When I signed up for this race a year ago I was looking forward to competing in my new age group and take the strength and speed I had been building to attempt a fast time and possible podium finish while using it as a tuneup for Boston. Well, as you know if you are a regular reader plans haven't gone quite like I would have hoped. I was out for about 3 months last summer so I had to rebuild. Then things were going great, I had a couple of really good Half marathons in the Fall and then boom, yet another set back for 4 weeks to start the year.
But things have been progressing well the past few weeks and although I knew there was no way to come close to the 1:44 I ran in November, I thought maybe 1:51 was realisitic and if things went really well I might dip under 1:50.
So, imagine my disappointment to wake up on Friday morning before the race with a 101.6 fever and feeling like an elephant was sitting on my chest with a sore throat ! Hours later I finally dragged myself out of bed and decided to go to urgent care to get checked out. With Laura really sick and out of it with pneumonia I didn't want to take any chances. A check for flu and strep were both negative and the fever was contained so I went to work and although I wasn't 100% I decided to go ahead and drive to MB.
I arrived at the expo late at 8:15 pm and then went straight to my hotel and went to bed with a 4:30 am wake up call looming.
Crap, I woke up with the chest feeling worse than Friday but no other symptoms so I headed to the start. A not too cold feeling 38F as I did a warmup mile. Hmmm, not so good. Legs felt great but breathing hurt. Not sure how long this is going to work for me. I should have probably gone back to bed but I was determined to give it a shot.
I began at a comfortable pace, legs still good but the breathing was harder than it should be this early. Somehow I missed my first mile mark. I was not running with the garmin so I needed manual splits to check my pace. Decided to keep up the effort and finally at mile 2 I was shocked to see I was averaging 7:40. Whoa, I haven't run a mile that fast since the last Fun Friday with Laura right before the latest injury. I sure didn't know I had that in me. I backed off the effort and hit mile 3 in a more sane 8:18, feeling ok but my lungs were not too happy. I took off my hand socks because my hands were already sweating and aimed them towards a clothes collection box two lanes over. How cool it was to watch them fly across the road, loose their momentum and drop straight into the box !
The next few miles were pretty steady at just over 8 minute pace. At the 6 mile water stop their was a little incident when a clueless 30 something guy stopped dead in his track and then without looking turned and walked right into me. A collision was unavoidable but my instant reaction was self defense as I shoved him off of me without loosing stride. He spilled his water and hopefully learned a lesson.
My split at 10k was about 8:05 pace but I knew I was going to be slowing down. At mile 7 we turned to head back and thats when everyone noticed it wasn't quite as calm as they thought. We had about a 9mph headwind the rest of the way. Nothing terrible but enough to feel it and with the cold my hands were soon hurting and I was wishing I had some gloves back. It made for some miserable running for me the remainder of the race.
I continued to slow down but got into a groove that was tolerable around 8:50 pace. I was really hurting now and it was a struggle with myself to keep going. A part of me wanted to slow way down and take some walking breaks with nothing to prove but I was also driven by a couple of personal goals. One I won't mention and don't ask was a real motivating force but it was causing me to put myself through a lot more pain than I wanted for at best a sub par time for me. The other thing driving me on was knowing that even feeling like this I had a shot at that sub 1:50 if I just kept going hard.
With about a mile to go my friend Mike Walsh passed me with some encouragement. I thanked him and told him I felt rough. I was going to be so close so about every minute I channeled the Honey Badger and threw in a 10 second surge. Mile 13 was my fastest since mile 8 but it wasn't enough. My final time was 1:50:15. As soon as I crossed the line I felt like a truck had run me over and parked on my chest. I was very happy to exceed my expectations while running obviously sick but I was thinking that was a stupid thing to do and now I was really going to pay for it.
I gathered up my food and drinks from the finishers tent and after a brief moment visiting with Don and Wade I slowly walked to get my warm clothes and then trudged to my car. I didn't think i would make it I was hurting so bad. How did I run and breathe like I did just moments earlier and now I can barely walk and gasp ? Well, I Hope I never have this situation again. I spent the rest of the day hacking up gunk and listening to my chest rattling. Not good. 2 days later now I am beginning to feel a little better after starting on some antibiotics Saturday afternoon.
Ok,so how about the last couple of weeks before getting sick and racing? Well the week ending 2-28 I got in a strong 38 miles including my longest so far, a 15 miler with a good average pace and a strong finish. Also had another 4 bikram classes, 2 weight sessions and a core workout.
The week of the race I got in 3 runs and all of them were great ! Feeling strong on hills, nice average pace and the legs and everything clicking. I only did one Bikram class with the race pending and one body wieght workout. Only took a two day taper for the race since it wasn't a primary focus for my training.
So there we are. I am obviously going to take it easy this week and get well before I resume any hard training but stay tuned. I will get better !