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Race Report: 2011 Sunshine Run 10k

Time*: 1:11:54 (11:36 pace)

If you couldn’t tell from my previous post, I had some high expectations for this race. I didn’t meet any of them, but now that I’ve had about 15 hours to reflect, I’m happy with my showing in today’s race. Let me give you a brief run down–pun intended–of the race first.

Sarah and I started off strong, pacing between 10:30 and 11:00 minutes per mile. We walked at regular intervals, as planned. But pretty quickly I knew something was wrong in the calf department, and I ain’t talking bout no baby cows neither.

My calves felt like concrete, solid and hard. On a good day, my calves feel powerful. Hamstrings work really hard too, but I feel the power pushing out of my calves. Today, I felt solid, heavy, unforgiving.

I kept plodding ahead, though, taking a GU Chomps every mile as planned, walking when my watch said it was time. But I got dispirited.

Sarah and I always run races on our own. It’s only fair. I would hate to hold her back if she felt On at a race, and I’m sure the feeling is mutual. So I ran at a pace that felt comfortable to me, but I needed her! At one point as we were passing Phelps Grove Park on the far side, I got selfish, stopped running, waited for get, told her what was going on and planned to run with her or keep as close as I could so that I could still get advice, inspiration, and companionship, but I felt bad almost immediately. I couldn’t ask her to stick back with me!

She pushed ahead and I kept at it, running as far as I could, walking a tenth of a mile, running some more, all the while trying not to think about how far I still had to go. I made running buddies with a local chiropractor who was also struggling and we pushed each other on, challenging things like, “Let’s run to that stoplight. You can do that, right?”

Right in front of Hammons Field, my new running buddy needed to walk, but I had to keep going, being so close to the finish line. I pushed myself some more to keep running, but that somehow gets easier and easier as the finish line gets closer.

And this finish line is a good one! It’s home plate at Hammons Field, and they read your name over the loud speaker add you get close to the finish line. What a rush!

Summary

So what is up with my calves? I’m sure part of the problem is that I’ve switched to Vibram Five Fingers full time. Proper use of them forces you to change your gait, which uses different muscles, namely, the calves. But I also stayed up later than I should have last night with race day jitters.

I’m two weeks out from my half marathon, so not much time to fix whatever is going in my calves and still complete the training runs I need to do. I have a strategy in my head, but I need to put it into a calendar and run it by my trusted advisers, Sarah and Pamela.

Any runners out there with any advice I should consider?

Before I end, I have to give a shout out to my Barnes Noble buddy, Keri, who took second in her age group with a time of 49:43! Way to go, Keri!

*According to my Garmin, my chip time is 1:11:54, but I haven’t seen the official time yet.


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