AM: 3M wm/cd; 15k race (49:06)
As I said yesterday, I didn't know what to expect from today's race. The course turned out to be a grinder. Three loops with a nice long hill each time around. The weather was fair - a bit hot and windy, but we've had worse recently.
The warm up told me nothing of my condition. The hernia pain was there along with the hamstring, although they did seem a bit muted. When the gun went off, however, there was nothing. It was the best I've felt in awhile. At least for the first 3.5 miles. We hit splits of 5:05 and 5:06 for the first two miles and even then I found myself out front pushing the pace. This turned out to be a mistake, because I did not give the course enough respect. I found this out heading up the hill going into the second lap. Eventual winner (by a lot) Eric Hartmark started to push at the bottom. I latched on and was feeling pretty good. Then about 3/4 ways up I started to get tired. Really tired. Eric gapped me and by the time we crested the hill he had a good 50m on me. Such was my condition, that I knew he was gone and I had better focus on holding it together. Its amazing how quickly things change sometimes.
I finished lap 2 at a bit of a lowpoint. I could sense I was being caught from behind. Going up the hill for the last time teammate Joey passed me and I did my best to hang on. Once again he looked at ease, with his head cocked slightly, jaunting along like he was on an easy run. I'm sure he would say there was nothing easy about it, but he rarely lets it show.
Joey continued to pull away as we made our way around the last time. Taking the last turn for home I knew there was about a mile left and if I didn't want to get passed by half the race I had better find a way to get back on track. I managed to avoid tanking on the last little uphill and then gathered whatever I had left to pull up close to Joey at the finish line, thus avoiding the dreaded "nipped at the line".
Its hard to describe how I feel about this race. A month ago I thought I could run in the mid 47s, but today I found myself relieved that I was sub-50. I had a glimmer of hope in the first half of the race that I still had some spring in my step. I hadn't felt that in a long time. But I didn't finish the race strong and that always leaves a bit of a sour taste.
I am a man without a plan right now. In one sense that is exciting, just run whatever I feel like. But overall, I'm slowly working through the frustration and mental anguish over the hernias and lack of joy I have from day to day running. Its a weird time right now.
And to address the obvious question: "Why not stop and have surgery now?" Well, it comes down to work. I can't really afford to take a week off of work until early October. Its just too busy. And if I can't have surgery until then I may as well keep grinding hoping things turn around. I plan to reevaluate things in September and will move my surgery up, if possible. I want to enjoy running again.