Thursday, April 9, 2015
It’s been a few weeks since I’ve run this race, and it’s not like me to not recap right away. Having said that, I’ve been able to really see what has happened to me physically over the last few months and maybe paint a more honest and objective picture.
Most people who know me really well will attest to the fact that I try to keep my complaining to a minimum, and I will never use an injury as an excuse for my performance. Truth be told, the 5 Points of Life Marathon and the Gasparilla Distance Classic in back-to-back weeks was a bad decision on my part. After Gasparilla, it was all I could do to walk, let alone run, for the next two weeks. The pain in my patella was excruciating, and nothing seemed to help. My Physical Therapist Yasmin wanted to take an X-Ray to see if anything else was going on, but she assured me that nothing was torn or ruptured. After two weeks of rest, the limp had finally gone away. It was now time to test the waters. I went out for a five-mile run, which truthfully should have only been a three-mile run. I say this because after the first three miles, it was a total struggle for the last two miles. The limp was back, and so was the soreness. I still had a couple of weeks before my last half marathon of the racing season, so staying off the pavement was not an issue. The issue in my mind was…am I going to get better? I know I said the same thing about my torn hamstring, but this was different. The hamstring was torn and would eventually heal. The patella seemed as if it were going to be a nagging issue to haunt me the rest of my life.
My friend Mark from Atlanta affectionately calls me a “physical phenomenon. “ If I am, a lion’s share of the credit goes to Yasmin. I’ve been under her care for the past six years, and I can’t think of better hands to be in…literally and figuratively. I went to see her about ten days before the half marathon; this is when we had our discussion about the X-Ray, and possibly taking a more aggressive approach in regards to my treatment. Two days later, the pain had all but gone away, and I was not limping quite as noticeably. With guarded optimism, I went out and ran on Saturday…exactly one week before the race. Having learned from my last failure, I decided that three miles would be the maximum distance I would run. To my surprise and delight, I ran pain-free. The rest of the day was pain-free as well, and I decided to give it another shot on Monday morning. Five miles later, the knee was still in good shape. I saw Yasmin again that Wednesday, and she told me that my kneecap had moved back into place, and the patella was functioning correctly. Maybe part “physical phenomenon,” but mostly great medical skills. I did one last three-mile run before the race, but I was still not totally convinced that I was “over the hump.” There is a big difference between running five miles pain-free and running a half marathon sans pain. My only consolation was that after the race, I would have all the time I needed to rest the patella…if necessary.
The Race For Women’s Wellness Half Marathon takes place in Coral Springs, and is literally five minutes from my house. That’s the good news. The bad news is, the race is ridiculously overpriced. Even if you sign up early, it is still more money than most of the races I have run. The race shirts are extremely ugly, and the medal is just okay. I’m not a fan of the course, but this is because it takes place on many of the roads I train on. Ideally, it would be great if the course took us through North Coral Springs, as opposed to South Coral Springs. I’m not sure why this race takes place on a Saturday, but I don’t really have an opinion on this either way. Having spewed all this negativity, I will always continue to support local races.
The starting time for the race was 6am; this is opposed to a traditional 7am or 7:30 start (again, not really sure why). I got to the starting line about 30 minutes early, and was greeted by my longtime friend Doug B. Doug and I worked together at Continental Cablevision for about 11 years, and we even shared an office/edit suite/workbench for part of that time. Doug had started running a few years ago, and he has really come a long way. We would try to run together, but I told him that I did not know with any degree of certainty how my knee would hold up. There were 386 participants entered for the half marathon, and 736 runners doing a 5K later in the morning. After a 15-minute delay (again, not really sure why), we were off. The patella felt good, and Doug and I were able to run together for the first few miles. I started to slow down just a bit after the third mile, but was still just a few steps behind Doug. I made my way towards the bushes for my traditional watering of the lilies, but was now a good 45 seconds off of Doug’s pace. It was at this point that the entire race changed for me.
For reasons I cannot explain, I got a tremendous bolt of energy. I was running a very strong pace, and more importantly, totally pain-free! I eventually caught and passed Doug around the five-mile mark, and was really feeling optimistic about my knee holding up for the duration of the race. The one cool thing about this event is that I actually run past my house around the nine-mile mark, so the entire family was outside to greet me. As I came down the stretch, I knew that a PR was possible, but not probable. When I completed the race, my finishing time was better than Melbourne by 82 seconds, and maybe my second fastest time for a half marathon. Doug finished 42 seconds behind me, which was one of his best times as well. We were both very happy with our performances, and only time will tell how my patella will react.
KEEP TRACK OF MY RUNNING ON