I hadn't run a step in more than two weeks. It's not that I can't run, but the inflammation in my heel is never going to subside if I don't take extended time off. So I vowed to stay off it until it felt better. That's the smart thing to do. So did I do that? Well, no.
The problem is, I was starting to feel like a blob. My legs, which are used to getting a workout virtually every day, felt like they were starting to atrophy. My diet, which is admittedly pretty poor, depends on my running to keep my metabolism humming. Without running, I've been feeling like I'm putting on weight with every meal. I realize much of that is all in my head. But it feels real!
So, I didn't decide until the morning of the race. But I think in the back of my mind, I knew all along that I was going to run. The Talkie Trot 5k in the town where I live, Elmhurst, is a fun little 5k that benefits the center for speech and language disorders. My friend Pete Dicianni and his wife Rose, started this race in honor of their daughter, Brianna, who is autistic. I really wanted to be a part of it.
It's a small race. Only a few hundred runners. That explains why last year I finished in 4th place overall. As my friend Dave Zimmer, who was one of the race sponsors this year, politely puts it, "No offense, but that shouldn't finish near the podium." I agree. Maybe when I was (a lot) younger. But it's a lot of fun to run at the front of a pack for a change. It brings me back to high school and college.
Pete pulls out all the stops. He brought in the Jesse White tumblers to perform before the run. He had legendary York High School coach Joe Newton as the official starter. And he had great corporate sponsors to insure he raised a good amount of money for the charity regardless of how many people ran the race.
So, the pressure was off before the race even started, right? That's what I told my friends at the starting line. I said it was my intention to jog the course. I was figuring about 8 minute/mile pace was fine, considering I hadn't run for so long, and my heel was still inflamed. i even carried my phone with me during the race, something I never so.
But darn if the starting horn didn't go off, and I found myself looking at only a handful of people in front of me. I just went with it, and realized I was going to be going a bit faster than 8 minute pace.
I did a quick count and realized after about a half mile that I was in 5th place overall. Ugh! So I pushed it a little, and passed a runner at about the two mile mark. Ok, it was just like last year. I was in fourth.
3rd place was quite a bit ahead of me, so I settled, once again for 4th place. But a funny thing happened when I noticed the trophies set up near the finish. They had trophies for the top three men and women. Now that was a different story. The overall winner of the race was a woman!
And it turns out that another woman was also in the top three. So my fourth place finish was actually good for 2nd place in my gender! So I have a trophy to show for my efforts. I don't have to really tell anyone how small the race was or how slow my time was right?
Well, I guess I've already told you. Anyway, now I'm going back to my previously scheduled layoff!
Hope to see you on the roads again soon.....