I did the Bubble Run on Saturday. Up to that point, I trained with my Couch to 5K app as I’ve always done in the past. I was feeling pretty good about it. Some days, I felt like I might end up being fast enough to have a personal best, time-wise, and other days, I thought I’d end up at about the same times I’ve had in the past.
But a lot of small stuff went awry, and realized in the middle of the 5K that Everything Was Not Okay.
I will admit that I should have had a drink of water before leaving the truck with which my family traveled, but I didn’t because I didn’t want to be desperate in looking for a place to pee. Then we got in line at the starting line and waited, which meant standing in running shoes, which is not great for me. (I have other shoes good for standing that aren’t good for running, and running shoes that aren’t good for standing.) I tried to relieve some of the weird knee and ankle joint issues that started to crop up in standing by marching in place, shaking my legs and doing the occasional squat or two. Well, during one of the squats, my right knee went back in place. (In case you are new to reading, or you don’t know me well enough: I am quite loose-jointed, and something is always out of joint. I run, walk, and move cautiously so I don’t hurt anything, but I also feel I cannot put all my physical activity up on blocks, as I need to keep doing an effective exercise for my metabolism and for my mental health.)
Knee back in place? That’s awesome! Win-win! This run should be great!
And shortly thereafter, our group of people got to start.
After about the first one or two kilometers, my breathing started to be a little swampier. I did have a cold with some lung issues a week or so before this, the night before, I walked and spent too much time in ragweed, and the actual day of the Run was quite humid, so breathing was not as easy as normal. Strike one.
A little while later, I was DYING for water. I ran off course because I spotted some drinking fountains, but when I got to them, they didn’t work. I was so relieved to get to the water station mid-course, and was too embarrassed to ask to hook myself up to a hose directly to the water tank. It was the first time ever that I ran fairly dehydrated, and I won’t do that again. Strike two.
Then I tried to get my running stride and tempo back, and my body wasn’t having it. The newly-popped-in knee was yammering in a way I haven’t heard it do so before: fairly quiet, but present. I kept going. I could tell I was going pretty slow. Every once in awhile I would push myself to pick up my speed a little, or to cover a little more ground with my stride. It didn’t really seem to work, and the course seemed extra long. (Though it’s likely it wasn’t. My C25K app insisted that the whole course was 3.75 miles, which is longer than 5K (=3.1mi). My aunt, who walked the course, had a regular step-counting app that she started in the morning that said she walked 3.2 miles so far that day by the finish line of the Run.)
I felt awful. And my final time was so slow – 1 hour and 8 minutes – a time that is 2nd slowest to the first time that I ever ran a 5K. But I made it.
I took a photo at the finish line.
I looked at it, and I looked like death. No, not just tired and disheveled like normal me after running. I looked like actual DEATH. The color was drained from my face and there was no nice endorphin-y shine. (Though I did get a wave of happy endorphin brain around the 53-minute mark.) Let’s be honest. I barely made it through that. This felt like beyond strike three.
So in a little bit, the rest of my family who walked this Run showed up at the finish line, we took a celebratory photo together, and then we left. Getting out of the truck when we got home was a challenge with my leg. For the next, say, day or so, I was a hurting, limping unit. I kept drinking water, icing the knee, and remembered how Solomon’s Seal tincture is supposed to help muscle and bone issues, took that, and during the night last night, when I was walking to the bathroom, my foot and ankle spasmed and snapped into place.
My leg felt like brand new. And what was odd is that I didn’t remember those things going out, I just remember there being some tendons and ligaments pulling in a way they weren’t supposed to around my knee because it was sort of out. I hadn’t realized how out my knee, ankle, and foot were. No wonder that was such a tough run.
I’m grateful that my family and I decided we wouldn’t do that particular Run again because the whole process is more difficult than it needs to be. (It’s no longer an option to pay a bit more and have your shirts and number bibs sent via mail, so one HAS to go to the city of the running venue the day before and pick up the stuff. If that’s not possible, you need to pay $5 extra per person to pick it up the day of the Run. Also, they don’t carry shirt sizes beyond an XL. When I contacted the company about my concerns for that, they said, “No worries! They should have larger sizes at the pickup site!” And they didn’t. And they didn’t care.)
But we talked about doing other fun nature walks on our own and whatever, which is a great and more flexible alternative. And I realize that I need to work on helpful strengthening movements that I can do alternating any walking or running I do.