I ran my first long race yesterday. It was long, I was slow, but the Pineland Farms 25K was conquered.
Until yesterday, the longest distance I had ever run in my life was 8.5 miles. Jamie kept telling me, "It's only 7 more miles Kate. You'll be fine." I didn't quite believe him, but I figured, what the heck.
I ran alone through most of the race. There was a father-daughter team that I went back and forth with for a while, but at one of the aid stations I stopped and had my dad stretch me out for awhile. That break left me as the last runner in the 25K with a big gap between me and anyone else. (though I did beat the 4 people who walked it!)
Knowing that my parents were out there somewhere waiting for me was very motivating. They sat for HOURS in the cold and rain waiting for me to come around to the aid stations. It was so nice of them to come down and help me out. They kept me going!
Around mile 8, my left hamstring and hip had just about had it. Thanks to Jamie Raymond, my amazing sports chiropractor, he had me walking around again after my Thursday evening wiffleball game, but I think running on it this long was just too much to ask of it. I did have hot pink Kinesio tape on my hamstring, ad and abductors to help out with the pain and inflammation. I got lots of comments about the tape out on the trails. I made it through miles 8 and 9 and then really started to drag. What was nice was my right leg and I felt fantastic! I had the energy and my right knee was still hanging in there. It's pretty exciting to be running without knee braces!
After I crossed the area where you go by the finish line (painful to see it so close, yet it is so far away), I ran this section of the race essentially alone. And when I say alone, I mean ALONE. It was just me and the fields and woods and the rain. I sang to myself making up the grand ole tune of "I'm alone, in a field, in the rain". At this point I was barely able to move the left leg. So I tried a variety of running techniques. I sashayed so I wouldn't have to use the left leg. I was able to do this for a good while, and then I switched to one-legged skipping. I also tried the keep the left leg straight and swing it around to the side for a limp-along stride. I kept trying to move a bit faster 'cause at this point I was just looking forward to stopping. My right leg then got very tired of having been pulling all the weight for the last many miles and I eventually surrendered to my extremely slow pace and no running up the hills at all. I think the last 5 miles were the longest 5 miles I have ever run. Eventually the 50 miler runners started to go by me. It was very exciting to see people. Emma and Chuck both cruised by me at this point.
I eventually hobbled in to the finish at 4:25:03. I was pretty excited I broke 4:30. Next year I think I'll tackle this again and I should be 100% healthy by then thanks to Dr. Jamie.
So the good news is, up until the last 3 miles, I felt great. My left leg didn't allow me to have much of a stride and it was in killer pain, but the rest of me was doin' fine. Thanks to my parents and all of the other runners out there cheering me on. It was nice to see Raw Food Frank out on the trails - he walked with me for a little while up a hill and kept me going. I also saw a lot of the Trail Monsters out there - every stopped to say hello and give me some encouragement. And thanks to Jamie for pushing me to get out there despite all odds!
I can't move today, but will hopefully be out on the trails again soon. And I can't wait until next year. I'm hoping to knock an hour off my time.