Here's how the New Orleans Times-Picayune newspaper photographed the start of today's 20,000-runner Crescent City Classic 10K race. Do you see me there? ;-)
I suppose it's all how you look at it.
Three weeks ago I was limping with a Grade II Right Calf strain, threatening to keep me from running today's Crescent City Classic - not my longest race at only 10K, but my favorite race of the year because of the no-other-race-like-it, carnival-like atmosphere. I wrote about my injury here.
I took a full two weeks off from running hoping it would heal on its own. It got somewhat better, but it didn't heal completely.
I made it through three runs this week just to get some blood flowing through my legs and hoping that I wouldn't re-injure myself.
Well, I made it through the race today, but the lack of recent running and the tenderness of my hurt calf showed. I was hoping I could still run something around 45 minutes (7:15 per mile). In fact, I was on pace for that through the first two miles, but as I felt the tenderness growing in the third mile I couldn't maintain it.
For miles 4, 5, and 6.2, I had to drop to about 8 minutes per mile finishing around a disappointing 48 minutes (7:44 per mile average). I was afraid to push it to a painful re-injury so I just maintained that 8-minute pace to the end.
I know, I know. I should be happy I was able to participate at all. And I am.
But since going vegan in May '08, every race I've run has been a PR (personal record) or very close to it, and with no different training than I had ever done. A month ago I had high hopes for this, my first 10K race since then, but instead this one broke the streak.
With the disgustingly sweltering New Orleans summer heat and humidity coming soon, I won't be able to do any fun long runs for quite awhile. That's probably a good thing as it will let me heal. And as area races soon dwindle down to 5K, 3 miles, and during the worst months, just 2 miles, I'll still have some fun times ahead.
Several people have suggested over the past three weeks I look at taking up biking. It's low-impact, easier from an endurance standpoint, and uses different muscles to allow for healthy cross training. New Orleans had a Half-Ironman Triathlon (swim, bike, run) last week. I suppose Triathlons, or more likely for me, Duathlons (run, bike, run) are things to think about for the future.
I guess I'd need to get some kind of road bike though, huh? Well, we'll see.