I kept telling myself, "the 5 days that you were forced to take off gave your body time to rest so that you can race fresh!"....except that it didn't occur to me that my training after those 5 days off might tire me more than I thought.
After my bike workout yesterday, I ran an easy 4 miles and figured I'd attempt a few strides just to see how running fast felt again, hoping my body would remember. Well, my body remembered, but my cheek (the area that took the most impact from the accident) was throbbing. At 5:00pm last night, I seriously considered not waking up to race this morning.
Ryan and I went to the Lake in the Hills open water swim at 6pm last night with some of our friends. After confidently swimming almost 3,000 yards with no wetsuit (they're not allowed in Kona) at a decent pace, I decided maybe my fitness was coming back and that I might as well see what the morning could bring.
At 4:45am this morning, I was NOT thinking the same thing. All I wanted to do was go back to bed, but I told Ryan if he promised we'd go out for brunch after, that I would come with to the race. And so I did.
Elmhurst's 4 on the 4th tends to bring a pretty competitive field, especially since this year it is the USATF 4mile Road Race Championship, which means decent prize money to the top 3. Having never raced it and just looked at past results, I figured it was a fast course as there were some pretty fast times recorded.
I was right.
The first mile begins with a pretty big downhill, followed by a flat section and another downhill right before Mile 1.
5:25. Umm, what? Yikes, let's reel this back in a bit.
The second mile again was pretty flat, with a nice downhill under a bridge, which of course led back to a slight uphill.
5:43. Much better. Let's keep this pace going, you can do this.
At the turnaround, Dave Schaefers was there motivating me and encouraging me. I wanted SO badly to be able to start running faster, but just couldn't get my legs moving. At about 2.75 miles, my teammate Columba passed me and encouraged me...but I just couldn't go with her. My teammate Jon tried to bring me along too, but I was just done.
6:02. Yep, definitely dying. Just gotta finish this thing. Why can't this just be a 5k?!?!?!
The fourth mile about killed me. I just kept telling myself how lucky I was to even be out running pain free right now. And, hello, you're Ironman training....you should be dying at mile 4 of a fast 4mile race!!!
6:04. Thank goodness that's over.
As soon as I finished, I collapsed onto the curb. That was not a fun race for me. I knew going into it that I had a 20miler from Saturday + long ride Sunday + 2 bike workouts + 2 swim workouts and a run workout at Ironman pace/5% incline under my belt, so not to expect much, but WOW was that painful.
After the race, my Dick Pond Fast Track teammates were incredible. Everyone asked how I was doing and kept telling me how great I am healing, which was so nice to hear. I, of course, don't feel like I'm healing nearly as quickly as I want to, so to hear others say I'm healing nicely is HUGE to me at this point.
Todays race really made me grateful for so many things. I am back running (even if it's not 100%) a mere 15 days after getting a concussion/stitches/swelled up cheek/etc., which is just incredible. My support system (friends/teammates, family, Ryan) seriously never let me down and I can always count on my them to make me smile and laugh....even if it does still hurt my cheek to do so!
Oh, and don't worry....Ryan kept his promise. Not only did we go out to eat at Egg Harbor after, but we also saw Pam (2nd place female!!! Congrats girl!!!) and Jill there after as well. Always a good day when you can catch up with running friends :)
I plan to continue to update this blog as often as I can--it was such a cool feeling to be told, "I read your blog..." so many times today (thanks, friends:)). Thank you again to everyone who has been so incredibly supportive of my comeback after the accident. Without the words of encouragement, this would have been a pretty tough road. That being said....we're off to bike! (benefits of Ironman training: lots of working out = lots of eating at 4th of July BBQs:)).
Have a safe and fun 4th, everyone!!!