Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Overdue Recap #2 - Blueberry 8K

Montrose's Blueberry Festival Race has been on my radar the last three years.  There's just something I like about its small, hometown feel that makes me keep showing up.  The first year doing this was was essentially to set up a desired Crim pace for my first ever shot at the 10-miler and see if I felt like I could go another 5 miles after the 8K.  Last year I just showed up, despite running a half the night before, and I still couldn't tell you why.  I think I just piled on every race I could, and running tired for this one just gave me a nice last place finish to show for it, and nearly a 10 minute pace.

This year was the first time I brought J with me.  He was supposed to work that morning, but, considering we were starting at 7:30 for an 8K and he didn't need to be to work until 10:30, he figured he had plenty of time to go with me, run, and get back home for a shower before work (this is foreshadowing that it was a mistake to believe that).  I was doing a really poor job of paying attention to him talking to me on the ride there, and once we were all signed up and ready.  I put it in my mind that I was running this one as hard as I could, start to finish, in a semi-dedication to my cousin.  When that wasn't in my head, the other side of my thoughts were wondering how I could even do that when my foot (mostly my heel) had been in pretty consistent pain since our run the previous Monday.

 I can't tell you how I hurt it or when it started for sure.  All I know is for the last four weeks I've had what is mostly a constant, dull pain in my heel, with small sharp ones that are present from time to time.  I was a little out of it on the run that Monday, but I vaguely remembered a few sharp pains during, which I'll get just normally if I land wrong on a foot with my weight, so they're often easy to ignore.  Later in the night it turned into a duller pain and my right foot was noticeably swollen.

The next morning, when I got out of bed, it felt like someone had been beating my heel with a hammer all night.  Pretty much every morning since has been some variation of that.  The mornings after runs are much worse, but I've been taking running much easier and skipping a few runs a week just to keep it bearable.  Before the Blueberry, I had rested it almost a full week.  It still hurt.  Screw it, though, I was there, and I was going to run hard and get this thing over with. J had even loftier plans.  He was going to try to keep the ambulance, which is essentially the "make way" vehicle for the leaders, in sight. 

When they let us go, I set up fast early, but definitely not as fast as my friend who, had run off with the leaders, making me wonder if I was going to eventually catch a very winded friend later and actually nip him at one of the races (which hasn't happened a lot this year).  Hell, about a mile in I was starting to rethink whether I could hold onto my pace.  I wasn't even gaining on anyone, and nobody was passing me.  I was in a nice little "me bubble."  I kept telling myself, "Keep running, those people ahead are going to fall off," mostly ignoring the fact that they were actually slowly starting to pull off from me.

Two miles in, I felt I was digging into reserves already.  My foot was screaming at me.  I couldn't even see J anymore (bad sign), and those same two people were still in front of me, about the same distance they were before.  At least they weren't further ahead.  I just kept holding on.

Three miles in, same people, same place, and probably the longest stalemate I've ever seen between runners behind and runners ahead of me.  Was it actually possible to run an entire 8K without passing anyone or anyone blowing by me?

Four miles in...nope, those late-comer fast people that always miss the start and catch you during the race finally pass me, letting me know how boss they are and that they can show up late for a race and still be finished before me.  We're on the way back, and the 5K walkers are starting to merge back with us for the last mile.  Alright!  People to pass!!  Speaking of, those two ahead of me are getting closer.  I'm exhausted, but I get them, and then latch on to a dude in front of me that I know, in my head, I have no chance to catch.  I go for it anyway.

Last charge (less than a half mile left).  I've actually pulled up on "Mr. Far" (yes, this is an intentional Crispin Glover "Clownly Clown Clown" reference).  We duck behind the school, off-road for a last stretch across the lawn and then across the parking lot area, before hitting the last part, which is a loop around the Montrose school track.  I'm dodging walkers and any remaining 8K people and making sure I fully empty out everything I have.  Today would not be like The Legend.  Even if my time isn't great, I was giving it all up.

Turning the corner before going into the track

I get to the track and look at the clock, and if there were anyone to talk to I'd be speechless (mostly because I can't breathe).  Just a small loop around a track, and the time clock is only reading 42 minutes and some change.  I could crawl on my hands and knees to the finish, and still have an 8K PR.  I didn't.  Instead I told myself to try to get in by the 43:00 mark, and pushed it even harder.  I crossed the finish line right at 43:00 (no chip start, so end time is official time), and immediately dropped down to the ground for a sit.  J was giving me some congratulatory words, but I was too out of breath to even give a "thank you" at that point.  It was a PR by just over 2 full minutes.

He told me he was able to keep the ambulance in range and finished at 40:08 (8:04/mi).  My 8:39/mile was the first time I ever broke under a 9 minute average for anything beyond a 5K.  Eventually I got up and leaned against a fence for a while, before proceeding to the gym for results.  The first round was just being posted and we saw we were first and second in our age group.  That was encouraging until, as they kept posting updated results, we realized we were the only two 30-34 year-old men there.

Who cares, though, we still get medals.  Unfortunately, despite the fact we were done running by about 8:15, the wait for the medals took forever.  J asked if they could mail his or he could get his early because he had work at 10:30.  Apparently the organizer didn't listen or care, and told him he couldn't have it and they don't mail them.  Giving out medals didn't even start until 9:45.  I think that's pretty damn ridiculous, personally.  I love running, and I'm all for seeing everyone get their swag and sticking around for it, but don't waste that much of people's time for no reason.  Even worse is the organizer did our race dead last, after 5K run, 5K walk, random giving away of stupid gift certificates, 8K walk, and then finally the 8K run.  Jason decided to stay for his medal, making him late for work, and it was about 10:15 when we finally got them.  That's two full hours after we, average runners at best, finished the 8K. 

Medal Up!
Front of the Frozen with the Regular
Double 2nd medals.  Both days only one other person in my age group.
One of the most infuriating things in the world for me is when someone wastes my time.  I'm severely mental about making good use of time.  Even my leisure time has objectives and targets, so wasting two hours sitting in the gym, waiting for medal for an 8K isn't my idea of a good time.  Had it been just me, I may have bolted by then, and I didn't even have anywhere to be.  I swear I'm going to start bringing a book, because there's always a little bit of a wait if you age group.  No, it's never usually two hours, but it's usually about 30-45 minutes.  That's reasonable, though.  The Blueberry wait was outrageous, and I'm tempted to boycott next year now.  I haven't been that mad at a race since the Turkey Trot gave my shirt away (that I paid extra for the XXL) two years ago (which is why I boycotted last year).  I was tempted to carve up their staff and bring them home to eat.  They probably deserved it much more than the turkey that day.  You don't give pre-registered people's shirts away before the race to late registrants.  You tell them they can have one after the race if the pre-registered ones don't show. 

I'm going to stop writing before I work myself up...


  1. Congrats on the AG award!! And the PR! Both very cool :) see, you "htfu'd" (and I'm glad the foot didn't bother, hope it's still manageable).

    I have never understood the shirt thing either...

  2. Great job on the race...I too hope that your foot gets better...sounds to me like you need to get it checked out if it has been bothering you for this long...could be heal spur or shattered heal bone? Blessings

  3. Maybe. The problem with those, or the other possibilities, would be that I would either be forced off of it for a while or I would be told that I should stay off it for an extended period of time. On one hand, I get laid up for the Detroit Marathon, and on the other, I get the doctor nagging treatment for not staying off it.

    It's just another month. If it's still horrible after the marathon, I'll go and get the "you should have came earlier and stayed off this" routine. I don't see it getting bad enough in a month to shelve me away now. It's too close, and I'll medicate as much as possible and try to love the pain until then.


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