Monday, July 23, 2012

Run Along the River

Recovering from foot surgery continues to be the most difficult thing I have ever done; with every encouraging sign comes a number of disappointments. What's more, I can't predict from race to race what the foot will throw at me, so to speak. It's quite the guessing game. I could give up, but that'll never happen.

On July 21 I ran a 10K in Cape Vincent, which took us runners out of the tiny village west to Tibbetts Point Lighthouse, on a road that parallels the source of the St. Lawrence River. Boats large and small accompanied us, and the ever-rotating windmills of Wolfe Island hinted at the Canadian delights found just beyond in Kingston (one of my favorite places). The wind was both cooling and distracting, especially as it served to roil the waves into an odor similar to the west side of Onondaga Lake. There was no escaping the stench.

Unfortunately, it did not help me run any faster.

This is right before I tossed the Gatorade bottle.
While I hit the turnaround at about 27 minutes, my speed left me near mile 4 and I struggled to force myself to keep running; had I walked I'd still be mad about it. I am in no way proud of my finishing time, but I am trying to take solace in the fact that I did finish. (Notwithstanding that I threw a bottle of Gatorade in anger after the announcer told me my time, surprising both myself and my husband (we were surprised about the anger, not the time).)
So that's the not-so-good news part.

Now for the better news:
1. My foot did not hurt. The spot on top where the doctor inserted hardware to keep the bones together did not pain me for the first time since I started running again. Neither did the arch of the left foot, nor the arthritic big toe. I am very pleased about this development. It was that very foot pain that distracted me to a terrible finish in the Cazenovia 10-miler on July 4. I hope, hope, hope this is it for that issue. It's been so inconsistent and unpredictable.

2. I ran 6.2 miles in difficult conditions--hot and humid. I stayed hydrated, slowed down if I felt I had to (even though I knew it could lead to a disappointing finish time). Still, I managed to average an under-10-minutes/mile pace. My big triathlon is less than a month away in Michigan. Ever been to the Midwest in August? You think it's been hot and humid in Central New York this summer? Try every summer in Western Michigan. Those are the two reasons I signed up for yesterday's race in the first place--to try to cover the distance in less than an hour (the half-Ironman is twice that distance, and I'm aiming to finish it in 2 hours) and to continue to acclimate to unrelenting heat. I succeeded on both counts.

I have a few observations about this race. The T-shirt is way cool--fluorescent green with a blue rendition of the lighthouse and the name printed above the heart. Minimal and tasteful. I really enjoyed the scenery, even if my olfactory nerve was pushed to its limit. Plenty of water stations throughout, and really friendly folks (loved the hose at mile 6).

Now, for the negative--no chip timing. The timing wasn't the real issue for me; it was that it took the race director far too long to figure out the results for the relative handful of runners who participated. We didn't stick around, and for a very good reason (another negative)--there was no food. I was told that orange slices were at the finish line, but greedy 5K runners must have taken them all. There is absolutely no excuse for a race to run out of food. None! Hold some of the slices back for the 10K runners. I was not at all happy about this. Yet they had a keg of beer. Nothing against my beer-drinking buddies but it's not how I choose to refuel after a race. Call me a grump, but running out of food was not cool.

Will I do this race again? Highly unlikely. It was a bit of a drive for the distance, and the race amenities were sorely lacking. But, as with every race I run, I learned a little more about myself, my willpower and my poor, unlucky feet.

Next up: Delta Lake Olympic Triathlon, Sunday, July 29. I doubt I can best last year's time of 2:59.37, but you never know. It's all up to the foot.


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  2. I once ran a 15K where they ran out of water. I got one of the last cups at the last water stop and there was zippo, zilch at the finish line. It's a November race and it was unusually warm (mid 70s) but no one could throw 20 or 40 bucks at someone and say, "Drive to the nearest Stewart's and buy all the water you can find?"!!! The race officials could only shrug.

    And one time at the B'ville Turkey Trot, they were withholding water from the late 5K finishers saying they needed it for the 10K runners. Probably fueled by that prior race experience, I blew a gasket. I told them in no uncertain terms that I paid as much money to run that race as the 10K runners had paid and they better dang well give me a bottle of water. They unlocked the truck and gave the crazy lady her water. And also gave some to the two women behind me who applauded me as they were also tired and thirsty and could not understand the logic of "You finished too slow; too bad for you. The rest of this is for the 10K runners." Again, if you're running low, GO OUT AND BUY MORE! You've got day of race registration money.

    No patience for that kind of stuff. None.