Somebody has to be last…

Saturday, September 26 was the Cardinal Greenway 15K, which I’ve been planning to run since June or so.  If in June I’d known how I was going to feel on September 26, I might not have signed up.

As I mentioned previously, I had the flu the week prior to the race.  Still coughing and recovering, I had not run for a full two weeks up to the 15K.  So on top of the lingering congestion and cough, my muscles weren’t in top running form.

But I decided I wasn’t going to stress out about my time.  I was going to consider this a training run for my half marathon on October 17, and sieze my one and only chance of beating my sister-in-law in a race.  (She qualified for Boston in the first marathon she ever ran, but now she’s nearly eight months pregnant, so I thought I might have a shot.)

It was a humid morning.  Not hot, but the air definitely felt a little thick.  Kristie and I started out together, and for nearly three miles, we ran side by side.  Despite my husband’s suggestion that I carry water with me, I thought the water stops would be sufficient.  They weren’t.  By the time we got to mile three, I needed hydration, my hips were hurting, and I was having a hard time breathing.  I had to admit that even with a gigantic protruding pregnant belly, Kristie was faster than I was.  I had to slow to a walk, and I told her to go ahead.  (She ended up beating me by half an hour and winning our age group.)

I plodded onward, trying to run most of the time, but having to stop to walk more and more.  I’m generally toward the back of the pack when I race, but this time I was dead last.  That was discouraging.  Chef drove to most of the cross-streets so he and our dogs could cheer me on, and the volunteers encouraged me to keep it up and try to catch the man in front of me (he was 72 and he still beat me), but I just couldn’t move as fast as I wanted to.  By mile 7, I felt done.  By mile 8 I was almost in tears.  But it wasn’t like I could stop.  Who would find me and pick me up on the trail?  Besides, there was just One. More. Mile.  I really did try to catch up to the old guy ahead of me, but I couldn’t do it.  I just couldn’t.

I finished in 2:01:18.  I was more upset about it than I expected to be.  I went into it knowing that I wouldn’t have a great time, but I guess I’m more competitive than I thought… plus, coming in last is not a great feeling.

I have three weeks until my half marathon, and I have been hoping over the last few days that I could get my fitness level back up to near where it ought to be.  Then I woke up this morning with a sore throat.  Again.

The discouragement is tough to beat right now.  I’m sick of being sick, and I’m considering a trip to the doctor to see if an antibiotic will do the trick.  And I am determined to get back to running so that I can improve my performance for my next race.

Stephan, Gracie, and Gryffon waiting for me.

Chef, Gracie, and Gryffon waiting for me.


Finishing the race.

Finishing the race.


Me with the old guy who beat me.

Me with the old guy who beat me.


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Heather
    Sep 29, 2009 @ 16:46:05

    That old guy looks pretty buff. And you finished strong – even if you were last. I’m very proud of you! I wish I looked that good after a race. Or the flu, for that matter! Love ya, friend.

  2. rita
    Sep 29, 2009 @ 18:31:17

    You really did look good. Hard to realize how badly you felt.
    I found out that I am more competitive than I imagined as well. I kept jogging to catch up with the old guy ahead of me.
    I DO want you feeling better soon, antibiotic of whatever!
    Love ya!

  3. Jon Hoyt
    Sep 29, 2009 @ 21:38:27

    Get better! Kick that virus with an antibiotic and then hit the road as an example for all us “happy” folk out there that have a hard time getting off the couch 😉

  4. Sue
    Oct 01, 2009 @ 20:41:50

    Wow, Karen… You look beautiful post-race- all glowy, toned & your hair up- amazing. Rita’s right- who would know you’d been sick. Your dedication is inspiring. Go 1/2 marathon training!!

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