I woke up at about 6:30am 2 Saturday's ago (10/27) and headed out to Bonneville Mill Park in Bristol, Indiana (about an hour drive from my house). I got there about 8am for the 8:30am start and that gave me plenty of time to get my bib and packet and get to the start line with time to spare. The race was small, but well organized.
Now, as a reminder-- before this race, I was having some mega knee issues (see the last 123103847 blog posts where I bitch about it for proof). I went into this race telling myself I'd stop and DNF if it hurt. I was on a week of no-running, icing like a mad woman and lots of Aleve. I was hopeful I'd get through it but told myself over and over that I'd stop if it hurt.
I found out where I got there (b/c I was never bothered to look before) that the race was benefiting Down Syndrome support groups.
Yeah, that whole not finishing if it hurt thing... that didn't happen.
After I heard what the race was supporting, there was NO WAY I wasn't going to finish it. Downs Syndrome and other similar mental disabilities have a very, very special place in my heart. I knew I wasn't going to not finish, even if I was still telling myself at this point to stop if it hurt.
Before the race started a Downs cheerleader group did a cheer to get everyone pumped and to kick the race off.
Admittedly, not a great pic-- but it was the most inspirational thing I've ever seen at the start of a race. How can you NOT be motivated and moved after that? I mean-- I was legit in tears. If these women could get out there and cheer for me, I could damn well run the f-ing thing. Again, no way I wasn't finishing it.
As I started, I told myself I wouldn't look at my Garmin even once. I had a long sleeve tech shirt on, so I just kept the sleeve over it and really never looked. I didn't want to be concerned with pace and honestly I wasn't. I felt good. I felt fresh. I was just SO FREAKING HAPPY to be running. The first mile I made myself go slower than I wanted and I really was feeling great.
I stopped at about mile .6 (the only time I looked at my Garmin and that was just to stop it) because I was helping an older man unknot and re-tie his shoe. Poor guy! He kept apologizing as I was helping him while the ENTIRE REST OF THE RACE flew past us. I assured him it was cool, I wasn't out to qualify for the Olympics or anything. Anyway-- after a solid 5 minute pit-stop to help him, I was back off-- and LITERALLY last in the pack. The guy I was helping FLEW on. I kept slow and steady and tried not to let the OMG!-I'm-LEGIT-LAST panic set in. And, believe it or not, I did. I kept my cool. I didn't worry. I was just SO HAPPY to be running it made NO DIFFERENCE to me that I was last. I didn't even let the freaking motorcyclist that was bringing up the pack (aka: me) bother me.
So, I trotted along for another mile-ish, still in last place. Still SMILING. Still LOVING running. Still NO knee pain!
That didn't last.
At about mile 1.5 it started to feel off again. Tight. Pain came in and out. I started passing people at this point which was freaking awesome! I later realized I was only passed by 2 people (1 of which came outta nowhere, I don't even think she was actually running the race) the entire race which was freaking SWEET! It was great to be the passer and not the one being passed. HUGE mental boosts!
Sadly, the mental didn't outweigh the physical this time.
The pain just got more and more intense.
I ran through it, like an idiot. At first I just kept reminding myself about the cheerleaders. Then, it was more because I logistically didn't know how stopping would work. This was a SMALL race. There were times I didn't even see another runner. Water stops were stationed by kids. I didn't know how stopping would work, so I just kept running along.
The pain coming in spurts. I found that it got worse when I bent my knee, so I worked hard to keep it as straight as possible. I'm sure I looked AWESOME running-- best form ever.
The name "Haunted HILLY Half" didn't lie. This bitch was a beast. HUGE hills. In case you didn't know, it's freaking HARD to run up or down a hill without bending one leg. HARD, I tell you.
I know this may not look like that rough of a hill... but, this was the BABIEST of all the hills. And, there were a LOT. Trust me.
I had to walk up part of 2 of the hills because my knee was hurting SO BADLY. Sharp, shooting pains at points.
Whatever. I think deep down I knew I'd never not run the thing. The Hubs told me later he never had a single doubt I'd do the whole thing. I'm stubborn and headstrong and I suck at making life choices. It is what it is.
I finished strong-- negative splits! 8:something last mile! How, I have no idea. Again, I'm not the best life-choice-maker so I'm sure that had something to do with it.
Garmin time: 2:04:24.
Me post-race. Maybe not pain-free but I was still SO HAPPY TO HAVE RUN! I had a salty face! Do you KNOW how much I've missed having a post-long run salty face?!?! OMG!
A shinny new PR.
I could hardly walk after my knee hurt so bad, but a new PR nonetheless.
While my knee was beyond a whiney little bitch, I was still THRILLED to have run. I was on the BIGGEST runner's high the whole way home. I RAN! I GOT TO RUN! The entire race, I was either grimacing through a pain-filled moment or smiling SO BIG because I was RUNNING.
So, whatever. I made a bad choice. I know that. I should have stopped. I shouldn't have run through the pain. I got it. I know better. I knew better. I made the choice not to listen. It is what it is.
I took the ENTIRE WEEK off from all forms of cardio while on the cruise. Unless you count walking to the soft-serve fro-yo machine 4 times a day as cardio. I don't, for the record. I did workout each day-- weights. Actual weight/strength machines. WOAH, I know. It was NOT EASY not doing cardio. I LOVE cardio. But, I knew it was for the best. It took til Tuesday for my knee not to be in constant soreness/pain. It's still not the greatest. Feels stiff it it's straight or bent or just still too long.
NOT GOOD. Not good at all.
I went to spinning today and it felt OK, but I can tell it's not running-ready. So, I'll keep not running, even though it HURTS MY SOUL.
I'm calling a doctor this week. Stay tuned...