Monday, August 30, 2010

Sweet Victory

I made it! I finished the 10 mile Crim run, and I did it in under 2 hours.

The Back-Story:

Tuesday Jason and I went out for our final practice run of the 10 mile out on the trail to avoid injury. That didn't seem to work very well, because in the final mile, my calf started to strain. I foolishly tried to run on it after it was yanking because we were having such a great go at it that day, and I made things worse in the final mile. From that point on, we both stopped running for the week until The Crim, and I put a lot of meds on my calf over the rest of the week.

The night before the race, I had $10 vouchers to see Blondie and Cheap Trick fall into my lap. I debated whether to go or stay home, rest up, watch "Run Fatboy Run," and hit the Olive Garden for the unlimited pasta bowl. You really just can't pass either of them up for 10 bucks and free parking, let alone both, so I went. The short version is Cheap Trick is still solid, and Deborah Harry is still awesome. Luckily they got done fairly early, and I was home and in bed at midnight.

I woke up at 5am the next morning. I showered, put Body Glide in all the necessary places, some icy hot on the calf, set the DVR for the Crim coverage, grabbed some toast and a banana, and charged up the mp3 player. Then I got my shirt, shorts, and shoes on and paced around for a bit before putting on my bib and D-tag.

Jason came over about 6:30 and we walked downtown to the starting line, as I finished a quick Power Bar. We hit the porta-johns (pre-race leak jitters), and watched the wheelers off at the start. Then they let the competitive runners, the 30+ year runners, and military runners go. I was doing a lot of jogging in place to loosen up the calf that felt like it could pull at any moment. There is a reason that I put it on my Colbert "On Notice" board on the fridge. We did some last minute stretching, and took our place behind the green flag for the 10 mile runners.

Immediately we were getting boxed in, and even worse there were walkers up in our section despite them being told several times that they are supposed to line up behind us at the purple flag. I've been over it several times, but here we go again. Walkers are just the bane of my running existence. Winning speed-walking is about the equivalent of winning at a game of online poker with no money involved. The sad thing is, these people cheat like crazy. One woman in particular I have seen at several runs, and she's ALWAYS cheating. The races without a starting block that takes your launch time, she'll take off with the runners, hiding in the crowd, and start walking after there is no crowd. At the Crim, she was running for part of it. I imagine this woman is queen bee of the super-bitches too and thinks she's the best thing since gravy cheese fries. Anyway, yeah, those f***ers got in our way again. Is it just competition bringing out the worst in them or are they just oblivious pricks? Speaking of pricks, I started up the mp3 player, and I just had to start up the race with a little K-Fed. I needed a funny distraction, and when I saw that, I had to play it. It worked for the first mile or so. Thanks "Pancake Man."

It did open up after the start, but not much. When you have nearly 10,000 people running, even a 10-mile span doesn't spread you out too much. My calf was already feeling tight in mile 1, and I was genuinely worried. I pleaded with it in my head, "Please don't do this to me, not today." Meanwhile, I looked at the timer for the first mile and it said a whopping 13 minutes and change (unbeknownst to me at the time, it was over 3 minutes before I got across the start). Mile 2 is where you start to get into the charm of the race. There were people lined down Third street, and the fraternities there were passing out donuts and beer to the runners. I didn't figure I should risk it this time, but maybe in the years to come, I'll partake in all of these station pit stops.

I started pushing through miles 3 and 4 by Mott Park (and grabbed my first water) to make up time, and a lot of people flocked to the woods there to take a public pee break. I was good, except for the calf (still). Then I hit the Bradley Hills, which is over 100' feet of elevation change in less than a mile. They're generally known to any area runner as "Where good Crim runs go to die," but I pushed through them, and grabbed a much-needed Gatorade boost at hill 2. Electrolytes are good, and by then my shirt, with our friend's physical therapy office on it, was soaked, so I'm sure I lost a little bit of what plants crave. I grabbed a water too just before mile 6 to wash the taste out and clear the mouth a bit.

At the split the time was saying 56:11, which I felt good about, and was only a little slower than my Blueberry time (in reality it was faster minus the 3 minutes, but you get it by now). The Bradleys did their thing to my legs though, and they were like rubber. I kept telling myself "keep going, keep going and it'll pass." It finally did, and I had a really quick mile 7 breaking past quite a few people that lost their sh*t at the hills. When I hit the middle of mile 8, I was starting to die though. My shirt was completely wet, the shorts were on their way, and I was really dehydrated. I hit 3 water stops in a 1 1/2 mile stretch at mile 8, 8 1/2, and at 9. I still haven't mastered the art of drinking and running at the same time. If I try it, I end up aspirating the water and coughing it out of my lungs for 1/8th of a mile. So I did have to stop, take a few steps, and immediately jump back in a few times. Maybe eventually I'll learn to do it while running like the pros, but it's not as easy as it looks.

Just before I made the turn at Saginaw St. for the final stretch, I flipped the player over to some Rocky IV soundtrack figuring it would help me let loose and finish strong. It did. At the turn, I started running faster, and halfway down the street I ended the race in a dead sprint (or as close as I could muster). I grabbed my 10-mile finisher medal (hell yes!) and Jason found me almost immediately after to tell me "good job." He was happy to see that I didn't finish too far behind him, and was able to go the whole way. We grabbed some waters, and each grabbed a popsicle, then another popsicle after eating those, then another water, then a banana, and then an apple. We ran into Ken and he snapped a picture of us on the bricks, which I have yet to see.

I look focused

Got it!
We went back to the gates and watched the other people come in, rooting them on like the crowds pushed us like a wind at our back, throughout the entire race. Those people help you so much when you feel down and out, and the volunteer stations keep us in business (big time). I almost got back in time for the 8K walk to be off, and walk with Jessi and her family, but I didn't make it. So I waited for them for an hour and a half to see them cross. Somehow I missed every one of them, and waited until it just wasn't possible for them to still be lagging behind (in fact they all were pretty quick). Jason and I gave up and grabbed our much-deserved free pizza and beer, and walked back to my place.

I called Jessi, and she was on her way to the grandparents. Jason and I went over there too, and they welcomed him and fed him, as I introduced him as my friend and trainer. They're so nice, and they always end up feeding somebody's stray it seems. Every holiday, there's somebody's friend there for some reason, and they always take them in like family, which is really admirable. We all shared our Crim stories at the table, and it was really great to get some food in after all of that.

I'm still in disbelief that this happened, and I'm still shocked I finished under 2 hours and my calf never pulled (the realistic goal was under 2:30:00 and optimistically I was hoping for 2:00:00 or under). I've taken it off notice, officially. The official time came in at 1:50:25, which is just over 11 minute miles. I'm good with that. The Blueberry race was 55:44 and it was half the Crim, so I did my job and kept that pace. Now it's time to start going for times the rest of this year. I won't be adding distance. Maybe next year we'll consider some half-marathons and maybe even a marathon, but for now I want to break that 10 minute mile wall. For now, I'm just reveling in my accomplishment, because I wasn't sure I'd ever be able to do this until this month. Maybe I should stop limiting myself.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, blogger sucks, I had written a long comment, anyway, yeah I didn't realize the whole water/running thing. Good job Brent!


Locations of visitors to this page