At long last I have run a race again! This injury has been the worst I've faced so far in my 8+ years of consistent running, and at one point in March I thought I was going to have to give up the sport. Thankfully, that is about the time I started healing.
So I signed up this past spring for Four on the Fourth - a new race in Roanoke that benefited the Boys and Girls Club (an organization I worked with a bit when I was a juvenile probation officer). The race was on July 4th and was 4 miles long. When I registered that seemed a long way off, but as the date rolled around I got nervous about racing again. Very nervous.
The day before the race I battled stomach issues all day. I knew this didn't bode well for my race. I woke up feeling slightly queasy and debated taking some tums for breakfast. Instead, I forced down my usual pre-race pb+j on whole wheat, which promptly sat in my stomach like a load of concrete. Not good.
Due to the heat the race started at 8 am. It was already incredibly humid - as Virginia summers have a tendency to be. When I picked up my race packet I was thrilled that instead of the usual race t-shirt they were giving away beach towels.
I was impressed by the organization of a race - especially for the first year. The race started on time, and it was hilly! It started by moving over a bridge and into downtown Roanoke. I adore racing through downtown Roanoke, so I was very happy about the course. There were mile markers along the way, which was also nice, since I don't wear a watch - I just race by the heart.
By mile 2 I was feeling mighty queasy. Now I have never puked during a race and I sure wasn't planning to start. Instead, I tried to focus on the goofball behind me that was singing various songs at the top of his lungs. As we passed a water stop, where volunteers were saying, "Gatorade here! Water here!" this guy said, "ALCOHOL!? Which one's the ALCOHOL?!?" Later, running up a terribly long hill, he yelled at a policeman that was directing traffic, "Doesn't this race have any longer hills? This one's too short!"
By mile 3 my stomach was up and down. I pushed onward, hoping for the best. I wanted to pick it up in the last mile, but it felt like each time I tried my stomach got worse. And like I said, puking was not an option. So I backed off a bit and tried to just hold it steady until the end. It was about 80* and the sun was blaring by this time, so I was really feeling the heat.
I crossed the finish line in 32:47, which is an 8:12 minute mile pace. It was a PR for me (mainly because I've only run one other 4 mile race, and that one I was pushing Pierce in the stroller). Still, I was thrilled because it meant that I haven't lost as much as I thought from the injury - in fact, I'm just slightly faster than I was last summer. Maybe there is hope for me yet!
After the race I had to sit and not move for a bit. Sweat dripping off, my face the color of the beets from my garden. I was so overheated! I was finally able to sip some Gatorade, and was thrilled when I placed 2nd in my age group during the awards ceremony. I won a cup full of red, white and blue candy as well as some Sparklers that the boys really enjoyed watching on the 4th.