I’m Back (well, kinda)

Running of the Bulls 8K – June 3, 2017

My last running race was the Rock & Roll Las Vegas, and it went poorly. It was going rather well until about the eighth mile, at which point my body decided that anything I’d eaten over the last year and a half should be ejected out my mouth. After that, dehydration set in and I limped the final five miles to the finish.

Pre-race, solid morning skies in Durham

Since I’ve started running a few years back, this was the final race of my spring set of races. Over the last couple of years I’d run a half marathon or two to start the spring, there’s been a couple 10 mile races worked in there, and then the Running of the Bulls 8K (presented by the amazing folks at Bull City Running). It’s entirely one of my favorite races, and since there was a course change a couple of years ago, I’ve completely sucked at it.

Anyway, after that train wreck of a race, I decided I was going to rest my body up some, sit out some longer spring races, and get good and ready for the 8K. Easy enough, right?

So that was the idea. I rested through Christmas, and then started working out to prep for a race in June. In February I decided to play some intramural softball at Duke to try to get over some nerves about playing after I broke my face. While out on the field, I strained my calf muscle, which in turn inflamed my achilles, which in turn caused a pretty big flare-up of plantar fasciitis.

That was in March.

It’s taken until the final week of May to get over all the calf and foot trouble. It’s not 100%, but over the last couple of weeks my physical therapist and I have hit on a couple of things that have worked, and I was able to get some decent pain-free runs in.

So that brings me to race day.

Baseball, tank tops, and Hawaiian print, a formula for a good day

I usually get to a start area about 45 minutes in advance, and did that today. I also managed to get some good stretching and pre-race warming up in. At the gun, for the first time in seemingly forever, I actually managed to pace myself. The course starts uphill, and then runs to a flat-to-downhill section for the better part of the next mile and a half. Every other year this section has been my downfall, where I’ve overdone it and tried to be quick on the downhill, inevitably exhausting myself for the third mile, which is mostly uphill. This time I actually kept it cool, tried to keep a nice rhythm, and by the time I hit the uphill by the Durham Athletic Park I still had something in the tank.

Those final two miles for the 8K through Durham aren’t “hard”, exactly, but they’re not easy. The main issue is a substantial lack of shade in the final two miles, mostly because they’re through Durham’s beautiful downtown. Couple that with it getting warm right about then, and if you don’t pace yourself (which I don’t usually do), those miles get a little brutal.

I was happy with how I ran those last two miles, it was a little slower than I’d hoped, but running into the Durham Athletic Park (the stadium from Bull Durham) I felt pretty decent. The final minute or so of the race takes place around the warning track, and you finish near home plate, which is quite the nice victory lap.

So here’s how it actually went:
Chip time: 48:24.7
Gun time: 49.38.6
Avg. pace: 9:44 / mile
Overall finish: 767/1309

Afterward, I came home and made waffles for brunch, because you know, waffles.

This is what success looks like

So what’s next? My hope is to run a few shorter 5Ks in the area, then get ready for the Bull City Race Fest & Food Truck Rodeo in November. That’s a great race in itself, hopefully I’ll stay healthy for it!