my running adventures – barefoot or otherwise
Over the past three weeks, I’ve been really struggling to shake off a calf injury that came on all of a sudden during a fairly fast barefoot run. It felt like someone had shot me in the back of the calf muscle (I believe it was the calf, and not the soleus, but I’m no genius in sports injury diagnosis). I stopped straight away and since then, I’ve been a miserable so-and-so, and even worse when, a week later, I then try to run on it again and get the same problem happen.
Suffice to say, I now seem to have recovered through the wonderfulness that is rest, and the awesomeness that is prayer. I’ve definitely needed both, as rest alone over the first two weeks didn’t change anything.
Anyway, it was really doubtful that I should contemplate running the race even though I’d already entered because it could cause further damage and my calf wasn’t right even just 4 days before the race. I even offered my place to others because I didn’t think it was a good idea to run. However, He (God, that is) had other ideas. I rested until the Thursday and then ran a gentle 6km around Cleethorpes, knowing that if my calf gave me any pain whatsoever, then I wouldn’t be able to race the next evening. 6km came and went without injury or pain! I was so happy. BUT, I was still anxious that I might injure myself during the 10k race and end up walking most of the course feeling sorry for myself. Fast forward to race day, and this was still my fear as I lined up for the start gun / countdown.
It was so good to be there for the race though, and I was especially pleased because I now had an ideal opportunity to run properly in my new racing trainers, my first pair of Nike Frees (5.0, bright yellow edition!). There was no way I was going to run unnoticed in these babies!
I decided that as I really wanted to just get round the course without injury, that I should start perhaps in the middle of the field rather than near the front where I usually position myself. I would come to rue this decision later…
I started pretty steady, but a bit quicker than planned, at just over 4 minute kilometres. As I got to 5k though, at sub 20 minutes, I still felt pretty good and so tried to maintain or increase the pace a bit. By the time 7.5km had been run though, I was starting to flag. The past three weeks of relative inactivity had put paid to my endurance, and I was really starting to feel tired. It really was mind over matter for the last two and a half kms, and with just one kilometre left I was starting to feel a bit nauseous. This is a real sign I was pushing myself a bit too much!
I tried as best as I could to continue at the same pace and having followed a guy for most of the difficult 7.5k to the finish, I decided that I would put in a bit sprint finish right at the death to get ahead of him. Mean perhaps? Maybe, but it gave me a new challenge to aim for at the end of a tiring race and mentally gave me something to occupy me and keep my determination going right to the end, rather than fading out crossing the line slowly.
You’ll see from the pics I’m really giving it some at the end and seem even calm at other points during the race!
Thanks go to Dave Hughes, a fine Welshman, who was easily persuaded to come along to take pics, with the carrot of a pint in a pub! Aren’t the pics awesome? Even if it is me in the shots!
A note about my kit…the vest I am wearing is my Strava Ambassador apparel I was given. I think I did Strava proud with my comeback 10k, particularly in pushing it to the max at the end.
The actual course runs through the beautiful campus of the University of Nottingham, a two-lap course, mostly on roads but also around a lake on gravel-type paths. There were a couple of hills ot deal with, but as this forms part of my running/cycling commute to work, they didn’t faze me, and in fact, I did all of my overtaking on the hill sections, both up and downhill.
As far as the organisation of the race goes, it was all very straightforward and smooth, although they did say they couldn’t stop the traffic! Fortunately there didn’t seem to be any issues though, and things passed off without issue. The ‘goody bag’ at the end included a pair of running socks and a commemorative t-shirt plus a few food and drink-based items…none really worthy of note though!
My run can be found here on Strava: http://www.strava.com/activities/71677389.
I managed to finish 15th out of 408 finishers, and was left slightly ruing the fact I didn’t start myself nearer the front. I have to keep reminding myself though that the point of this run was to test my calf and honour the fact I’d entered, rather than really racing. So, onwards to my training for the half marathon. I’d previously planned to enter the full marathon, but with this calf injury, I’ve taken a more realistic approach to future running events and will be entering the half marathon this evening hopefully, which is at the end of September.
Have you entered any races recently? How did you get on?
Have you ever run in a race without the goal of finishing as fast as possible? If so, why, and what were the goals and outcomes for you?
Note: If you click on the pics, you can see them much larger! 🙂