Last night I was really anxious about today’s race, I watched the 2006 Ironman championship for some extra motivation and then I ‘extracted’ with Garage Band a part of a GYGO episode that I like to listen to for inspiration on difficult workouts, because it would be easier to have it as a 3 minute clip to listen to during the race, than to start searching through the whole podcast in the middle of the race.
I woke up today at 5am, drank a cup of coffee and ate a carb bar. After that I made the playlist I was going to listen, took a quick shower and off for the race. Got there early, got my chip and even had enough time to warm up and stretch before the race started.
The first Km was a bit slower than I had expected, I finished it in 5:30, but it was Ok, there were A LOT of people, and it was really packed. After the first Km everyone got their own pace and things were going better. My split at the 2.5K mark was 12:30, that’s exactly a 5 min/Km average pace, which is what I wanted, things were going great! Except for this small pain that I had on the right side of my core area, nothing to worry about, I thought, it will just go away after I pass the 3k mark and the course gets flatter.
I heard my Nike+ voice saying ‘half point reached’ just as I walked besides the 5k mark, even my drunk Nike+ was working correctly today!!! And my time was 24:40!! that’s 20 seconds faster than expected and a 5k PR for me. What else could I ask for??? Well, for starters, can this pain go away? it had started on the right side of my stomach, but now it had spread around all my core area and was becoming really hard to ignore.
By the 6k mark I had slowed down and was thinking that racing after I couldn’t sit a week ago and just had a hernia infiltrated maybe wasn’t such a good idea. Then I started walking, it wasn’t a decision I took, it was imposed to me, my body just decided to walk and there was no discussion about it. At first I thought I would walk for 20 seconds, recover and then keep going, I could walk for 20 seconds and still make it in under 50 minutes, it was still possible at that point.
I tried to start running again and couldn’t make it for more than 5 meters. Now I was just trying not to stop, getting to the finish line on my own had suddenly become my new goal for the day. This is when the clip of a GYGO episode I made last night started playing on my iPod (you can get it here. Right click and select ‘save as’ to download). It made me change my form, I held my head high and started to walk as fast as I could, I decided I was going to get to the finish line even if I had to crawl to get there.
Then I started thinking about all of you, who have inspired me and helped me get to this point. I remembered how The Running Chick said that “only after breaking myself apart may rebuilding begin”. So I started running again, slow, but at least I was running. I thought about Chris, a great runner that’s injured and can’t run right now, but would love to, and that if I can make it to the finish line, I have to get there for him and my other friends that can’t run today. I thought about Rachel, who is so stubborn that even if the doctor (and all her blog readers) tell her not to run because she’s injured, she WILL sneak some runs in, she even goes out and runs in the middle of a storm. I’m sure that if she were in my place she wouldn’t stop, so I was not going to stop either. I thought about how Terri finished that dreadful 25k trail race, how Jill was struggling to walk 2 miles in May and ran 11 miles a few weeks ago or how Topher just ran 16 miles.
In the end, I was inspired by all of you, including all the ones that I didn’t mention, but whose blogs I follow. I couldn’t run all the way to the finish line, I had to stop and walk a lot and by the time I got to the 7.5K mark my time was 48 minutes, it took me almost the same time to do the last 2.5k as it took me to do the first 5k. I made my best efforts to not walk during the last Km, I wanted to feel that I was finishing strong. I got to the finish line with tears in my eyes and feeling a lot of pain, but I got there, and in great part, thanks to all of you. All that you have managed to accomplish helped me gather the strength to get there, so that I can too, be a source of inspiration when you are having a bad training day.