When you are on a really good streak, one that involves something you really enjoy, one you’ve kept going – that’s also kept you going for almost nine years, you don’t just quit for an achy foot.
I have been participating in the Calgary Roadrunners XC series for over 13 years, and since February of 2005 I have not missed a single one in the series. There have been times when I’ve walked one or two due to twisting a knee or recovering from a cold. I have, on occasion, pre-run the course in order to volunteer while others ran, but those counted, as they were that day’s course, on that day.
That being said, the 12 Mile Coulee race last Saturday landed smack dab in the middle of a two-week rest from running, wherein I am striving to release my foot from plantar and achilles (mostly in the heel) pain. I said I would be gentle on the foot. I promised I’d go slowly and not harm it, so as not to negate three previous weeks of physiotherapy. I said I would find a six year old on the course and run at the child’s pace, so as to hold myself back, like I did two weeks ago at the Nose Creek race.
The morning of the race I packed up my stuff, baked some oatmeal chocolate chip squares (did you know January is Oatmeal Awareness Month?), and settled down to blog about my injury mitigation. Before I knew it, the morning had slipped away and I was almost late for the noon race. This is not a race to arrive at the last minute – the parking at the hall is more than a kilometer away from the start! I arrived at the hall with 10 minutes to get to the start and a $50 dollar bill to pay my $7 registration fee. Right, no time for that – just get to the start, register later!
I ran my fastest kilometer of the day getting to the race start. On pavement. In trail shoes. This was not likely a healthy thing for the foot at all, but the rest of my body was quite adamant about the whole thing. At least, I’m pretty sure that was my fastest kilometer of the day. I don’t actually have evidence of that because I re-set my GPS to zero before the race start, and then promptly forgot to start it when the race did. At least I remembered to put on my Kahtoolas to grip the inevitably slippery slopes.
This all sounds kind of stressful, but the race itself was lovely. The sun shone, the snow was kind of gushy but not really hard to run on, and I was with about a hundred of my favourite kind of runners, trotting across a scenic, mountain-facing ridge and then careening down through one of the coolest little valleys in the city. It just felt so good to run. And Careen! Woooooohoooo!
I did remember, albeit half way through the race, that I was supposed to be holding myself back, so I tucked myself in behind a 70 year old for the remaining 2 km. I was only going for 4k, but he was planning to run 8k and pacing himself accordingly. I then proceeded to be annoyingly perky by chatting with a woman behind me for a while before she passed us. I eventually shut up and gave the guy a few minutes of peace and quiet.
My foot did not hurt during the race. Excitement and enjoyment had carried me through the course. The foot very much minded the walk back to the hall. I slowed down to accommodate it, but it ached the rest of the day, and no amount of apologizing would shut it up. Clearly I should just run trails (felt good then) and avoid walking on pavement afterwards, right? Ahemmm.
Right. Well. I have resumed my non-running streak. Each day I have performed my strengthening exercises, and Sunday I swam 20 laps at a local pool. I haven’t swum 20 laps in one go in a very long time. I should do that again soon.