Another year, another Sun Run.
This was my third year running the Sun Run, a HUGE 10km run that attracted just over 45 000 people this year. Something about dodging children, snot rockets, walkers on the running side, and straying pedestrians keeps me coming back each year.
I woke up with the usual pre-race jitters I get before a run. Doesn’t matter if it’s a 5km, a 10km, or a half marathon; I always wake up every hour nervous that I’ve overslept, constantly think I’m forgetting something super important, and feel anxious and shakey. But it’s all part of the excitement!
My anxiety wasn’t eased by the fight between the homeless guy and his girlfriend outside my apartment yesterday morning. Crazy people yelling profanities and throwing food at one another is nothing new around here, and silence is now more noticeable than yelling. But Jordan described it best when he said the woman sounded like a pterodactyl. I had visions of one of them shooting the other, my building being placed on lock down, and missing the race.
Nope, definitely not an anxious person.
Fortunately they and their shopping cart trudged away up the hill just before I had to leave. The race didn’t start until 9, which was good from a sleeping in standpoint and not so good from a “what else can I worry about?” standpoint. But it was nice to take my time to drink my coffee, do my clamshells and whatnot, watch some of the madness from the window, and then make my way down.
I was SUPER proud because my mom and her friend participated this year! So I went to say hi and wish them luck before the race. My mom has been supporting me and allowing me to train her for about a year now, and despite a torn meniscus and all of life’s curveballs being thrown she continues to keep at it. I’ve learned so much from training her and am so grateful that she’s supportive enough to stick with the routines I give her.
Afterwards I met with one of my friends and we headed over to the starting line area. I say area because it takes up a good 5 blocks . It wasn’t until about 45 minutes after the gun went off that we finally got moving, but the rain we were supposed to have held off for the most part so aside from being a little cold it wasn’t too bad of a wait.
I still hadn’t come up with my plan of attack yet. With BMO coming up next week I couldn’t decide if I wanted to take it easy for the Sun Run so I could run BMO as strong as possible, or if I should push it for the Sun Run to get at least one time goal, and then just take BMO as it comes. I was aiming for a sub-50 minute time which in theory is totally doable for me, but with my IT band behaving as it has been anything could happen.
I started strong and hit the first km in just over 4 minutes. I felt good but slowed down just a bit. Part of me worries that going TOO fast will tire out my stabilizer muscles and cause my IT to act up sooner than I’d like, but the other part just wants to run and finish fast before my body realizes what’s going on.
In any event, by the time I hit the fourth km I had that nagging feeling on the outside of my left knee. No bueno. I didn’t want to push it so I slowed down substantially and went back to taking 30 second walk breaks every 90 seconds. The full blown pain held off for a bit, but during the last 3 kilometers my walk breaks became progressively longer.
As much as I hate admitting this I had to fight back tears at this point. It’s SO frustrating not being able to do something I KNOW I can do. Good Friday I comfortably ran 6 miles in 48 minutes, and Easter Monday I ran 16km with just a little bit of pain at the end. I’ve had people suggest that it’s all in my head so I’ve done the whole “you’re not in pain you’re not in pain you’re not in pain” repetitions in my head but no dice.
I managed to hold back my tears by picking people out of the crowd I wanted to pass and then sailing past them on my run intervals. Whatever it takes, right? 😉 The pain is substantially lower when I’m running up a hill, so I don’t think I’ve ever been happier to come up that last hill across the Cambie bridge in the final kilometer. I sprinted at the end and managed to finish in 1 hour and 13 seconds.
Definitely not my best, but not my worst either. So in spite of everything I can’t be too disappointed. I skipped the post-race party and went for some celebratory bacon and eggs (and one perogie) with my boyfriend.
I had to give myself a reality check when I found myself constantly questioning why I could run 16km the Monday before and why I struggled to make it past 4km yesterday. There are SO many factors that came in to play; running A LOT faster right at the start, waiting around and not getting my usual warm-up in right before, running from side to side to dodge people, excitement and energy causing me to lose my focus…I could analyze these things for hours but it’s not going to change what happened.
So now with the BMO 1/2 less than a week away all I can do is continue to be diligent with my strengthening exercises, foam rolling, and icing. No more runs, just a few swims and maybe an upper body workout. I have a physio appointment today and a massage on Thursday to work out some of the tightness, and then all I can do from that point is enjoy the beautiful course next Sunday. I’m chucking my 1:49 time goal RIGHT NOW. I don’t want to go into the run with that in mind and get tempted to sacrifice the last half of the run because I was too busy trying to go too fast to start with.
Uncertainty aside, I’m still genuinely looking forward to next Sunday. It really is a beautiful course and I’m looking forward to all the crazy pre-race nerves that come with a half marathon. And if things go absolutely horrible, there’s the Scotia Bank half on June 22 I can try to redeem myself with 😉
So tell me running friends, have you ever had any thoroughly disappointing races, and if so, how did you deal with your emotions? And for those of you who don’t run, have you ever been frustrated by not reaching a goal but managed to bring yourself back to reality? I need all the tips I can get here 😉