What an eventful day.
It started with a 3:45 a.m. wakeup before even the sun was up (I was actually awake long before the alarm came on – not because I was excited about the race but because I wake up every morning between 3 and 4 – darn hormones!).
Today was the Women Run Arkansas clinic’s graduation event in Conway – our 5K race. It was the culmination of 10 weeks of training – in the rain, the cold, the heat, the sunshine, all kinds of weather, all kinds of fitness levels, all kinds of women. Women from a wide range of ages, professions, personalities and philosophies. Women who made me smile, laugh, work harder and push myself farther than I thought I could go in 10 weeks.
Out of the 1,925 women registered for today’s race, the Batesville contingent showed up in force – all 65 of us – our bright orange race shirts blazing a trail to the finish line. That 65 didn’t include the half-dozen men who came to support us – our coaches and spouses, all sporting bright orange shirts of their own.
When you get that many women together, the excitement is palpable (if you’ve done Race for the Cure you know what I’m talking about). It starts for the individual before she even arrives at the race site and doesn’t fade until, oh, maybe the next day. I’m exhausted but still pumped up about this day in my personal history.
I had done this clinic 10 years ago in Sherwood, but I don’t remember making friends with the other women as I’ve done this time. Nothing against Sherwood – we had awesome leaders and participants there, too – but there has just been something about this group of Batesville women that will leave a lifelong impression on me.
We have each other’s backs.
I need to check the official results once they’re posted, but Amber from our group was able to holler out my finish time when the results were printed and taped to the white van: 35:32. I think I had told Bruce I wanted to finish in “under 40” (I always have to ask him what I said – I can never remember, plus he’s my stats guy). I finished 402nd overall.
I have to give a shout-out to Maggie, who helped me finish the last 10th of a mile or so, UPHILL (if you don’t think .1 miles is a big deal, even on a flat surface, get out of your car and jog it sometime – when you’re already out of breath). And, by the way, I have a long list of Things that Should be Illegal, and making the last part of a race – of any distance – UPHILL has moved to No. 1 on the list.
Thursday night at our Batesville pasta party we saw a video featuring a young woman who ran a marathon, smiling all the way (she must have been insane). Her mantra was “I love hills … I love hills.” And that crazy chick was still smiling when she got to the finish line! Do you know how long a marathon is? It’s 26.2 miles, honey. And this woman smiled the whole way!
But back to me.
When Maggie jogged back to take me in to the finish line, I breathlessly told her, “Tell me I love hills.”
“You love hills,” she said.
Now, I don’t remember this next part, but Jessica told me about it later, because she apparently was nearby when it happened, and it amused her.
After Maggie said to me, “You love hills,” I screamed, with my second-to-last ounce of strength: “KEEP SAYING IT!”
Jessica said it cracked her up. I don’t remember it, but it sounds like me.
As I’ve said to many people in the past couple of weeks, most of the trick with running is above the shoulders. Attitude is 99 percent of it (and a good bra helps, too). I have to tell my brain things it doesn’t really believe, such as “I love hills.” And when I don’t have enough oxygen to speak it myself (because it has to be said out loud), I have the Maggies and Janies and Jessicas and Jennifers and Ambers and Suzannes and Phyllises and Lisas and Theresas and Catinas to say it to me. What cheerleaders we have in this group!
I am happy to say that a bunch of us are going to continue our routine – to keep the fitness mojo going. Bruce is going to coach us, and we start Tuesday night at the cemetery (!), just as though the clinic had not ended.
I say “we,” but that leads me to the next part of the story. Here’s me tonight, a few hours after hobbling off the racecourse (note the concern in Salsa’s wagging tail):
This evening my mom talked me into going to the ER (after I called to ask if she still had my Papa’s crutches).
Apparently it’s not a stress fracture but merely a severe case of plantar fasciitis. I had been feeling the pain in both feet all week, but especially the left one and especially right before the race. I managed to run the race, but as soon as I crossed the finish line I started limping (kinda makes ya wonder how I could even finish the race, doesn’t it?).
By the time we got out of the car in Searcy to have lunch, I was hobbling to the sandwich shop. Which kinda hints at plantar fasciitis, because that condition is worse after you’ve been off the foot for a while (many people have their worst pain first thing in the morning).
This is a recurrence of a problem I had 10 years ago (last time I did the clinic), but never did it get this severe.
When the ER nurse asked me my pain level on a scale of 1-10 and I had to stop and think, Bruce said, “Remember you crawled down the hallway on your hands and knees this afternoon.” Good point. Pain level: 10.5.
So the ER doc put me in a walking boot and sent me home with crutches and a prescription for ibuprofen. I’ll be in the boot for 7-10 days, and I hope to be back on the running circuit in a couple of weeks. (I’m going to play it by ear.)
So, ladies of the Batesville clinic, if you’re reading this, know that you may see me Tuesday night, but instead of having my running shoes and my sports watch, I’ll be sporting an ugly boot and carrying a book. I may sit by the duck pond and read while you guys sweat along with Coach Bruce. And know this: Because I, too, am insane, I will wish I were taking every step with you.
I love you guys!
HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY, LADIES!