Attempted Runner.

Race Recap: Brazen Racing – Bay Breeze 5k

Valentines day is in February, thus making it the month of Love. To me it’s not so much a month of Love but February marks my runniversary. I ran my first race in February 2011 and each year since then, I’ve always had one (sometimes two) runs in February. This year was no exception. I signed up for Brazing Racing’s Bay Breeze 10k which is the second weekend in February on a ridiculously flat course, unless you do the 5k which as a slight hill with (according to Garfield) an elevation gain of 6 ft. Yes, that is correct…6 feet. Not 60 feet or 600 feet, but 6 ft. Again, pretty much ridiculously flat.

The 5k course takes you around the “1 mile” exercise loop which contains that treacherous 6 ft. hill. After the loop you cross the little bridge and run along the out and back portion. The 5k is paved the entire way excluding the start/finish chute since it’s in the middle of the grassy park and after the 5k turn around point is on gravel…if you choose to run on the gravel side (I’ll explain further down). For the 10k and half course, you do not go on the loop/hill part, but instead straight out to the out and back portion. I’ve only done the 10k but going out is pretty much paved the entire time except for a small portion before the turnaround where it switches to gravel/dirt. It’s not so bad doing the 10k because you only are running on dirt for maybe 1/4 of a mile before getting back on the fully paved route. The half follows the 10k course with the exception of it being 6.9 miles longer. I haven’t done the half or gone out that far on my own yet but I heard that it’s just gravel/dirt the entire way.

Anyway, Brazen Racing had early bib pick up on Thursday and Friday at Fleet Feet. Since I was the closest to the bib pick up destination for this race, I was mandated to pick up the bibs for J, Legs, and R. I don’t mind doing the early bib pick up but as I’ve said a billion times over, I still think is unnecessary since we’re always at the races at least an hour early. :::shrugs::: Whatever….There will be that one time that something happens and someone will say, “SEE! AREN’T YOU GLAD WE DID EARLY BIB PICKUP?” and I’ll just shrug with a facial expression that says it all…. Apparently that’s my response to everything lately just a shrug and a I-Don’t-Really-Care face. Sometimes words are not needed but I digress. I got all the bibs after work on Thursday and called it a day.


It’s Nacho day….It’s my day!

*I apologize in advance for those who follow my instagram/Facebook/twitter account. I already shared all the following pictures and they are all redundant but sorry, they’re linked together. I’m too lazy to be a social media guru and  rather than managing all three sites, so I just link them together.

On Friday I had Nacho’s at work with the girls. It was supposed to be a “light” lunch but when you put nachos in front of me….”light” doesn’t happen. What’s suppose to be one single serving, usually turns into two helpings of a serving for TWO….. I don’t know what’s better, saying I had two helpings of a two servings portion or 4 single servings. I’ll just say I had nachos and let everyone else do the math for themselves. When I got home,  A wanted to do dinner and I figured I can do the “light” thing then. Until A suggested going to Lucille’s BBQ. When I go to Lucille’s whatever I order, tends to end up looking like any of these amazing dishes and as tempted as it was to order the 3 meat plate with potatoes and veggies I had to remember that I had a huge lunch and in less than 12 hours I would be running. No one wants to be bogged down by pounds and pounds of meat before the run. After a run, that’s not so bad. So, as my mouth is watering just reading the menu and trying to decide if I wanted the brisket or hot link to go with my rib-tips, tri tip, mashed potatoes and veggies (Yep, my mouth is currently salivating) our waitress arrives and when asked for my order I blurted out, “Smoked Brisket Salad!” It gave me no chance to order something SUPER heavy. A said it was probably best to go lighter and even though I gave him the what’s that suppose to mean evil eye, I knew he was right. I had to fuel properly if I wanted to avoid any on course porta potty/vomiting accidents.


Brisket Salad – It’s better than it looks.

As I properly (enough) fueled at the dinner table, I discussed with A that I was going to downgrade from the 10k to the 5k. After weeks of debating, I figure with my hip flexor strain starting to feel normal (90% of the time) I didn’t want to go and run another 10k and hurt it again. I also discussed the possibilities of me either A. walking the entire course or B. do a 1/4 run walk ratio. I still was undecided on how I would handle the course, but I pretty much was set on downgrading the morning of. Bummer.

I got to bed relatively early, however I woke up a million times because Monster face has bladder problems on Race nights and can’t seem hold it longer than an hour at a time. Also A was to work overtime so I set the alarm but woke up another million times to check the alarm because I was paranoid that we would sleep right through it. That he would be late to work and I would miss the race. When the alarm went off at 4:30, I really wish I just slept through the alarm because I was tired, but a race was ready to be run (Ha!) so I got my butt out of bed…slowly, but still got out of bed. Since I had the crazy amount of food the night prior and was only running the 5k, I didn’t go nuts with the breakfast. I heated up a Van’s Gluten Free Cinnamon Toast Stick, and a Jimmy Dean’s Turkey Sausage patty as they are convenient enough to eat while driving. I also grabbed a banana that I ate closer to the start of the race.

