Essex 1/2 marathon (July 29, 2012)

A little more than a week before the race, the bottom of my left foot started hurting. I took a day off, then ran 8 miles on Ridge Road. My foot did not seem to hurt any worse as my run progressed, but as soon as I stopped running, I could really feel it. It was quite sore for the rest of the day. When I woke up the next morning, it was still sore. I was up all night that night worried that I had a stress fracture and wouldn’t be able to run the 1/2 marathon, or climb Mt. Marcy, or do pretty much anything we were planning to do on vacation. I didn’t run for three days. I was scared to run again, but knew that I should probably test my foot out on a short run, instead of waiting to find out while running the race. So, Thursday after work I ran three miles on the treadmill and my foot felt fine. We drove to Danbury, Connecticut on Friday. I ran three more miles on the hotel treadmill and my foot still felt fine. I love it when my injuries are really in my head. Ever since I hurt my foot two years ago and couldn’t run for six months, I am absolutely paranoid that every little pain is going to turn into something major, that will keep me from running.

We didn’t sleep too well Saturday night, as we were in a lean-to at Little River State Park and neglected to drag our foam mattress out of the car, so we were essentially sleeping on a hard board. We were planning to leave the campground at about 6:45, so that we could stop at a bagel/coffee shop in Waterbury for breakfast, but we were both awake and ready to go by 5:30 (long before the bagel shop would open), so we got breakfast in a gas station, instead.

I was happy to find some instant oatmeal with freeze-dried fruit and no added sugar. I paired it with a gigantic butter-and-sugar-laden locally made granola bar and a cup of Green Mountain Coffee (which is roasted less than 1/2 a mile from the gas station where I purchased it).

I was not feeling at all energetic as we stood around waiting for the race to start. It was a late (8:30) start, and I could already feel the heat from the sun. Things did not improve once I started running. The first couple of miles weren’t completely miserable. My legs felt heavy, but my foot and knee felt fine and I thought I might start feeling better once I was warmed up.

I never did. After mile three, we started climbing and I just started feeling worse and worse. After the turn around at about mile 7.5, it was down hill for a little while. Mentally, I was having a hard time. I was hot, exhausted and frustrated. I considered stopping several times. I couldn’t imagine running any slower and my pride was keeping me from slowing down. Eventually, exhaustion overtook pride and I slowed down. After slowing down, I had bouts of not feeling like death. Around mile 11, there was a long, shaded down hill stretch. I actually passed somebody. That didn’t come close to making up for the dozens of people who had been passing me for the last 6 miles, but hey, it was something.

I could see one person in front of me. For the last three miles, I was trying not to let him get further ahead of me. I was just willing myself to keep moving, and not slow down too much. As I turned from the road back into the high school parking lot, I thought I was almost there. I looked at my Garmin and realized that I still had almost a half mile to go. I also realized that it was very unlikely that I would break two hours. The race finished with a lap around the track. It was miserable. I did not feel at all proud of my performance, and I didn’t like everybody seeing me struggle. Blechhh!

I was really frustrated and disappointed. My only goal for the race was to break two hours, but I never really imagined that I wouldn’t be able to do it. It just seems like if my problem is that I got out of shape, I should be seeing some improvement now that I am running consistently again, but I just seem to be doing worse.

Time: 2:01:04