Racing Forest Lakes, adding the miles, stopping the bleeding toe

My middle toe on my right foot is bleeding. I have no idea why, exactly. It must have chafed against my sock while I was on my run tonight. Two friends of mine who are expecting their first child have been looking after the kids an hour at a time so I can get another hour of running in.

This week I've got my miles up to about 27, which is right about where I wanted to be. I skipped a long run on Saturday in favor of running a 5K for the Kiwanis Club. Someone had asked me if I was planning on running it, and I decided to put that over the long run. The start time was later, and I wanted to try my feet at another run.

I got there at 7:00 AM, amazed at the commitment I seem to have to running. I jogged from my car to the registration table, filled out my card, and then ran the first part of the course and back to warm-up. For the first time, I had a watch on me so I would have some sense of how much time had passed. On my first long-run, I ran way too fast, according to running friends. This time, I would start off slow and try to run at a steady pace for the whole three and a bit miles.

Unlike in March, the weather was warm at the start, and you could tell the sun was going to get hot. The race was set to start at 7:30, and sure enough, we were lined up at 7:32. I got up about maybe three rows from the start and got into position. When the flag dropped, I sprinted out as fast as I could to get some space between me and other folks. And, I settled into what I thought was a pretty good pace. No one really passed me for a bit, though a long line of people went sailing off into the distance.

The first half mile was more or less downhill, before heading back up a hill. I was trying to go as slow as I could, or so I thought. When we got to the first mile, I looked at my watch. 6:24! I've not run that fast since high school! But, I immediately knew I'd gone way too fast and that I needed to slow down. I slowed the pace as best I can, but still wanted to move as fast as I could.

I want to do well. I want to learn how to do well. To go as fast as I can without hurting myself. I want to train so that I can learn how to do this well. Even though I suspected I was going to crash out, I kept on running as fast as I could. Suddenly the course dropped down onto a footpath, and something about those narrow spaces make me want to run as fast as I can. The first section was a steep drop, and someone behind me started flailing behind me. Somewhere on this footpath was the next marker, and I saw that I had run the second mile at 6:56, and we'd begun a steady incline up. I thought I was doing fantastic, but knew somewhere that I was going to start slowing down.

And, sure enough, coming up a steep hill, though back on the road, I started feeling my stomach acting up. I hadn't had anything to eat, but did have a cup of tea. Something started coming back up, and I quickly knew I was going to need to stop and just let nature have its way with me. So, I pulled over, convulsed a bit, and then started running.

Convulsed is a little strong, but I didn't want to just come right out and say I puked.

But, then, I started running again. I felt fine. This happened to me on my first race as well, and I know from practice that I do tend to get nauseous if I burn out too long and let adrenaline get the best of me. On my training runs, I love the mad sprints I make myself do to get through traffic lights (especially at the corner of Ridge-McIntire-West Main), but I know that I need to slow down for a few seconds when I get to that point.

So, up I went, and still crossed the finish line at 22:03, according to the official results. Within site of the finish line, I saw my result and tried to push myself a little to get just under 22:00, but I could tell I didn't have it in me. So, even though I'd beaten my best time by more than a minute, I was disappointed that I haven't yet learned how to really respect pacing. The 5K is a great race to train on, though, and I'm going to try to work in at least one a month in order to get used to that feeling of competing.

Five days later, my toe is bleeding a bit. In total, I've managed to run 27 miles in the past six days. Tomorrow is a rest day and then I hope to shoot for 12 or 13 miles on Saturday morning. I'm eager to start getting the miles up, and it will be nice to do so with other people training for the marathon.

I'm really enjoying this.

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