The last good run I had was actually with one of my favorite running redheads, so it seemed appropriate that she was the first one I was able to talk into walking the 5K. I also figured that since I had never walked a 5K, this would be an automatic PR. Everyone wins! I've been slowly but steadily healing, but I'm far more concerned about getting to the starting line of the 70.3 that is looming than having a set-back because of trying to run a 5K.
When I arrived in Boston on Saturday morning, I started to think that I might be able to run a little bit of it. I mean, honestly, I don't like walking, walking sucks, and the only reason I do it at all is because I don't have any of those cool shoes with wheels in the soles. Plus the weather looked pretty cranky, and the thought of being out in the rain/wind/cold for 40+ minutes was not appealing. But then we spent most of Saturday on our feet, and by the time we sat down for dinner I was tired and my back/butt/whatever hurt more than it has in a while. So I changed my mind - again - and decided I would walk, and Lauren would get up early and run before the 5K and then walk with me.
When she woke up on Sunday morning, though, it was rainy and windy and she didn't want to be soaked for the race, so she didn't go for a run. I put on 358 layers, figuring I would be much colder walking than I would be running, and we headed to the race. We met up with a whole stack of friends who were also running the race.
In a 5K, it always seems like waiting for the race to start while standing in a clump at the finish line takes longer than the race itself. The race started and no one around us moved. After a few minutes, we started the slow lurch towards the start line, and finally crossed, power-walking our little butts off. We walked a few hundred yards, and I realized how incredibly long the race was going to be. So I said, "Let's run a bit!" and we started to - incredibly gently - jog a little bit. We were being passed by everyone, old, young, water melting, rain falling, erosion of the planet, everything. And the thing that's been pulling on my butt since December started pulling, but only the smallest, faintest hint of a pull. Nothing like last week. So we jogged a bit, and I felt a pang, so we walked a bit. Then we decided to jog again, pretty slowly, but we were chatting and I wasn't noticing anything and suddenly we were at the mile 1 sign and I was still jogging.
What we've kind of decided in PT is that one of the many problems with me is that my glutes don't activate when I run. Part of my PT has been doing glute strengthening exercises and trying to figure out how to activate those suckers and it's pretty difficult. I mean, I've never used this muscle before, and last week in PT it took 15 minutes and 2 different people for me to figure out how to turn it on. And I know that, long term, I'm going to need to figure out how to run using these muscles, but I'm not there just yet in PT. But this morning, all I knew is using my glutes would help me stay balanced (and thus, hopefully pain-free), so the whole time we were running, I was trying desperately to activate my glutes. Which meant I ran a 5K basically feeling like I was trying to not poop my pants the entire way.
I'm not sure if it worked or not, but I seemed to be doing okay. Although wearing 2 technical shirts and a winter-weight running jacket turned out to be the worst idea ever, as the temperature hiked up just before the start and I was sweating my tits off by the time we'd run a full mile. We went past the 2 mile mark and sped up a tiny bit, still chatting and playing a heavy game of people-dodging, and it was still all right. Lauren started accusing me of speeding up around 2.5M (a total lie) so I just tried to keep it easy. We took some self-portraits at this point in the race which I think are some of the best race photos I've ever had.
And then we turned the corner and the famous fabulous Boston finish line was ahead of us, and I tried to convince Lauren to man up and pick off some people in the last stretch but she was having none of it. We crossed the finish line at 35-something, but I figured we'd probably run a 32-something based on how far back we are.I walked around for the next 25 minutes saying, "I was running! Me! Running! I was running!" to anyone that would listen.
Neither of us wore a Garmin, but there were clocks at each mile. I walked in the first mile a couple of times, but then not again. From what I can tell, my splits were roughly 12:00, 10:00, 9:00, and then whatever is left is the .1. Race execution gets a serious A+ for the massive negative split. Our official time was 32:13, which is actually not a personal worst on the 5K for me (this is both exciting and extremely depressing). I do not actually give a single ass of a rat about my time, but there it is.
I was so excited about running at all, however, that I put my shirt on backwards.
And later? My legs, of course, felt like nothing happened. My psoas is tight, and that thing deep in my butt hurts a tiny bit (it gets a 2 on the 1-10 pain scale), but otherwise I feel all right. It feels like I made a step in the right direction towards healing. I won't run again for a few days, and it probably won't be this long the next time I do, but I'm glad that I did. Part of the reason I was so depressed when I had IT band problems last year and in the week before the National Half was because I felt like I was making no progress towards healing. My pain was deep and sharp and relentless and every day I woke up and felt just as bad as I did the night before. But these past few weeks, with a few exceptions, the steps I've been making have been huge, and I think this is why I'm so calm about not being able to run right now. I am in significantly less pain every day, and I can see the day, not too far off, where I'll be able to step out the front door and run a few miles in the sunshine. Today all I can do is be thankful. I ran. The time doesn't matter, what I was wearing and what I ate and the distance I actually covered doesn't matter. What matters is I got to do something I love, in a city full of people who love running the way I love running, and to cross the Boston finish line in celebration of running. Finding a way to be thankful for most this amazing day.