Races and River Running

It’s been a while since I posted last, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have running news to share! Well, personal running news, I haven’t heard of much international running news since the historic Boston Marathon a few weeks back.

On May 1st I raced the somewhat less historic Long Island Marathon, finishing with a respectable 5 minute PR despite not feeling my best. It was a beautiful day for a race, though, 65 degrees, sunny, breezy…. ahh. I haven’t raced since then, nor have I signed up for any races, I’ve been quite busy lately. I do plan to do some 5k’s soon, though, it’s that time of year again.

I’ve actually been feeling a bit burnt out lately, and probably as a result have been getting a few minor injuries. It’s interesting how that works- my mind doesn’t want to run, so my body somehow compensates to prevent my running. It’s frustrating, but probably beneficial in that it’s forcing me to take it easy for the moment.

I’ll be in Cambridge this summer and hope to do some running along the Charles River. There’s really something special about running by a moving body of water. Besides the distraction it offers, the flowing water always seems to give me strength. Interestingly, I sometimes feel the same way when running next to traffic, though of course that lacks the natural beauty a river offers. Anyway, I’m just excited to be mixing up my running routine. Suburbs are by far the worst running locations in the world. The extremes are much better- country running is beautiful, and city running is interesting- but the suburbs are just plain dull.

The Race That Just Was Not Meant To Be

Someone had it in for me this past week leading up to the Long Island Half Marathon. There’s simply no other way to explain the terrible luck I had before this race.

It started with a sprained ankle. I was enjoying a peaceful night tempo run (see my blog on Night Runs for more on this fun activity), and had less than a mile to go when a jerk decided it would be funny to give a runner a scare and slammed on his horn as he drove past me. Needless to say, I did not find it funny. It scared the hell out of me, and as I jumped to the side as a reflex, I landed on a little brick wall, badly twisting my left ankle. This was about a week and a half before the race, and it sidelined me for a couple of days, but it healed reasonably well soon enough.

I’d have been ecstatic if that was all that went wrong this past week.

But, unfortunately, there’s more. I got sick. Just a few days to go now, and I’m sidelined again by a bad cold, which had the potential to give me asthma which I occasionally get. I still hoped I’d be better in time for the race, and as my ankle was feeling better, I even maintained my hopes of a PR.

Well, I was not meant to PR. Because on the Friday before the race, something ridiculous happened. This story will prove beyond a doubt that there was more than bad luck involved in this fiasco; it was some sick fate.

It all began with the jalapenos. As I was chopping up some jalapeno peppers for a (delicious) tofu recipe, I got a phone call. I took it, and at some point I must have wiped my face with my hands. My jalapeno covered hands. And man, did that hurt. It thankfully didn’t go into my eyes, but my face was on fire. I paced around my house trying to distract myself from the pain, and began to jog. I realized that running provided a distraction, so I went outside, barefoot, for a sprint around the house.

I never saw the recycling bin.

At first, I was glad I stubbed my toe, I figured it would further distract me from the pain in my face. But then, after a few minutes of non-subsiding pain, I realized that I might have actually done something serious to my toe. Well, I hobbled inside and lo and behold, my toe is swelling up like a balloon. At that point, even with the burning in my face and the pain in my toe, I started laughing. This was just too ridiculous.

And then I saw the weather forecast for race Sunday. 85 degrees, extremely humid.

Why me?!?

I don’t think I’ll ever answer the question of why fate treated me so cruelly before this race. But I ran it, suffered through my cold, my possibly broken toe, and the brutal weather. And hell, I almost PR’ed. 24 seconds off, in fact. But you know what? I don’t care about the time. I’m just happy I survived.