The Salisbury Zoo Stampede was on Saturday. I got to spend all weekend hanging out with my aunt & uncle – my parents even came for the weekend so it was like a cool mini-vacation. My race was a bit rough, however. There was good and bad… I’m trying not to be so disappointed by the bummers. I mean, I did PR! Yes, I PRed and I’m still not super happy about the race.
Race Logistics: Aunt Kara picked up our packets the day before the race, so we didn’t have to stay in line. Women got this electric pink tech shirt, which I liked, until I saw that the men got a nice subtle gray t-shirt with the same logo… ok, why the big difference? I should have asked if there was a spare gray t-shirt. Tech shirts are always slightly too tight…. and seriously, electric pink? I didn’t even know such a color existed.
Course: Ok, the course was super cool. We ran through a zoo. We startled some llamas. There wasn’t like, an actual start line, we all just started running into each other. Aunt Kara got accosted by a stroller. We ran for our lives until the crowd thinned. The course winds through a park, then goes out of the zoo and around it, looping back around to the start. There were lots of race personnel all over the park, alerting us to danger zones, holes and whatnot, and pointing us in the right direction. They all cheered as we neared the finish line. There was a group called Athletes Serving Athletes there, which is an amazing way to help people with disabilities participate in the race. It was sort of emotional to watch them run the race- we stayed at the finish line afterwards to cheer them on as they crossed. Each athlete had a wingman who ran with them – some of the wingmen were pushing athletes in special strollers to the end when the athletes got out of the strollers and crossed the finish line on their own. It was the first time I’ve actually participated in races with athletes in a group like this, although I’ve read about it. It just like made my heart full of love and happiness to see how supportive the running community is of all athletes. It like, brings tears to my eyes. If I ever get fit enough, I would totally be a wingman.
The running itself: We ran for three straight minutes until we were out of the throng, and then started our walk/run intervals. So the past few longish runs, I’ve noticed that my legs get really stiff. Like, super tight. Rock solid. So bad that it’s hard to walk during the intervals. My speed suffers drastically. I thought it was just a couple of rough runs, but now I’m thinking there’s a lot more to it. Then my feet started falling asleep. UGH not this again! I had to stop several times to take off my shoes and stretch my legs, which only helped until the next run interval. I did my best not to take breaks when it was time to run, I never let the frustration get the better of me. I calculated that we needed to run 16-minute miles or better to get close to the PR. Somehow, even with all the stopping, we did it! According to my GPS watch, we were in our 47th minute as we neared the finish line. I put on a burst of speed and could see the clock at the finish line said 49 minutes… I have a personal frustration with races that aren’t chip-timed. I never cross the start line right away, so how can I be sure my time is accurate? I can’t! I had a GPS watch, and Aunt Kara had two apps on her phone going at the same time, and all of them said different times… so, officially, I beat my old 5K record by TWO SECONDS. Actually? Probably a minute, but how can you tell?
Went home a bit dejected and sore. I did some research to try to figure out what’s going on with my legs. I believe that the foot problem is related to the calf problem, because my feet only fall asleep when my calves are really tight. Calves could be tight from training too hard and not enough recovery, not stretching enough, shoes without enough support. I am combating two of these things right away: stretching and overtraining. I really want to finish my running plan and run for thirty minute straight, but I don’t think my legs can handle it. I think I mentioned before that at the higher program levels, each of the three weekly runs is over twenty minutes, and maybe that’s just too much for me. Gotta tweak things a little bit.
Reluctantly dialing it back a little.