We arrived about a half hour before the race, we being GF/W Jennifer, BFF Baxter, and OF (one-footed) me. The rain was constant, never a huge downpour but a steady drizzle. Normally in these conditions I wear some shorter compression shorts with regular shorts over them and a heavier short sleeve top, maybe with a singlet underneath. However, with this current prosthesis I had to have it covered with something more or less waterproof. If rain got into my socket not only would it get very heavy - the multiple cotton socks would soak up the water - but it could lose suction and fall off. Now that might have been entertaining to see but I didn't want to be the star of that news segment.
I finished my warm-up and completed my race prep in the SUV until about 10 minutes before the start. I was glad Jennifer and Baxter and come along because it would have been a little lonely without them there.
The race started right on time which, on a day like this one, is very important. You don't want to be standing around letting your warmed up muscles get cold and tight. One thing that struck me today that was with my long waterproof pants on, no one could see my prosthesis and I didn't feel as different. I do accept and embrace what I am now, but it is nice to feel no different too, just another runner doing what we love.
We take off and I feel good, really good, and get into a quick gait but I am going too fast. I know better and I preach better and have no excuse other than it just feels so good to be running again that I could not hold myself back. At 0.5 mi I am running 8:40 pace which I manage to slow to 8:58 for the first mile.
I can tell I am not going to run as fast as my last race when the slower pace does not result in a lower heart rate (HR). It's going to be a high effort affair without a fast time today. Around 1.3 mi the road is flooded, I guess maybe 6" deep. No way around it, we have to splash though. Since my prosthetic carbon fiber foot sits inside a creepy foot shell inside my running shoe, it collects water like a bowl. Now we're really having big fun. I see David again taking some pics and I'm glad I didn't face plant in the puddle.
We get to the southern end of the island, a short loop that takes us back to the main road. I feel myself slowing but my HR remains high and I hope I don't fall off pace too badly...mile 2 is 9:28 at the same HR, 162, as my first mile. The thought creeps into my head about how good it would feel to walk a bit. Thing is, doing a training run if my heart rate and effort are higher than I want, I stop for a couple of minutes or slow way down; this seems to help "reset" myself.
Nothing to do but keep on keeping on now. I resist the temptation to look at my watch too often to see exactly how far I have to run as that tends to make the journey even longer. I am close to the suffering category now at this pedestrian shuffle: mile 3 arrives at 10 minutes flat at a HR of 164. I am cooked. I do manage to pick it up some with the run into the finish line, I glance up and see my time over 29 minutes. I think I hear my name being called and indeed it was Jennifer who has brought Baxter in his raincoat to see my finish.
My disappointment in my time is very mild and passes quickly. I ran hard, didn't walk, and finished strong. I have a long way to go and there will be many more races. I will get there somewhat faster soon, and the getting there is what I love doing.
I hedge whether or not to stick around for the awards. We have to plan for mom's birthday party tomorrow and I and my prosthesis are wet. We sit in the SUV a while and have coffee and Jennifer goes to see if the race results are posted...she phones me that I have placed in my AG! So with the inclimate conditions plus another race being held across town, there was enough geezer attrition to vault me into the hardware. 5 races and three 2nd place AG finishes. I don't think I ever did this well as an able-bodied runner!
2nd place AG Charlie Post 5k
I have another 5k next weekend. I generally never race back-to-back weekends unless I am near peak fitness and looking for PRs. This next 5k is run along with a half marathon at the Save the Light races on Folly Beach...Jennifer had planned to do the half marathon months ago before she sprained her ankle and I just had to run Charlie Post, so there you have it. We will probably do one more 5k at the end of February before heading into March and my first 10ks.
I plan to run 6 slow miles tomorrow before mom's birthday cookout. The Achilles stretches are now part of my regular routine; I am glad I caught it in time to prevent a longer recovery or possibly more severe injury. I have come too far to do something stupid that will sideline me for an extended period of time. Nay I say!
Next week is likely going to be one not to be forgotten. It's not often we see such potential bearing down on us but for once at least I am getting a hint. Let's see if I can run with it.