Monday, March 31, 2014

Worst. Pacer. Ever. Around The Bay 30k

OK, so this should be a short report.  (Ha!  I may have to be succinct at work, but this is my blooooog, I can ramble on as much as I’d like…poor you, reader, poor you.)

Well, as you may or may not know, I tore the ligaments in my ankle in early November.  Started running again, on the DREADMILL, in late December.

My early enthusiasm quickly waned.  I still went and worked out, but man is the dreadmill b-o-r-i-n-g.  However, Hali 100, so.  But!  Then!  Bipolar strikes!  This had been building since December, but by mid-January-mid-February I was a big delusional mess, which does not lend itself to training.  I ran maybe…once a week?  Short.  And not at the gym, because, crazy.

By early March I had run a couple of times, but still wasn’t up to regular running.  2 weeks out, the furthest I’d run since Hali 2013 was 12k, and that was only twice over all those months.  Then I ran a couple of 11ks (plantar popped up) and a 15k (wearing orthotics, which I hadn’t worn in AGES, to help with the plantar – hello horrible blister on my arch, several layers of missing skin).  So, yeah.  I ran 30k the Sunday before Around the Bay – 20k in the morning, 10 at night.  Then rested the world’s worst blister.

So, on that stellar training, I was ready to run.  Heh.

I was going to pace Joe, a running buddy who is pacing me at Hali 100 this year, as he ran from Toronto to Hamilton overnight to get to the race.  This did not go to plan.

We were at the start with K, who was planning to go for sub-3 (and she killed it!), nice to see her, but we weren’t fated to run together.  We saw Rick about 2k in or so, as he was working his way through the crowd.  At 3k, Joe felt the call of nature and decided to duck behind a building.  I was going to stop, but he said to keep going, he’d find me.  We’d been solidly on pace for a 3:15, which was faster than what Joe had been planning to do, but I figured, go with it for as long as it felt good.  

He did not, however, find me.  I ran slow so he could catch up, but nope.  I stopped, and waited for a few minutes, scanning the crowd.  Nope.

So I decided to keep running, alternating strategies of ‘run slow, in case Joe is behind you’ with ‘run normal, what if Joe is ahead’.  This is a surprisingly ineffective way to run.

At 10k I was overcome with guilt – what sort of horrible pacer was I?  Joe was tired, I’m supposed to be keeping him company, and here I am, running along.  So I stopped, for well over 5 minutes, and watched runners go by.  We were on a ramp, so I had a good vantage – still didn’t see Joe.

I did see Helen (Hali race director) run by, wondering what I was doing.  After several minutes, I decided to go, and I booted it along (the 3:30 pace bunny had long since passed me, which was quite irksome).  I passed people back, quickly rather than gradually, getting all pooped out and worrying in the process – what if Joe was still behind me?  What if he was in front, that he’d passed me while I grabbed some water?

Eventually I settled into a slow pace, figuring this was just another training day – I estimated I’d been stopped for 8-10 minutes looking for Joe, and I just wasn’t going to make that up – and this isn’t a goal race, so hey.

Hit North Shore – I was a bit nervous, since my hill training has been zero – there is one hill to/from the waterfront, which is where I’ve been running.  But I was fine on the hills.

Ambled along (wracked with ‘worst.pacer.ever’ guilt) – hit Copps Coliseum, or whatever they’re calling it now – it’s COPPS DAMMIT – finished in 3:23 (sigh), for my worst finish out of 3 ATB’s…but not that much worse than when I ran it with a stress fracture, so that’s something, I guess.

Had to call Toby, found each other and discovered Joe had finished about 10 minutes ahead of me.  So, if I hadn’t stopped to look for him, we probably would’ve found each other, or finished together anyways.

Such is life – it’s a bit of a bummer, because I neither paced nor ran my own race, but it was still a good training day, beautiful weather (who knew you could get sunburnt in March).  And it was fun to run with Joe for at least a bit of the way, I enjoyed the day. 

See?  Short-ish report!