Conditions were perfect. It was gorgeous clear, October day. The course was beautiful, winding around Lake Natoma and past the Folsom Dam. There were enough runners for it to be fun, but not so many that it was annoyingly crowded. Miles 1-4 felt awesome, and we were all on track to break our half marathon record and make it under 2 hours once and for all.
And then that pain in my left hip came back, this time with a vengeance. By mile 5 it was hurting all the way down into my knee. By mile 6 it was raging with every step I took, and by mile 7 I knew I was not going to make it. I wasn’t going to ruin anyone else’s race, so I told the boys I would meet them at the finish at the entrance to the beer garden.
I would like to say that I am an adult and I did not burst into tears as I limped along the edge of the trail for another mile until the next aid station, but I did. This was 20% because it hurt, and 80% because I was disappointed that for the first time I started a race that I couldn’t finish, because I was angry at myself for letting it get this bad, and because I had a terrible sinking feeling that this meant I was not going to be able to run the CIM after all.
At the aid station, an extremely kind and wonderful volunteer named Sandy insisted on driving me the last 5 miles to the finish line in her own car. Sandy, if you are out there, know that you did a good deed and that I am forever grateful to you. I got there just as the fastest runners were finishing, which meant that there were still plenty of Luna bars left and that the massage tent was virtually empty. I met the guys at the beer tent, and we all enjoyed a free post race brew. Special congrats to Alex for kicking ass in his first half!
So right now, I am resting, icing, making a doctor’s appointment and hoping against hope that I can keep training after a little while and maybe still run the CIM. It’s not looking great but I’m not giving up yet. If not, I will have to seriously consider what else to do with my life for a while, since at least 25% of my time is spent running, preparing for running, recovering from running, and thinking and blogging about running. I probably should have diversified my hobby portfolio before this happened, but since I’ve been running pretty constantly for the last five years without any injuries I really wasn’t expecting to need to.
But don’t worry, I will continue to provide you with more melodramatic updates on my condition as things play out.