This was my second year in a row running the RNRSJ and was looking at the event as a fun run due to my recent troubles with my IT band and low mileage leading up to the race. I was running with 2 close friends was happy to have the support.
I finished last year around 2:13 and would be happy with that finishing time this year, plus or minus 10 minutes (with the most-likely being on the plus side). The course was close to or exactly the same as last year and the weather was fantastic. I remember last year being a little warmer, but with the course being through downtown, then through shaded neighborhoods I knew it was going to be great day for a race.
I started off running with my friend who was looking to PR and I could tell he was ready to go from the start. We ran the first 2 miles in 19:30 which was faster than I was looking to head out of the gates. I gave him the ok to continue at that pace without me, since his goal pace was going to be a little over 9 min/mile and mine closer to 10:30/mile. I needed to slow down and he needed to maintain the quick pace and increase it towards the second half. Unfortunately he wouldn't reach his goal time, but he would finish strong and 5 minutes in front of me.
The first 6 miles went by very quickly and I was surprised that I was still running at a little over 10 min per mile through the first hour. I was looking to run the first 8-9 real easy and see how I felt for the last 4 miles to see whether or not I would speed up or slow down. Once I got to mile 9 I felt my legs get slightly heavy but still felt strong and was maintaining a little over 10 min/mile. The thought crossed my mind to pick up the pace and see if I could beat last year's time. Luckily, I was able to convince myself that the notion was a bad idea that might end poorly. I stayed the easy 10+ min pace I was currently at and targeted enjoying the remainder of the race.
A little after mile 10, I felt my IT band start to "act up." I was hoping this wouldn't happen and I was 100% healed, but it turned out that wasn't the case. With 3 miles to go I knew I would be able to finish strong as long as the IT band didn't get any worse. I stopped a couple times to stretch (which is how to treat it on the fly) and felt some cramping of my left calf. I talked myself through it, knowing that I wasn't going to let this hinder my attitude or cause me to DNF (did not finish). I've been running long (and taught well enough by Super Lori) that there is a difference between knowing when to stop and knowing when to overcome obstacles. My IT band or leg cramp were not severe enough to risk any serious damage by continuing the last couple miles with an easy pace and some stretching and that is how I finished. With a smile on my face and a "I know I can do this!" attitude.
I finished the race in 2:17:24 - four minutes slower than last year, but as equally if not more enjoyable. I stretched and towled off with a medal around my neck and friends around me. I hit up the medical tent and had them saran wrap some ice around my knee, but not until after I made line for my FREE Widmer Hefeweisen Beer. It was cold and delicious. Cheers to another great run and a highly recommended course for first time and experienced runners. See ya there next year.
Notable Participants for 2009:
IT Band - Have to kick the rehab into second gear — Lengthening stretching sessions. Purchased a foam roller today for added stretching, icing for 20 mins, and rest.
Duration - 1 week to as long as necessary
Cramping - simple day of stretching, replenishing salt and plenty of water/Gatorade.
Duration - 1 day
Side Note: I received a comment from a reader who was asking about suggestions for taking up running and how to start — this will be the next post later in the week and look forward to any updates or additional questions through the comment section or email.