinge in my right knee, but it was slight enough that I could ignore it. Then we hit the steep hills, which I walked/ran up. By mile five, my knee was a problem. Going downhill was a problem, and I started limping. Limping sucks because of the obvious reason, being in pain, but it also sucks because it throws off the mechanics of the rest of my body. I alternated stretching, running, walking, and repeat as needed. I finally got to the last half mile and knew I couldn’t let myself walk across the finish line. I went back to my run, knowing my knee would get revenge on me later, and fantasizing about an ice pack.
I’m now in bed with that ice pack on my knee. I’m not really sure how I’m feeling about it. Part of me is angry at my knee. I had more staying power and could have pushed myself harder were it not for my knee/IT band. Also angry at myself for not training like I should have. Ok, I was sick and on exercise restriction last month, so there’s a reason I wasn’t training, but I should have run more this month. On the flip side, I’m proud of myself for doing it. I’m proud because two years ago I couldn’t run at all, not even a quarter mile. I’m proud because I’ve conquered more physical challenges than the average runner (heart defect and losing 90-ish pounds, whatever caused my ovarian pan last month). I’m proud because I didn’t take the opportunity to wuss out as I had decided to do on Thursday night.
My finishing time was 1:20. If I can ever get over this IT band issue, my next time will be better. I got a finisher’s medal and I hope to be able to get some photos when they’re posted, hopefully not too sweaty and bedraggled-looking (though probably sweaty and bedraggled).