Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Finish Stronger?

The motto of the Tufts 10k is: Start strong, finish stronger.

I don't know about stronger, but finish I did.  My first mile was great.  I knew I'd have to run/walk the race and the first two miles I settled into run 5 minutes/walk 5 minutes quite comfortably.  I hit problems at mile 2 starting with an asthma attack.

Now, I'm usually OK with just walking through an attack after using my inhaler.  It's nothing new and I expected it a bit.  What I didn't expect was the one thing that complicated it at the water stop a quarter mile later.  I grabbed my water and tossed it down - bad move.  It went down the wrong way and I ended up having a pretty significant coughing fit.  Grabbing a second cup after that, I knew I'd need to walk a while more.  I got to the point where Memorial Drive goes under Mass Ave and started running down the ramp only to have my lungs say, "Hey now what do you think you're doing?"

So I walked to Mile 3 and tried a jog with the same results.  I realized at that point, the rest of the race would be pushing a walking pace to the finish.  That was also the point I realized I was dehydrated as well.  It was hotter that usual and I had purposely laid off water before the race so I wouldn't need a pit stop figuring I'd make it up at water stops.  My fingers were swelling up, so I would raise them over my head and shake, take two cups of water at stops and just keep moving.  At Mile 5, a bunch of volunteers from Berkley School of Music were at the water stop dressed in tuxedos and offering cups of water on plastic bin covers doubling as trays.  A lovely laugh and touch in that "seriously, another whole mile to go?!" point.  It was just what I needed at that point.

I came down the street between the Public Garden and the Common with my eye on the "Finish" banner.  I had walked probably 5 of the 6.2 miles and I had made it.  My official time was 1:46, and I'll take it.  It was a "bad" race as these things goes but a good one in that I faced my fear and did it.

Now I can make a plan to run.  I guess I'll become an afternoon runner as I leave so early for work that running in the early morning dark may not really work for me.  But I can and will run so next year I can finish stronger.

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