I had my first racing "DNF" (Did Not Finish) today.
We were out at the Mission Spring Ahead 5k/10k/Half Marathon today -- I was signed up for the half. This was supposed to be an evaluation race for me for the Vancouver International Marathon in five weeks time.
Last Sunday we ran a nice and easy and steady 3:20 long run at a 9:40 min/mile pace. It was a perfect running Sunday with fantastic weather and all. I felt great after the run - not tired at all. On Monday was a rest day on which I just did an easy 30 min swim in the morning. Then on Tuesday I did my weight training in the morning (including legs) and a tempo run with The Right Shoe running group in the evening. Tuesday night I had such discomfort in the right leg behind the knee that I did not sleep well.
This has been bothering me a little off and on over several weeks now and recently gotten to be worse. I started seeing my Physio Tracy Barber who diagnosed it as something most likely caused by a weak right glute which turned into a strained/inflamed (??) Popliteal Nerve (pain on the side and back of my leg near the knee) - or something like that. So I have been doing some exercises to get my right bum to fire better. As it had gotten worse I also started seeing Dr. Aaron Case, my Chiropractor. He agreed with the diagnosis and added Active Release Technique to the treatment. It seemed to have improved at little, but certainly not by leaps and bounds.
After the sleepless Tuesday night I managed to get an appointment with Aaron right away for Wednesday morning for some more treatment. Then I went out and bought some of those instant ice packs to be able to ice my leg. I did go out for a 50 min easy run Wednesday night which was probably not the brightest idea. I kept icing it whenever I could and felt somewhat better by Thursday and went for an easy run with friends on Thursday night. Friday was a day off (read: 30 min swim in the morning) and Saturday just a 30 min easy run with some drills and strides. The run was fine, but the drills did not feel so good - especially not the C-drills (butt-kicks).
For the race I even went out to Mission the evening before and stayed at the Best Western so I don't have to stress on Sunday morning. I met up with Catherine and two of her friends Saturday evening for dinner as they were staying at the BW as well. After a nice an relaxing and restful evening and sleep I was totally ready for the race! The leg hurt a little bit but that I was already used to. At the Mission Municipal Hall where the race started and finished I met up with Lara, Megan and Dennis - and later Catherine and friends and some of the others from our group) bright and early and started our warm-up 30 minutes before the race started. The leg felt tight but OK.
At 8:00 AM sharp the half marathon started and I went into a good and comfortable tempo. At around 5k the leg really started bothering me but I thought that's OK and I will ice it well later and take it really easy the next week. The km markers for the half marathon were placed a little erratic, but when I passed the 8k marker I was ahead of my planned pacing by about 2 minutes. That was also around the time where the pain started increasing with every step and my strides shortened step after step. It got to a point where I was just barely shuffling along and searing pain shot up and down my leg with every step.
Needless to say that soon thereafter I ended up walking. Whenever it felt like the pain would decrease a bit I'd try and run again to see if I can get back into it. No such luck... every time it hurt like hell again.
So when I was back at the Municipal Hall (it was a 2x10k loop with an extra 1.1k during the first go-around) I called it quits. I got there just in time to see the start of the 10k race. Then I got myself an ice-pack form the Ambulance and waited to see all our runners finish. Some of them with really nice times!
I suppose a DNF is not the end of the world and it is a quite humbling (and yes, also very depressing) experience. OK, time to ice that bum leg again...