This morning I had grand plans of running a swift 5K. I didn’t think a PR was in reach, but I thought close to 20:00 was realistic. I arrived to the race location on the campus of THE Ohio State University with plenty of time to spare. I did a 3-mile warm-up and the legs were feeling pretty good. My right hamstring was a smidge tight, but nothing serious. I have suffered from tendonitis in this particular hamstring for years. When I was the ripe old age of 14, I tore my ACL complete in half during a basketball game (which was 14 years ago during the week of Thanksgiving, weird). In order to repair my ACL, the docs had to use a part of my right hamstring. The doc said I would eventually develop tendonitis in the region so I need to be sure to stay diligent about my flexibility and strength training.
The first time I experienced any hamstring-related issues was in college. During a cross country practice of repeats on the track, I suffered a strain in my hamstring. It wasn’t terribly serious, I took two weeks off of running, substituted it with cycling, pool running, stretching, strength training, icing and pre-practice and race massages on a regular basis and I was good as new.
Since my foray into marathons I have the occasional aches and pains, but nothing that prevents me from running. It usually shows itself during times where I am lacking in strength training.
I stop all strength training 2 weeks prior to my goal race. I admit it has been slightly challenging to get back into the strength training mindset since finishing NYC, but I was hoping to really commit to it today after my 5K. However, the damage had been done. During the first mile of the race I started experiencing some pain, I was clocking in at a 6:15 pace for the first mile and then out of no where – BAM! Hamstring pain. I should have just pulled out of the race. I really, really should have. But this was a small race, there were no sag wagons, just random college students pointing us in the right direction at each turn on the course. I was going to have to get back to the finish area where my car was on my own anyways so I figured I could just slow down and coast back to the finish. By the time I decided I should have pulled out of the race we were already 1.5 miles away from the start. Which would mean we were 1.6 miles from the finish – which was the same area of the start. So I just slowed my pace and sucked it up and finished. I should have walked but I just kept trudging along. It was awful. It was painful. I finished but I wasn’t exactly thrilled.
However, so far I have taken what cards have been dealt to me in stride. In the grand scheme of things, this is just a small set-back. I’m sure it isn’t anything extremely serious, I feel I have a pretty great intuition with this sort of thing and I have had some serious things happen in my life and with each of them I experienced a sinking feeling in pit of my stomach. I don’t have that. I think it’s because I was prepared to take a few more weeks off of running after this week before ramping up my training again. I was just hoping to do this because I wanted to and it was the smart thing to do, not because I am forced to do this due to injury. I plan on scheduling an appointment with a sports medicine doc, but know that realistically I may not be able to get into see anyone for a few weeks with the Thanksgiving holiday this week. If I get in earlier, I will take it as a pleasant surprise and a gift.
Overall the race was fun, it started out with the OSU fight song prior to the gun being fired, and the age group awards were buckeye necklaces. Super cute idea!
The race signifies the kick-off of ‘Beat Michigan Week’ and the race is put on by Tau Beta Pi, the national engineering honor society. All the money raised from the race is donated to a local charity: Neighborhood Services Inc., which is a local food and clothing pantry. Today’s race was the largest field this event has attracted in its 10 year running and brought in $5,000 to be donated!!! Awesome.
Though I ended up not having the best day at the races and am sitting here with my leg elevated and packed in ice, I am able to smile knowing that my participation in today’s race is going to directly impact citizens in need in my city. In the grand scheme of things, yes it sucks that my leg is in pain and I will be sidelined from my favorite activity for at least a few weeks, but at the end of the day my overall health is solid, I have family and friends who love me, clothing to keep my warm, food and water to satiate my hunger, a roof over my head and more than I could ever need.
Just trying to keep it all in perspective.