Race: Kicking Butt 5K Run/Walk
Place: Louisville, Kentucky
Date: August 22, 2015
It is that time again and that time of year. Yep. My comeback.
Okay…you know, I have to actually look at the positive on this one. The hip labrum tear could have been so much worse and if that had been the case, this race would have not happened this year. So…there it is. Not to say I wasn’t in full-on panic mode…but this race means a lot to me as it does benefit research for colon cancer prevention, a disease that took my Aunt Debbie. And so, yeah, this one is an important one.
The first thing you will note is that this year, this race has a new name. The Colon Cancer Prevention Project (or as Cathy likes to call it C²P²) renamed the race this year from the very long and awkward “Walk Away From Colon Cancer & 5K Run” to the “Kicking Butt 5K Run/Walk.” I love the change, personally. And, despite what people have said, this race is not geared more toward walkers. There are a ton of runners that show up for this one, many of whom are some of Louisville’s best.
So…this is how it stands. I have been running at a very leisurely pace (comparatively to where I used to be) for just over a month now. I only run 3 days a week, 2 days during the week and one long slow distance run on the weekends. I’ve been working with a certified Coach, Linda Word, who developed a training plan that incorporates enough cross-training and cardio that is not running to keep me sane, at least. So…there is that. Am I happy about a 3 day running week…to be honest, I thought I would hate it. I really did. But so far, it’s been easy on my body and has allowed progress to really start to come through. I sometimes run faster…sometimes slower…than my prescribed 9:00/mile training pace. But it’s never by too much…and it varies on each day I run depending on how my hip is feeling.
So, after doing a 5K race in Birmingham a few weeks ago with my sister…where I stuck with her and got her to the finish line at her pace…this was the first official race back for me. As in…my coach gave me permission to push my pace if I was feeling good. And, I was both nervous and excited at the prospect. I think I was nervous up until the car pulled into the parking lot at Iroquois Park in Louisville. With all the health tents and the other booths set up for this race, I started to feel right at home. My favorite local food truck, Sweet ‘N’ Savory, was on hand as well with their gluten-free crepes and smoothies. They were the first thing I spotted as we drove in and it totally lifted my spirits. Funny how the promise of gluten-free food at the end of a race just makes you feel a little more confident about everything, right?
The morning was a little chilly, but I knew that it was going to warm up fast. I shed the tanktop I was wearing at the car, opting for being the sports bra runner that I am on warmer days. I think I was one of the few brave enough to do that. I don’t care that I don’t have nice abs (I’d love to have them!), this was more about being comfortable. And I am not comfortable in lots of extra fabric when it gets warm outside. Therefore, despite the low humidity and low 60s temperature…sports bra was it. And, I really didn’t get too chilly just mulling about before the pre-race programming. I went and said “HI” to Richard and Ashley at Sweet ‘N’ Savory and told them we’d see them after I ran. This meant my plans to go to my local gluten-free bakery were now…changed. I still went, to retrieve the allergen free toaster treats I had them hold for me…but not for breakfast as planned. Today, not only was I running to help raise money for colon cancer research and prevention…I was running for that delicious sounding peach crepe.
With that being said, I went over to the stage area where the employees and volunteers of the Colon Cancer Prevention Project were doing their opening ceremonies, talking about what research is being done in the fight against this curable disease, and then bringing out Louisville’s own “Semi-Colon” (aka: Caleb Payne, who had just returned from a 5-month journey along the Appalachian Trail) to speak a little about his accomplishment and how being a colon cancer survivor has changed him. Then, they did the survivor recognition, complete with cheerleaders this year. This is always such an uplifting and emotional ceremony.
And once the recognition was given for survivors and the top fund raisers and fund raising teams…it was time to officially kick some butt on the hills of Iroquois Park. Cathy walked me over to the starting area, where a crowd was already forming. For some reason, all nerves I thought I’d have were gone. I just took a couple of deep breaths…and received a good luck hug. She went up a little ways past the start with my sign…and I got into the crowd of runners near the front. I was up front the last time I ran this race, but I was nowhere near in shape or in any condition to run like that this time around. I was greeted by the amazingly fast, Lynn Riedling, and our little conversation and good lucks were all we had time for. She was off at the horn with all the other amazing runners, walkers, and survivors. I gave a wave to Cathy as I went past, being left in the dust by a lot of people.
But, hey, this was more about the race than the pace. And my hip was feeling amazing.
I will now mention that while my hip was feeling amazing, I woke up on Saturday with a rather tender ankle. No clue what happened with it as I didn’t turn it or anything. But…it was tender…and still is to this day. A little puffy. But, it didn’t really bother me while I was running, so that is a good thing.
