Monday, June 13, 2011

Canal Days 5K: Dead F-ing Last! (And Proud of It)

I have begun a new phase in my running career, or, my running career which is defined by not running for the forseeable future. Thus, I downgraded my desires for Saturday's Canal Days 5K (New Haven, Indiana; small-town festivals RULE) from "running really slowly" to "walking." It turned out I was the only walker. The small field took off at the start and I watched the clump of runners quickly leave me behind. I wasn't alone, however; I had the sweep vehicle accompanying me the whole way. "Vehicle" in this case was a golf cart belonging to the New Haven Police Department, piloted by an amiable officer with whom I made jovial small talk for the duration of the race.

I had vigorously mowed my lawn with my reel mower on Thursday afternoon, and my calf had reminded me all day Friday it was not happy about being treated badly. It was still complaining as I began briskly walking the 5K, and I was forced to limp almost immediately. It was uncomfortable but not unbearable, and I forged onward. The afflicted area sent out a few major bolts of pain, but nothing, nothing like what I had felt during Cleveland or the weeks afterward.

Bringing up the rear in a race was a novel experience. I have finished last in races before, though not since 1989, when I dragged my exhausted ass across the finish line of the OHSAA Cross-Country Regional race on an 85-degree day in late October. This time, however, I wasn't part of a high school team that was trying to qualify for the state meet. I was out for a stroll on a cool, if humid, summer morning.

Law enforcement held up a HUGE line of cars at a major intersection until I passed, which caused me much embarrassment as there were a lot of pissed off motorists waiting for me to hobble by.

I waved and smiled at a lot of people who were waiting for the Canal Days Parade to start in downtown New Haven. I felt like a mini celebrity!

Let me just state for the record: walking three miles seems to take FOREVER. I was glad when the high school came into view and I knew I was almost done. The Engineer was there, too, and when he saw me coming he ran out to meet me and we crossed the finish line together.

I wasn't dejected or mopey about my 50-minute time nor the fact that I had finished dead fucking last nor that I couldn't run. This injury...it is what it is, and I have to accept it as such and look towards rehabilitation and healing.

Another bright spot in the morning was seeing Holly (Rust Belt Runner) again. She told me about this race a while back, otherwise I would not have known about it. I was planning on heading to Indiana last weekend anyway, so the logistics worked out perfectly.

Post-race
At the finish line there was a huge box of free T-shirts for a Craigslist-like service provided by the local newspaper. Since I love random T-shirts (trucks, bacon, Cryptosporidium, particle physics, to name a few) I couldn't resist grabbing a hot pink one. I will now be able to advertise Bobslist in southeast Michigan.

In a few hours the Engineer and I were on our way south to Indianapolis for the Independent Music and Arts Festival. Last year, it was a brutal 95+ degrees and sauna-like humidity. This year, it was MUCH nicer.

Of course, there was beer: first, lunch at the Brugge Brasserie (mussels were eaten), followed by a visit to Sun King Brewing.

I left with one growler filled.


The next item on the running agenda is...well, more not running. Slow rehabbing is where I'm heading, I believe.

6 comments:

Holly @ Rust Belt Runner said...

Nice recap! The beer looks good too!

My first 5K was actually a walking 5K. I was power walking however. It did seem to take forever! I can't imagine your leisurely stroll!

I'm sure you must have told your pal the officer why you walking though. You made a BFF along the way!

Lace Up And Run said...

I know exactly how you feel about coming in last and walking 3 miles take FOREVER! I was nursing an injury over the winter and decided to enter the local 5K as a walker! Not sure I'll ever do that again!

Glad you finished and your calf held up. And of course, it looked like you celebrated well afterwards.

TNTcoach Ken said...

You emptied two growlers???? Great job.... LOL

Jessie said...

I know the irritation of not being able to run, which makes 3 miles feel like they take an eternity. I commend you for being so cheery and patient! Congratulations! I hope your injury improves soon.

Nitmos said...

Slow rehab is where it is at! Maybe you are a trendsetter?

BrianFlash said...

I really respect those people who finish last in races. It is tough being out there alone trying to get to the finish. That takes a lot more mental toughness then finishing somewhere in the middle of the pack!

Good for you and good luck on the rehab!