I haven’t mentioned it much, but my achilles has been giving me trouble lately. It’s nothing that has me too concerned. Just a popping sensation when I point and flex my foot. Okay, that sounds a lot worse than I think it is. It’s not an audible pop, and it doesn’t hurt. But I decided to really lay off the running about a month ago for a few reasons:
A serious achilles injury can be tough to bounce back from. Like seriously tough, and I don’t want to go there.
Experienced runners and engineers know that preventative maintenance is a lot cheaper than damange control. I may not be an experienced runner, but I am an engineer.
I plan to reach my primary goal for 2011.
So I haven’t been running much. Some might say I haven’t been running at all. Some might even say I’ve been kind of losing my mind with all this mandatory couch time. (I’m not naming any names, but my husband would probably agree with these people.)
But I already threw away one race registration fee (two if you count Saturday), and I wasn’t about to throw away another. Can you think of a better excuse to sneak in a 10 mile run?? I couldn’t wait to get out there!
As I toed the line, the race director gave us a rundown of the course. He warned us to watch our feet while we ran down “the killer hill” because it was muddy and falling and breaking a leg “would really cut into our time.” He also warned us not to look up on our way back.
This, in turn, reminded me to get nervous. As we parked before the race I told Jason I was worried I would finish last. I know what you’re thinking. That’s ridiculous. But I had my reasons:
- My achilles and lack of training asked that I run this thing cautiously. And we all know cautiously means slow.
- The race name had the word “tough” in it. I presumed this would fend off beginning runners.
- I received an email earlier in the week telling me only finishers would get a T-shirt. To which I replied in thought, “People don’t finish?”
- Bay to Breakers snatched up a few (55,000 to be exact) of the runners just looking for a good time.
I turned around just before the 1 mile marker and, sure enough, there was only one guy behind me. By the time by Garmin chirped 10:27 for the first mile, he had passed me. And so, my friends, I present to you the rear view. Aren’t the trees gorgeous?
The good news is I surprised myself and didn’t care. I believe my actual thoughts were, “Well, I did finish one race first this season. I suppose it’s only fitting that I finish one last.” I felt great and like my pace was right where I wanted it to be. So I said to myself, “Just embrace it.” In fact, I was almost disappointed to pass a struggling runner at mile 1.5.
It was an out-and-back course, and I ran the “out” pretty easily. I took the time to whole heartedly thank the volunteers, cheer on the other runners and stop and take a few pictures.
Myself and another runner agreed that the course looked like the Great Wall of China. Okay, maybe that’s a stretch. But it was pretty cool seeing a line of runners wrap across the hillside. (Another benefit of hanging out in the back of the pack).
This was the view off one side of the hilltop. There were amazing views of the bay off the other side, but all the pictures I took were blurry.
Just after the first runner passed me on his way back, I stopped and took a picture of a cow. What brilliant timing. What do you think? In it to win it?
I ended up walking up a portion of “the killer hill” and picked up the pace on the “back” half to compensate. As I ran past a couple girls one of them yelled out, “And out of nowhere comes the girl in the red jacket. Go red jacket!” Seriously (as my friend Elsha would say), does it get any better than that?! This race had THE BEST vibe! Everyone was so friendly and encouraging! I’m so glad Bay to Breakers sold out.
Not even my second to last place finish could wipe the smile off my face!
It was a fast crowd and a hilly race. And I was, after all, only second to last in my age group. Good enough, right?
I chose to celebrate an awesome 10 miles, my 100th post, my fifth Run for the Bling of It! race and the amazing marketing skills of the Hungry Runner Girl with a trip to Yogurtland and a see through T-shirt. Happy running my beautiful bloggy friends!