Sunday, August 28, 2016

10 Miles of Pain or the NH 10 Miler

Let me just start by saying I have plantar fasciitis. I won't go into what it is now, you can find more information HERE, other than to say it causes an incredible amount of pain in your heels.  To find relief, I have tried all of the conservative methods of treatment (rest, ice and compression to name a few).  I've also been seen by a podiatrist who gave me 2 cortisone shots, one for each foot, an acupuncturist and a chiropractor.

I'm still in a fair amount of pain.

So being the smahty pants that I am, I decided I would be fine to run the New Hampshire 10 Miler, one of the hilliest races around.  If you remember I did a practice run with my Mom's Run This Town group and thought it was great, tough, but doable.  It helped that it was a relatively cool morning.  I really felt like this practice run gave me my mojo back.  What I didn't like is that it brought me down this crazy road of foot problems with no relief in sight.


Onwards and upwards, right?  After doing everything I could this month to ease my foot pain, I spent the week before this race prepping just like I would, hydrating and eating the right foods.  I woke up at 6:45 am on the morning of the race feeling calm, cool and collected.  The nice part about going into a race with an injury is your expectations are really, really low.  I wasn't going to PR.  My goal #1 was to just get it done.  Goal #2 was to avoid further injury.

I succeeded in both those goals.

I started out feeling great.  I was trying to keep to an 11 mm even though I knew I could have cranked it up a notch.  I had to keep some energy for those killer hills and I didn't want to risk injury early on.  I was afraid if I really pushed my speed, my Achilles would give out.  It was definitely aching by the end.

 I made sure to wave a friendly "hello" to every face I recognized from my running group and gave out words of encouragement when I saw one struggling.  For most of the race, I was able to get in the zone and just enjoy the ride as I like to describe it.  It's a beautiful thing to just enjoy running.

Then the hills hit.  The worst is at mile 4.  I didn't even try to run it.  I just walked.  My body and my foot needed it.  My game plan was to hit every water stop and dump it on my head.  It was hot at the 9 am start, 72 degrees and climbed to 80 by the time I was done.  Thankfully, the humidity was low so I wasn't miserably uncomfortable.

I hit the 5 mile split at 1:02:21 and was pleased with my time.  My best 5 miler time was 54 minutes at the Boston's Run to Remember which was flat and I just had fun with.  All things considered, being 8 minutes behind that wasn't terrible.

Thankfully, most of the second half of the race was in the shade.  The hard part for me at this point was my body felt great, I had fueled properly and I was hydrated, but my foot was starting to scream in pain.  By mile 7, I was overjoyed that I just had a 5K left, but I was really having to slow down because the pain was only getting worse.  There was a nice downhill around this time too that I would have loved to sprint down, but my foot wasn't having it.  It was a fight all the way down.  Last time I ran this, I lost my left hip and quad.  I didn't want to suffer that pain again as it through out my back in the process.

Like I mentioned, it was a burning hot day, with low humidity thankfully.  As always, I packed my hydration pack backpack which holds 2 liters of water.  It was so hot and the course was so hilly that this was the first time I'd ever drained it!  I still can't believe I drank 2 liters of water that day!

The last 2 miles were in the sun, up a hill and there was a crazy amount of traffic going by including about 100 motorcycles.  The race traffic got so tight that if the person in front of you was walking then you were too because there was no room to pass.  I ran most of the last mile and even turned on my Facebook Live to stream myself going over the finish line.

I wanted to take the opportunity to thank everyone who supported me in the last few weeks while trying to heal myself.  I feel like it was a group effort to get me across it so I wanted everyone to experience that finish with me.  Getting all the extra encouragement floating across my stream while I ran was great too and lead me to a strong finish.

My daughter waiting to cheer me on.

I was especially thankful to my husband who insisted on driving me there because he was afraid I wouldn't be able to drive myself home with my injured foot.  As always, I love seeing him and my daughter at the finish line.  It is something that I look forward to the whole race.  My 3 year old even gave me a butterfly tattoo that morning so I could think of her while I ran.  It brought a smile to my face when I looked at it.  I'm sure I looked like a loon to the other runners.

Overall, this wasn't the worst race that I've ever run.  I'm proud for getting it done even though, in retrospect, I shouldn't have done since it will set me back in my recovery process.  But I'm a stubborn Irish woman who makes a commitment and sees it through.  As usual, I'm trying not to beat myself up over the fact that the rest of my body felt great and just wanted to RUN.  My mind and body HATED having to walk, but I had to play it smart and safe to get it done.  Besides, I got a really sweet medal at the end.