But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. - Isaiah 40:31
Saturday, June 7, 2008
New Haven Canal Days 5K
A Rough Start...
Our air conditioning isn't in working order at the moment, so I slept on the couch in the cool basement last night. I'm not sure where Romie slept, because I fell asleep before he went to bed, but he's an early riser, unlike me.
Around 7:30, I awoke to the sound of someone banging on the back door. I went upstairs to find Romie just outside the door, leaning over a garbage can, obviously in pain. I opened the door and asked him what was wrong. He'd been picking up sticks from the storm we'd had the night before and when he bent over, he hurt his back. He really hurt it.
He's had problems before, and rest and muscle relaxers and anti-inflammatory drugs helped it. But this time was different. He just couldn't move his left leg without severe pain. It was almost as if he'd had a stroke. He tried to make it move, and he couldn't. He painfully got down on his hands and knees to crawl into the house and he pretty much had to drag his left leg along, moaning in pain the entire way.
We'd planned on running the New Haven 5K together this morning, but he obviously wasn't going to be running it now. I asked if he wanted me to take him to the ER, and he said no. I massaged his back for awhile and then asked if I should stay home with him. No, he wanted me to go ahead and run, and he was very disappointed that he couldn't run, too. This would have been his first 5K and his first race of any kind.
I got him all settled in on the family room floor after getting him some food and meds, then I left for New Haven. I called Jenna, who works for ONE (Orthopaedics Northeast) as an athletic trainer, and left a message for her to call him to see how he was and offer suggestions for what he could do.
I got to New Haven High School around 9:15 and found Barb and Terry, who'd already picked up their t-shirts and were wearing their race numbers. Barb said to me, "Wait until you see what your number is." I guessed that maybe it was 13 and she said, "No..."
I walked over and the entrants were numbered alphabetically. Amazingly enough, no one running the race had a last name starting with the letter A, so my number was 1! I wonder if that gave me a little psychological boost? LOL.
Guen showed up a little bit later and Terry's wife Cindy took a couple of pictures of us before the race. We all stretched and then all the runners walked from the high school to the Lutheran church further north on Green Street, where the race would start. At 10:30, a whistle was blown and we were off!
We preceded the parade, so there were lots of people sitting in lawn chairs watching us run. As the race started, my primary thought to myself was, "You have to pace yourself. Don't go too fast." It's easy to do a jackrabbit start because so many other people do just that, and you get caught up in their momentum.
I very consciously had to slow myself down and before I knew it, I was at the back of the group. That was okay, because I merely wanted to maintain a slow, steady pace for the entire race. I had two goals: To run the entire race without stopping, and to improve on my time from the other 5K I'd run at the end of April (33:11).
The weather was absolutely perfect for running. Cloudy skies, light breeze, temperature around 70°. Once we finished running down Park Street and turned south onto Werling Drive, the number of spectators dropped dramatically. Now I could concentrate better on my running form, pace, and breathing.
I think my breathing rhythm has been a huge factor in the success and character of my runs. The faster I settle into a nice slow breathing rhythm, the better I feel about the whole thing. I don't get out of breath and my lungs don't burn and my heart doesn't feel like it's about to beat right out of my chest.
About halfway through the race, we passed a water station and a lady with a hose. I tried drinking my water and running at the same time, but that wasn't very successful, so I stopped long enough to drink two swallows of water, then passed through the water mist from the hose and got back on my way.
A couple of times I passed by some residents sitting in their driveways and I heard them yell out to me. I've worked in New Haven since 1977, so I know quite a few people who live there. One of my patients that I'd just treated about a month ago recognized me as I went by her house and she shouted to me, "Kylee! You're looking good! I'm so impressed!" What a boost that gave me!
A little over the two-mile mark, I encountered a young girl who was running her first race ever. We chatted a bit and offered encouragement to each other for the next half mile or so, then I went on ahead. I was feeling pretty good at this point, and decided to see if I could step up my pace without killing my legs. I didn't do an all-out sprint by any means, but did run a little faster all the way to the finish.
Barb was the next member of our group to come in, then Guen, then Terry. It was so fun when we all stood and talked about our experience. The feelings that showed on our faces were well understood by us - we'd finished, we'd done well, we'd done it together.
Terry joined his family, who was all there, while Barb, Guen and I walked around for a little bit before going back to the table to see what our times were. I'd accomplished my goals. I ran the entire race without stopping and took about 2½ minutes off my previous time, with a new personal best of 30:35. Next time, I'd like to get it under 30 minutes.
The winners in each age group were to receive certificates later in the mail. When we looked down through the official results, I saw that I'd won my age group (50-59 Female) and Barb came in second. As she said, we dominated our division! (We were our division...LOL) Terry won his age group, too.
I jokingly said as we were standing there, "I won my age group; I want a trophy, too!" The race's organizer reached around into a box and came up with a trophy! They'd had one extra. Then Barb said, "I got second," and he pulled the top half of a trophy (a female running figure) out of the box and handed it to her. It was a giggly moment.
What a fun way to spend a Saturday morning. You can't help but be energized by all those runners and to be able to run this race with some of my fellow Fort4Fitness trainees made it all the better. I just wish my hometown running partner had been there with us, too.