One day I’ll run a race without some part of my body falling off! This last Sunday’s run was merely a 10km ‘how-fit-am-I job?’ but it would have been nice not to have an issue popping up just before.
Following a great week’s running on the trails around Moclín on an Ultra Trail Spain training camp, I’d entered the final race of the Gran Premio de Fondo Diputacion de Granada series.
The XI Prueba de Fondo 525 Aniversario Fundacion Santa Fe-Le Hispanidad is a 10km road race and rare for these parts – flat. Hence it was a good shot of recording a fair 10km time based on current fitness levels. However, as is always the case for me, preparations were not hitch free.
Following a brilliant run on Thursday, I realized I’d been attacked by a particularly hungry bug. He wasn’t picky as we’d all lost chunks. It was no doubt while trekking through some long grass since both my legs had been ripped to shreds, with one bite sitting right on the sock line of my right ankle. Of course I couldn’t resist rubbing and scratching and my ankle gradually puffed up throughout Friday. Hitting the antihistamines and electrocuting ‘clicker’ I was in a race to try and get the swelling under control ready for the real race. The ankle didn’t so much hurt as feel sore while walking downstairs because it was so swollen.
Elephant foot didn’t look any better come Saturday. It was time for drastic measures and big thanks to Angie for the hot spooning tip to take the itching out. Now sporting a club foot plus self inflicted scorch marks from the scolding spoon on my lower limbs, I decided long socks were the best bet for race day.
Sunday dawned threatening rain, but thankfully as the Pueblos de Moclín squad headed off the mountain, the clouds cleared and despite a meaningful sky it was brighter in the valley.
A massive race turnout meant parking was at a premium so it was a mad roll out to the race, grab numbers, pin on while in the toilet, and hit the start line just in time for the gun.
Forgetting what a crushed affair these races can be, I’d got myself far too back from the start line and spend the first 3km weaving past steadier runners. Thoroughly miffed, I knew I’d gone out far too quick and was forced to drop a couple of seconds per km for the next two km to catch my breath. I was in dire risk of cramping. Taking it very easy through the main square and its cobbled surface, while not concentrating on where I was going, I nearly ran into a wheelie bin.
Hitting half way, I knew I could hold on, but I was gasping and generally shot. My left quad, usually guaranteed to be obedient, wasn’t happy. And I remembered how much I hate short road races and how much I hate having to run fast.
My foot was absolutely fine, although my shoes were so tightly laced there was no chance of movement. A two loop course, I spotted Steve on the return and madly signaled that I was kippered. It felt like he was gaining on me, I had to hold on, and all too soon I was back into the cobbled square and in avoiding the bin I nearly clipped a kiddie spectator (I was staying on the smoother surface at the side). Thankfully, we were quickly heading back onto the track from where we’d started and side-stepping a mountain bike I tried to push for the line.
Sadly as I tried to reply to a speedy young girl I’d picked off a km or so earlier I felt that familiar ‘slip’ in my right leg…my good old hamstring was also reminding me why we don’t run fast…and I was hobbling over the line. I was completely bushed.
Have I mentioned how much I hate running fast? Official time 44:13 and watch 43:38. Not bad after plenty of miles this last week, but not where I should be. And that ankle well, it’s returning to normal size. And that hamstring well, a day later, I can definitely feel it. I’ve been rollering my hips and back like mad so hopefully disaster will be averted. We’ll find out when I run tomorrow.