I am really surprised to be writing this recap. Because the night before the race, I was pretty sure there was at least a 90% chance I wouldn’t be running. About 4 days leading up to the race, I was experiencing a lot of pain in my left hamstring. I wasn’t sure if I had strained it or if it was just super sore, all I knew was that every time I attempted to run I would suddenly feel a sharp pain there and I was worried that if I went any harder I would totally pull it.
So the day before the race, I did everything I could think of to try to heal my hamstring. I iced it about 5 separate times for 20 minutes each time, I rolled it out with the stick and foam roller, I elevated it, I wore a compression sleeve, I applied cooling cream to it…anything I could think of!
When I woke up about 5:30 AM on Sunday, I decided to get dressed and take a quick jog to test out my leg. I put on my thigh compression sleeve and headed across the street to the park hoping for the best. To my astonishment, I was not feeling that same sharp pain any more! My hamstring was sore, but it was nothing unbearable! I ran for .5 miles and then stopped and decided I would be running in the 5K!
Once I decided to run, I told myself that I had to make sure to take it easier and not go crazy and try for a PR or anything. My leg had been hurting for the past 4 days and there was still some pain there, so it would not be worth it to go all out and then totally pull my hamstring and be done with running completely for weeks.
I got everything ready, ate my peanut butter bread and banana, and then headed off to Forest Park/ the Zoo for the race. When I left my apartment, there was a total downpour of rain, but luckily this stopped by the time I got to the Zoo.
I found a pretty good spot to park and then walked about .5 miles to the start line. My friend Richelle and one of her friends were also running, so I met them and we chatted for a bit. I then headed for the 9:00 min/mile corral because I thought that would be an appropriate speed for me to go during the race. Like I said earlier, it was important for me to run at a slower pace so that I would not aggravate my hamstring further.
At 7:30AM the race started, and for about the first mile or so I was feeling pretty good. I had decided to wear the compression sleeve on my thigh, and it really seemed to hold everything in place and I didn’t feel any unusual pain. The second two miles were a bit tougher for me not because of my leg, but because the humidity was making me pretty tired. Luckily it was only a 5K though, so I would not have to bear the humid conditions for long.
I didn’t feel like I was going too fast, but my Nike+ app was telling me differently. I wanted to go slower and I did, but not as slow as I was planning. I crossed the finish line with a time of 24:01, approximately 7:45/mile. Definitely faster than I was planning, but it really didn’t feel too fast! I ended up getting 4th in my age group over 100 people which I was pretty surprised by!
After the race, there was a breakfast which included a muffin, apple, chocolate milk, and yogurt. There were also popsicles available and you got to eat at the Zoo which was cool. The race itself was pretty fun, but I do wish we were able to run through the Zoo and not just around it. I was wondering why they didn’t have it at the actual zoo, but assume it’s due to staffing reasons or for the security of the Zoo. So if there was anything I would change about the race, it would just be to have it at the actual zoo! It would be so fun to run past the tigers, giraffes, and elephants!