I went to a bunch of doctors. I ruled out a bunch of major concerns. I set up my office to allow me to sit for long periods of time in a much more supported position. I started to focus on more flexibility and strengthened (although those two elements are still barely being do to the level I would like to do them).
Today I was not sure what I could do. My volume has been low. I have done no speed work. But I have been running enough to justify going. I did run 20 miles at Bucks on Nov 15th. I knew I could race 5 miles. I had so many questions? How fast could I run? How much fitness have I lost? Would I blow up on the course and end up walking? Would the pain return and stop me in my tracks?
I almost did not go to the race. I work up this morning, thinking I had made a big mistake. I should have just run a few miles with Sidney and dog, gone into work for a few hours and then headed to my parents house for Thanksgiving Dinner. But instead I felt like I was setting myself up to run right into a burning building.
The beauty of a Check-In Race is that you cannot fail. It is a test of baseline fitness and it is what it is. So after a really nice mile warm up with Nikki, who ran amazing today, I lined up and hoped for the best. I really really really just wanted to run without back pain shutting me down.
Gun Goes Off
I had already used my inhaler before the start, so I was a little surprised that I was having a lot of trouble breathing almost immediately. I felt like I just could not get in enough air. But one of the odd symptoms I have been having in addition to back pain has been shortness of breath at rest. It has been a long time since I had this much trouble. But this likely was a really good thing. The breathing trouble slowed me down and helped me find that Red-Line pace that I pushed the entire way. M1 7:11
I really used the rolling nature of the course to maintain my pace, working the downs, slowing on the ups. I tried to never let my breath get lost. Throughout M2, I started to feel a very sharp pins and needles type pain in the bottom of my left foot. "Oh Great! I am going to tear my plantar fascia today. I knew I should have stayed home!" Throughout the mile it did not get worse, but it was starting to impact my foot plant. I decided to wait until to see how it changed. If the pain got worse I would stop. M2 7:14
Through the third mile the plantar fascia pain subsided completely, which made me happy. I am not sure what that was about but I am glad it was not significant. I tried to find my rhythm. I cannot say that felt any more tired than mile 2 and I was feeling like I really could finishing this off at this speed. Esly passed me and encouraged me to come with him, but I just waived him on to go without me. I really didn't want to push too hard right now. I felt that this was all I had and I wanted to make it. M3 7:10
At this point I had noticed my back starting to feel like it was getting irritated. Not painful. But rather just tired. Not the same pain that has been shutting me down for month. This was more like feeling like I simply too week to hold my spine stable. I really made an effort to make sure I was not tilting to tweaking to the left. The fatigue slowly got worse throughout the rest of the race, but there was really just one mile left and I knew I could finish it. M4 7:12
After the short steep hill that felt like a mountain, we started our trek to the finish. I just did not have any other gears to tape into. I felt tired, but not fully spent. I felt out of race-shape. My back was tired but not in pain. Last .97 7:04
Overall, I took this race very cautiously. I was not interesting in reversing all the healing that has occurred from reducing my mileage. I did not feel like I needed or should dig for a big finish, even if I could. Since I couldn't kick even if I wanted to, this did not really matter much.
So at the end of this run, I am happy to say that I don't feel broken. I just feel out of shape. I can fix "out of shape"
Gender 88/ 1529