about the photo

Downtown Temple,NH

Sunday, March 21, 2010

New Bedford Half Marathon (USATF Championships)

The race that almost wasn't. First, I've only run 5 of the last 9 days. I tweaked some adductor muscle in my left leg, probably following last weeks snowshoe race. Whatever it was, it didn't hurt to run necessarily, only when I raised my leg while laying down. In any case, I wanted to rest it as much as possible to avoid something more serious. With a 1/2 marathon this weekend, a 20 miler next weekend and Boston coming up in 4 weeks, the last thing I want is to stress about some injury. So it was an easy week of running.

Yesterday I spent most of the day outdoors, enjoying the weather. I decided to replace my flag since it was getting weathered. All I was doing was lowering the flag when all of a sudden I got this wicked sharp stabbing pain in my hip/butt on the right side. What the? That was weird. I took a step to walk it off and bam, there it goes again! Ouch. Nearly every step of walking was painful.
First the left leg, now the right. Definitely not the way to avoid being stressed out. I spent the next few hours icing, massaging, stretching, whatever to ease the pain. I avoided any motion that would aggravate it and then I went to bed, hoping it would magically go away over night. It didn't.
The smart thing to do this morning would have been to test the leg with a run before driving 2hrs south to New Bedford. Honestly, I was afraid to test it. I was really looking forward to this race, hoping for a PR. Now I was hoping I wouldn't DNF.
I picked up my number and got ready to 'run'. Ok, I got dressed. I still hadn't tried running. Just walking around the streets near the start was painful. If I stepped just right (or wrong?) I'd get that sharp stabbing pain. Now I was wondering if I'd even start the stupid race, let alone DNF. I limped to the starting line with about 30 minutes to go. I figured I'd give it a go but was pretty sure I'd drop out in the first mile. On the way to the start I happened upon a local chiropractor that had setup shop near the start. On a whim I stopped by and told him my sad story and asked if he thought he could help. Well he worked on me for about 15 minutes. Actually, it was more like torture, as he jammed his thumb into the area that was screaming with pain and articulated my legs around to make sure I really felt it. OMG, it nearly brought me to tears it hurt so bad. I said thanks? and he asked what I was hoping for. 1:20 I said and off I went.

Finally, the race.
I entered the corral shortly after, waiting for the start (still no running). The screw up at registration delayed the start about 15 minutes. The announcer was trying to kill the time by calling out various running clubs to see how many folks were represented. All of a sudden this girl behind me starts pushing me saying "they're moving!". Sure enough, the race had started, no gun that I could hear. It was the strangest start ever.

I just started running....waiting for the pain, but it never happened. My hip/butt area was definitely sore but the stabbing pain didn't show its face (although I was waiting and expecting it during most of the race).
Still going strong around mile 5 (photo credit-Scott Mason)
The plan was to run 6:00 pace for as long as possible. Well that plan lasted 8 miles, and I was just a few seconds under 48 minutes. However, the wind this year was different. It seemed like it was in our faces for a lot more miles, even on the long 4-5 gentle downhill section. I was working way harder than I should have during this section and it would eventually catch up to me. By mile 9 I was fading badly. I pretty much was running solo from mile 5 on. I just couldn't get close enough to anyone to draft, even for a few minutes. It was very frustrating. Paul Doe (a very big, fast guy) was about 20-30 ft in front of my for most of the race He would have been perfect to draft. I just couldn't get close (until mile 12). By that time I was just looking to finish. A PR was out of reach, or at least I convinced myself it was around mile 11. I probably got passed by 10-15 runners in the last mile. It was an awful experience but I was honestly amazed I made it this far. An hour and a half ago I was thinking about a DNF. Now I was within seconds of breaking 1:20.
In the end I finished in 1:20:05, about 7 seconds off my PR from last year. I was just a little disappointed initially but then realized it ain't all that bad of a time for a 45 yr old. The weather was different this year and I think it made a difference (that and my lack of long runs). As soon as I finished I headed right over to the chiropractor. He asked how I did: "1:20:05" I said, shook his hand and said thanks.
And now you know the rest of the story.

Full results can be found here.
I'm also very proud of the fact that I was able to contribute to the GCS Triad Mens Masters taking 2nd place overall (out of 18 teams). Thanks to my super speedy teammates:

Rich Smith (40)           1:14:13
Todd Callaghan  (40)  1:16:49
Joe Rogers (42)          1:18:38
Randy Macneil (48)   1:19:53
Steve Wolfe (45)        1:20:12
(note, times were gun time, not net time)


Jim Hansen said...

Excellent job, Steve. Send that chiropractor a tip or at least link to his practice. He may get a lot of customers. What was it, the piriformis?

Steve Wolfe said...

I would have loved to post a link to his practice...I didn't see a name anywhere unfortunately.
Not the piriformis, not sure what it is. Maybe one of the glutes? More to the side though

DENIS said...

Nice run Steve. Trying for top dog this year.

Michael said...

Way to tough one out for the team, Steve! With third place BAA just 15 seconds behind, I wouldn't have wanted anyone else in that fifth spot, but you. Nice job.