Anyway…back to the race. One of the first things that happens in this race, or any race that starts at the amphitheater of Iroquois Park, is that you go up a hill. I wanted to push it, but also conserve some energy for…you know…pushing it more, especially at the end. Comeback races are hard. You walk a very fine line and it’s scary to push beyond it. But, as I rounded the corner and went up…up…and up in that first mile, my legs felt strong, and I even managed to pass a few people. That was exciting!
At least at Iroquois Park, where there are uphills there are downhills. If you are training for a hilly race, this is the park to run in, for sure. This was the simple loop, not the hard dash up to the top like I did back in January. And it was agreeing with me today. It was like something switched off in my body, and if anything was supposed to or going to hurt…it wasn’t. Not from the start. Not any of that. Warming up with walking and stretching probably helped, but here I was, feeling semi-fast…and really good as I moved past the first mile.
Mile 2 is the killer on this loop at the park. The downhills, I tended to ease up on my pace and let my legs and momentum carry me, because I’m just trying to run smart and happy these days. BUT…that being said, those uphills were my time to push and challenge myself. I also discovered that my hip does better on uphills than on downhills, currently. So…hey…good to know. Mile 2 is packed with uphills. Some small, some big, and one that just feels like it goes on forever. In my mind, I kept telling myself to focus on my form, push off my toes, and just to stay comfortable. And with all of that going on, my second mile ticked off, slower than my first, but hills do that to me, even when I try to push them a little.
Into the last stretch I went…and still feeling good, I picked up my pace again. Just a little. I also know that there is one last hill that gets me every time, near the end of the race. The first time I ran this race, I walked the hill. I haven’t walked it since, and I didn’t have to walk it this year. It does feel like it never ends though, and pushing it on that one is a mental challenge and a physical challenge. But I stayed the course. And once I conquered it…I knew it was time to finish this race strong.
And so, I just ran. I focused on my core, my form, and how my body was responding to each push-off from the pavement. Nothing twinged. Not once. I could now hear the roar of the crowd at the finish line. It is an amazing sound to hear at a little 5K, but this race brings it every time. As I came into the final stretch, I could hear Cathy screaming at me. “GO TWIN! GO!!!” She normally does this, but there was an urgency in the tone. Turns out, another female runner was hot on my heels, trying to pass me up. I didn’t know. I didn’t look. I just ran as hard as I dared and crossed that finish line.
My Garmin said 25:03. Not my best 5K by far…not even my best time at this race (I ran 2013 in 22:45)…but not my worst 5K time either. And definitely an accomplishment for someone who went for 7 months of no running (I don’t count the Boston Marathon as I ended up hobbling and walking most of it!) to easing back into a running routine that was made, specifically, to get me back out there without causing further damage.
Cathy came over and asked me how I was. I told her that I was fine…but the race was hard. She said I was about the 11th female to finish, so it was possible that I might have placed in my age division. Possible…maybe so. So, we walked around to keep my body loose and limber and then went and grabbed some gluten-free crepes from Sweet ‘N’ Savory. I got the Peaches crepe…which was SO amazing. It came with gelato, and they were kind enough to give me their dairy-free one. It was strawberry. I split it with Cathy. Cathy, for the record, got the breakfast crepe. I thought about doing that one…but eggs were not sounding tasty at the moment. Sweet peaches, however, did. YUMMY!! With crepes made, we went and settled in to eat, then move around a little more while waiting on the awards. This was where a gentleman spotted me and said, “I know you! I read your blog on this race!” HA! That totally made my morning. We stood around for a bit and talked about running and upcoming races…but it was nearing time for the awards, so we parted ways with well-wishes and all.
Long story short…I came in 4th in my age division. So, things are pretty much back to normal. HA! Missed it by a mile (or just under 2 minutes) though. Lynn, however, was listed as being 35 years old…which is not true…but it wouldn’t have affected my placement regardless. And in the end…I walked away with the satisfaction of well-run comeback (again) race.
So, the results of the Kicking Butt 5K Run/Walk are that I finished in 25:01. No new PR…no course record…but a strong finish. I was 48/970 finishers overall, 11/577 female finishers, and I was 4/63 in my age division. I’m happy with these results, honestly. Considering how much I hate 5Ks (I am NOT a sprinter), it was a challenge just getting to this start line. I put in a lot of time, stretching, and tears to get to a point where I could race again, and this race certainly showed me what I was capable of…and where I can definitely improve.
And, as always, the Kicking Butt 5K Run/Walk is dedicated to the memory of my Aunt Debbie. Already looking forward to coming back and running it again next year.
So, on a hot and humid Saturday morning…I went out and ran for a good cause…and had a good time. Already looking forward to next year! It’s for a great cause…and I couldn’t imagine missing it. Not ever.