Oh, Southside Scorcher. You beat me again. One of these days I will break an hour in July. One day…
I worked late on Friday at an after hours library event. I fell into bed, exhausted, much later than I normally would have the night before a race. I did not want to get up at 4:30, but I pulled myself out of bed and started the coffee maker. I went for Earth’s Best blueberry waffles and PB for breakfast. Yes, the ones with Cookie Monster on the box. No, my kids don’t eat them. They are just for me.
Surprisingly my foggy brain was in top form. I got my small handheld water bottle out and filled the pocket with a Honey Stinger kid waffle and a tube with a heaping scoop of BASE salt. I donned my favorite neon tank and my need-to-be-replaced Under Armour 7-inch compression shorts. I noticed when I put my shoes on that the inner liner of the heel of my left shoe had worn all the way to the outer sole. Ugh. The shoes had less than 80 miles on them and were my only pair of running shoes that were still in commission. I slapped a bandaid over the would-be blister spot and hoped for the best.
The minute I stepped out the door I knew it was going to be a rough race. It was already hot and humid before the sun was even all the way up. When we got to the race location, I set off for an easy half-mile warm-up. I did some strides, chatted, and waited to line up. The boys and Mr. Neon were going to run the 1 mile, so I had company.
The race was small, so it was only going to be gun-timed. I lined up near the front and set off at an easy pace. I purposefully ignored my HR monitor knowing it would be high with the heat and instead focused on effort. Mile 1 was 9:33. Good…the pace felt relatively easy. My breathing was controlled. Mile 2 was 9:36. Holding steady. Thanks to my handheld, I ran through water stations, took a big sip, and then dumped the rest on my head, chest, and neck.
The course was an out and back, so I was able to see the front runners come back at me around the 2.5 mile mark. I like courses like that. Mile 3 was 9:38. I hit the turn around which was a little loopy woopty-woo around a bridge. Apparently this is where the temperature reached runner’s boiling point. I forced myself to eat my waffle. I had been licking salt every mile and sipping water. I felt fine, but I couldn’t get my legs to move any faster. The suckfest began. Mile 4 was 10:11. Mile 5 was 10:16.
The last 300 meters of the course is run on the South High track. The surface is black. It’s hot. Mr. Neon, Runner Boy, and Tiny Boy were standing at the stadium entrance. I tried to smile, but all they got was a grimace and my handheld thrown at them. I was ready to be DONE. Mile 6 was 10:29.
I crossed the finish line in 1:02:33. This was my third Titan 10k. Every year has been slower than the year previous. One day I will break an hour. One day I won’t be a new runner, marathon training, or injured.
I may not be overly pleased with my finishing time, but something wonderful did happen at the end of the Titan 10K. MY HIP DOESN’T HURT!
It’s been a magical revelation over the last two weeks. My hip pain is almost completely, totally, 100% gone. I’m almost afraid to think about it or talk about it, for fear that it’s just a fluke and the pain will be back.
Oh…and those boys of mine. They all placed in their age groups. Mr. Neon ran a 6:39 mile. Runner Boy ran a 7:26. And Tiny Boy ran a 8:29. Mr. Neon said it hurt more than his 100 mile bike ride a week later, and he isn’t going to let Runner Boy forget that he beat him until October when Runner Boy will surely PR his mile again.