Long time no see!
The past few months, running has been on the back burner for me. I was trying to run 3 times per week, but any inkling of foot pain and I would take a few days off, so my training has been only semi-consistent.
The only thing I was really looking forward to was the Hoosier Half Marathon in Bloomington, Indiana, which functions as the half marathon championships for NIRCA (National Intercollegiate Running Club Association). Obviously I’m not in any shape (even when I am in shape!) to win or anything, but you don’t have to qualify for NIRCA nationals, so I just did it for fun (as I do all my races).
The challenging part would be that I hadn’t run double digit miles since summer 2014. I decided that if I could do 9 miles, I would try the half marathon. Three weeks before the race, I did 8 miles, and two weeks before, I did 9 miles. Those long runs went well, so I thought I was good to go.
Then, a few days after running 9 miles, I started having pain in both my feet at night as I tried to fall asleep. It was a throbbing pain right where my stress fractures had been (left and right second metatarsals). Naturally, I freaked out and scoured the internet for signs of what the pain meant. At least two sites mentioned that throbbing pain at night could be symptomatic of a stress fracture, and my plans to run the half marathon seemed to crumble down around me.
I took eight days off from running, going for a few jaunts on an indoor bike instead – including a 1 hour 40 minute session to simulate a long run. I did a one 2.5 mile “test run” two days before the half marathon to see how my foot felt and had no pain. I happened to have a doctor’s appointment, so I also asked my doctor for her opinion, and she gave me the okay to try it. With that, I decided to at least start the half marathon and drop out if anything felt off.
I think I could write a novel about all that happened over the weekend at NIRCA Nationals. I love traveling and racing with my friends. We left campus at 5:45am on Friday, April 10th for the Philadelphia airport. We had a layover in Minneapolis and arrived in Indianapolis around 2pm. We grabbed our rental cars and made our way to Bloomington to stay in a member of the luxurious Motel 6 chain.
Once we settled in, most of the club went out for an easy run, but I don’t like running the day before a race. Not to mention I didn’t want to push my luck with my foot. A few friends who stayed behind and I went on a short walk instead.
It’s funny how much I love escaping the city now. When I lived in Georgia for the first 18 years of my life, I couldn’t wait to move somewhere more exciting. Somewhere with more interesting places to go than clothing stores and chain restaurants. Somewhere you didn’t have to have a car to get around. And Philadelphia is certainly exciting — to the point of being overwhelming. Now I get excited when I see wide open green spaces, big box stores, and free parking lots. Go figure.
We had dinner at an Italian restaurant and then went to Kroger to buy breakfast and snacks for the next day. That’s another thing about getting out of the city — grocery stores are so big, have so much variety, and are so CHEAP!
The other girls and I sharing a hotel room were in bed by 9:45pm for a 6am wake up call. I dressed in the clothes I had laid out the night before, ate a banana ($0.59/lb at Kroger!) and peanut butter scooped out of the jar ($1.39/jar!) and Motel 6 coffee in a styrofoam cup (free!).
We headed to the Indiana University alumni center just in front of the Hoosier Half Marathon start line to pick up our bibs. Made the obligatory pre-race porta-potty trip. Sat in the warm car and and did not warm up by running. Moseyed on over to the start like about 7:55 for the 8am start. And began!
My goal was to run as slow as possible — hopefully a personal worst. Not the typical goal to have, but restraining myself from trying my best isn’t my strong suit (ordinarily quite a good trait) and I was really trying to take it easy. I was hyper-aware of my foot, waiting for the stabbing pain that would surely end my race.
But it never came. I met my goal of trying to go as leisurely as possible. I walked up every single hill. I walked through water stops. I drank gatorade and water. I ate oranges handed to me by small children. I said thank you to volunteers and smiled at the photographers.
I admit, even running as easy as I could, the final miles were hard. My legs were tired, I was getting too warm, and I really just wanted some carbs and a hot shower.
My splits, according to the official results
- First 5k: 29:05 (9:23 min/mile)
- Mile 10: 1:42:30 (10:15 min/mile)
- Last 5k: 28:55 (9:19 min/mile)
- Final .1, according to my watch: 7:18 min/mile (gotta go for it when you see the finish)
Overall: 2:11:25 (10:02 min/mile)
Somewhere in the middle — I love this photo!
At the end, taken by one of my friends
My slowest half marathon time by almost 20 minutes (my first ever half time, the Helvetia Half Marathon, was 1:53:15) but I finished. And I have never been so proud of finishing a half marathon.
Also got my carbs, hot shower, and quality time to lay back and enjoy my runner’s high.
I’ve got at least one more race recap coming to you soon, so stay tuned :)