Saturday, September 1, 2012

Dr. Piper Legacy 5k

On Thursday morning I dislocated/severely sprained/possibly broke my left pinky toe.

Last year I definitely broke the same pinky toe (I heard the crack); I've never had a broken bone until then, and it's so stupidly inconvenient. I rested the toe for about six weeks, which of course messed with my schedule. But this was all before the "be more consistent" NY Resolution that started this blog.

Thursday was a rest day, and as I stumbled out of bed to get ready for work, I kicked a suitcase I'd left in my path. I heard no crack, but the pain sent me to the floor, and I could hardly dare look at the toe. When I finally managed to scare up enough courage to face the damage, I was overcome with fear and pure, deep anger at my own stupidity. The toe was sticking out to the left, a tiny wayward soldier wandering away from the strictly-lined ranks of its peers.

I groaned and hobbled to the bathroom to get ready for work, all the while mentally berating myself for being such a slob. The suitcase had been used Sunday night when we stayed with friends in the face of Hurricane Isaac. Why was it still in our room, still packed, still in the most inconvenient place ever?

Bruising Thursday afternoon.

I strapped my pinky toe to its buddy and went to work. By the end of the day (throughout which I iced, compressed, took ibuprofen, etc) my foot was grossly bruised and painful, but not crippling. I decided to run our scheduled easy run on Friday morning because I had the first race of the season on Saturday.

The first mile was painful, and I knew I was overcompensating with my good leg when the quad went tight. But I pushed through the 2.5 mile run at a respectable pace; by the end, my toe was easy to ignore.

It hurt badly all Friday, but the bruising had changed and seemed less intense, and I convinced myself that running my race was a great idea.

Bruised & swollen after two runs.
It's weird about runners, you know? The way they want to ignore an injury even though it means they'll miss training in the long run? If I could just take a full week off, I bet I'd be back on track without any problem. But I don't want to take a week off. My plan was: run the race Saturday, then rest Sunday and Monday. 

The 5k itself was, in fact, great. I woke up with minimal bruising and iced my foot on the way to the race. The first few walking steps of the morning were excruciating because my foot was stiff. But once I got moving, the pain melted away. I ran at an easy pace the entire time, refusing to push myself too hard.

It's funny, because I stopped feeling any pain at all except for a couple times when I put my foot down wrong. My right leg didn't feel like it was overcompensating. My gait didn't seem uneven or affected.

The worst part of this 5k (which benefited the Dr. Piper Center for Social Services) wasn't my damaged toe; it was the heat. A 7:30 race is excellent in winter, but in the last days of summer it's a brutal endeavor. The sun was up well before we started to run, and with the sun came the expected heat and humidity.

The last 5k I ran was in June at the same time of day. That race saw me walking and struggling to finish at a sprint (which I like to do). My time was 33:16 for that one. Today's 5k was a much better experience. It was a road race, which is my preferred terrain, and I was able to avoid walking. I finished at 30:26; my original goal for this race was to come in under 30, but with my injury I felt my time was respectable.
K and me pre-race.

And the best part is that I know once the weather cools down, I'm going to be much, much faster.

K and M both ran today, and K blew me out of the water with a time of 27:41. M pushed himself to keep her pace for the first mile and ended up falling behind us both. He ran the middle of the race with me, which was nice, but he's not very happy with his performance. He definitely didn't run his usual race today.

M and me pre-race.
I came in 32 of 85 women and 82 of 162 total runners. I almost always place dead center, so these results are consistent. I do think running in the mornings made this race easier than it would have been if I were still running in the evenings.

 I'm looking forward to continuing my training for the Half. Our next race, according to our training schedule, is Oct. 6, which gives me plenty of time to heal and meet that goal of another sub-30 5k.

Now it's time to enjoy a long weekend filled with family, elevated feet, and tons of grading.


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