Sunday was the Four Mile (canyon) Firefighter 10-mile Race on paved and dirt roads. The race starts in Boulder and ends in Gold Hill. Races got to see beautiful scenery along the course with views of the turning trees, the mountains and the big rock formations on the side of the road.
I know these are horrible pictures of me, but they pretty much sum up how I was feeling at the finish. As you might have guessed, I was in over my head. My body was struggling from the start:
|Yup, not much I can add to this.|
Going into the race, I knew it would be a challenge on maybe not all but many fronts. I'm not in great shape. My mechanics are still way off, and 10 miles seems like a long, long run to me. So, naturally, I jumped in anyway. It's hard to pass up an uphill race when there are so few of them around. That probably wasn't a wise move considering the state of my body and all its twinges and aches. I gave it a shot, though.
It was a long bus ride from the finish line, where we had to park our cars, to the start. Those of us running kept talking about how long the ride down seemed. I could have sworn we were scooting down the hill for days, but it turns out it was only about 20 minutes or so.
Though the day would end up sunny and hot, the morning was cool, no cold. Most of us huddled around the fire pit near the registration table as we waited for 9 a.m. to roll around. Finally it was time to start, so we jogged up to the road and off we went with a police car leading the way.
Almost immediately, a small group broke away forming a large gap, which left me leading the second group. Unfortunately, my hamstring/hips were clicking and catching, so I didn't want to risk pushing it harder than I was, even though the racer in me hated to see that gap getting bigger. My foot was holding up better than it had in past races, though, at least at the start.
Before we even hit mile one, the gap between the two groups was large enough for a second cop car to squeeze in between the two groups, so it made me feel like I was leading the race. Of course, I couldn't back off the pace at that point! I felt obligated to at least hold steady, but my mind went back and forth between wanting to really race and wanting to pull back and make it a fun run for my already hurting body.
I led the second pack for what seemed like a long time. One guy passed me further into the race, but I passed him back. While I was still in front, a group of cyclists cruised by us. I didn't think much of it until the last guy to pass me leaned in and shouted, "You know, it looks like you're not wearing anything under that shirt." I was shocked. Because it had been cold at the start, I wore a t-shirt with shorts. My number was pinned to my sports bra. His comment did not sit well with me. I ditched the shirt a few aid stations after that, because the temperature kept rising. His comment lingered on my brain for a while. Not cool.
At about mile six, things started to fall apart, my body, I mean. Both feet started hurting, and my hips were really locking. In an effort to relieve some of the pain, I skipped, jogged and made funny wiggly movements, hoping something would loosen up my hips and hamstrings. As much as I wanted to push myself in the last miles, my body really wouldn't allow it. It was frustrating, but I had to accept it. A few people passed me. I let them go. I knew I was right on that line and could end up with a full-blown injury if I did much more than jog.
I crossed the line in 4th place. It was a very small race, but it was still nice to feel part of the crowd. Approaching the finish line, I felt mixed emotions: disappointment, sadness, fear, relief and pain. Everyone was so nice, though. I want to be able to run again, really run. I don't know how to get there, but I'm going to keep searching for answers.
Now I'm just taking things very easy, hoping my body will recover, so that I can keep running. I'm back on the bike some, just to keep things from getting worse. I'm glad I did the race, but I can see that I need to figure out how to attack these mechanical issues before I can think about doing more of this kind of stuff.
|Looking a little better in the early stages.|