Monday, March 21, 2011

Scraped up knees and 5k race report

I am what a normal person would call "clumsy" and/or "klutzy." It always amazed me that in high school, I was able to NOT trip over every hurdle when I ran them for track. In my 4.5 years in Philadelphia and running the city's sidewalks and paths, I have not had the easiest time staying on my feet. Luckily, I had only fallen and scraped myself up twice. That was until last Friday while running with Back on My Feet. It was early in the morning, mind you (around 6 am, to be exact). That still doesn't give me a good excuse for falling. I just do not lift my fet up enough when I run and when my toe caught the lip of a slightly uneven sidewalk, I just ate it. The worst feeling was mid-fall when I knew what was about to happen was going to hurt a lot. I felt embarrassed because I didn't know the guys I ran with too well, but they were very sweet when I fell. I did feel like a BAMF for the blood dripping down my legs after it, though. A few days later and my knees and hand are very tender. This stinks because I was really hoping to get some yoga in today. If I put any pressure on my right hand at all, it screams back at me, so it seems like no yoga for a bit. Bummer. 

In the fight Rebecca v. Philly sidewalks, my knees and right hand lost.
Luckily, my injury hasn't stopped me from running, although I am a bit nervous about falling again. This past Sunday, I ran in the Get Your Rear in Gear 5k/10k race that started near the Philadelphia Art Museum. As a runner training for my third and fourth ultramarathons, speed is not something I work on often. With my new, lighter running shoes, I have found it a lot easier to run faster. I don't know if it is physical or if my epiphany, but I have been running faster lately. When a co-worker asked if I wanted to do the race, I was super stoked to test out ma speeeeeeed. 

Sunday rolled around and I was really excited. I aimed for a sub-23 minute 5k, which I chose based upon recent runs. It was chilly and windy, so I made sure to wear warm running gear. I took SEPTA (Philly's subway, but no one calls it the subway) to the closest stop to the race start, then ran about half a mile to the race start as a warm-up. 

Soon, the race officials were calling everyone to the start. I was getting nervous, which was weird! I kept telling myself it is only a 5k, nothing as important as my marathons or ultras. Finally, the gun went off at 9:30 and it was go time. I seeded myself closer to the front, but I did find myself passing people pretty quickly. My first mile split was 7:09, which was faster than I anticipated. The course was flat as a pancake, so it was easy to go fast. I kept telling myself the race is super short, so any pain or shortness of breath I felt would be worth the good time. 
Will I be a turtle with all of the ultra training?!
Around the halfway point (and turn-around point as it was an out and back course), a guy near me started to run away. I thought, "Oh heck naw," and stuck with him. I then passed him and thought, "Let me start picking off people ahead of me to pass." This was a great strategy and I was able to keep passing tons of people. At one point, a runner on the first half of the race saw me passing a group and said, "Yo go, girl!" What a great boost of confidence!

I ended up running a 21:39 5k (6:59 min/mile pace), 36th out of 1014 overall, and the 7th overall woman. Eeeek, it was really exciting. Though I don't foresee a 5k in the near future as I need to focus on my ultra training, it was great to change things up a bit and see that even if I am training to run loads of miles, I can still have some speed. 

Hope everyone had a great weekend!

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