I arrived at J’s house as promised at 6:45. We lollygagged a bit there with last-minute bathroom trips (you’re welcome for that knowledge), Band-Aid applications (Blisters on toes), hamstring/Glutes stretches (Its Squats week) and were on our way. The Marina wasn’t too far away and got to our super close up secret parking spot by 7:15.  The sprained ankle emergency room extravaganza just three weeks prior did the trick and J decided to downgrade to the 5k too. She didn’t want to ruin her ankle anymore than it already was. Since we all were doing the 5k, we didn’t actually have to leave the car for another half hour and while waiting for R and Legs to arrive, J laced up her new shoes. I fiddled with the weather app hoping for rain. I’ll run in the rain one day!!!

We started to walk over to the party and that’s when we met up with R and Legs. 1622652_758031797543235_2043544043_nWhile Mr. Brazen sent the 10k runners on their way, I went over to the change distance/problems table to downgrade. This was the first time I’ve ever had to downgrade but it was easy enough. All they did was write my name/bib# down and slap a 5k sticker onto my bib. Sadly, I’ll probably have to stand in this line again in two weeks. J took care of downgrading her distance and we all went over to remove our nice warm layers of clothes for bag check. I did a few stretches to release my hip flexor in a last-ditch effort to make it magically healed, when Mr. Brazen said it was time to line up in the corral. I still had the, I’ll walk or do a 1/4 run walk ratio, though in my head so I went to the back of the corral. With the walkers. I thought I’ll walk the 1/4 so that I’ll be at the back  and be able to avoid the typical starting line congestion. That wasn’t one of my brightest ideas. When Mr. Brazen sounded the horn to mark the start of the 5k, I walked from the back of the corral with up to the starting line with everyone else, had my hands on my Garmin ready to hit begin and when I crossed the timing line, pressed start…..Of course I didn’t WALK! It’s just a natural reaction to run. I can’t say that I ran very far though because I started in the back and now was blocked by a bunch of slower runners (usually me) and walkers. Needless to say I couldn’t get very far.

After about 10 seconds of the congested corral delay, I exited the grassy chute area and when we made it to the paved portion, I took to the edge of the trail like always to stay out-of-the-way and started to run. Since I thought I was going to walk most of it, I kept my cold gear long sleeve on rather than bag checking it, so not even 2 minutes into the run as I’m trotting along I am taking my long sleeve layer off. I get that taken care of and tied around my waist right as we begin to enter the “1 mile loop.” Since it’s a public park there were still people walking the loop (and using the exercise machines/activity areas along the course) but they were considerate enough to either walk along the trail on the dirt or stepped off the trail and just waited for us all to pass. That was nice of them….except for that one guy that cut me off to cross the trail with him and his four kids! Maybe walking those 10 seconds during the starting line chute, having to take off my long sleeve and being cut off by family of five guy was a hint that I was supposed to be walking it for safety reasons, but I don’t listen to safety. DANGER IS MY MIDDLE NAME! It’s just spelt differently with only 4 letters. I kept reminding myself that I was going to switch every 1/4 between walking and running.

DILEMMA! Do I start walking when Garfield said it was 1/4 mile? Or do I make it easy and walk at the 1/4 mile markers on the trail so I wouldn’t have to keep looking at my watch? Garfield surpassed 1/4 while I was trying to decide and as I passed the course marking I thought….but I just started? I’ll do it at the next one and continued my running journey.

I’m coming up to the 6 ft. hill and I kept thinking that it use to be taller or at least steeper. A long time ago, I use to breathe heavily walking up it or struggled to run it (I was out of shape, duh) and when I continued running up  and made it to the top I realized that it wasn’t just because I’m now in better shape, but because when they retrofitted the 1 mile loop awhile back, they rerouted the hill. It’s not longer as steep but now a steady incline. Obviously, it’s not that big of a hill anymore (or it never really was, I was just unfit) so their steady 6 ft. incline of a hill, is now more like a speed bump to me.

I ran a little faster on the down side of the hill and crossed the 1/2 mile marker (Garfield was 3/4s mile) but because I was going down hill, I couldn’t STOP running. I kept trotting along. I realized at some point around the first 1/4 mile that if I took smaller strides my hip flexor didn’t hurt as bad. Do you know how hard it is to change your natural stride? I have long legs and trying to shorten your stride length is tough work! It probably looked like I was doing more of a shuffle but I knew it was helping because when I reached the 1 mile marker my hip flexor wasn’t hurting all that much. It’s usually at 1 mile that it starts to flare up. I still maintained my normal (slow ass average!) pace of 12:21. I reached the first mile and was still running. I felt ok, so I just said I would run to the water stop and start the 1/4 run walk ratio there to give my hip flexor a little break.

Although, I was carrying my handheld water bottle I didn’t have any water in it. I thought I wouldn’t need any water since I was SUPPOSE to walk the 5k. I wasn’t going to take any hydration system at all, but I took the hand-held just to I had a place to put my phone and iPod in. As I approached the aid station, I took a cup from one of the volunteers and tried to run while drinking. That lead me to choke and spill some on my shirt so that was when I finally slowed to a moderately fast walk. I looked at Garfield, saw that I was at 1.25 miles at 16ish minutes and did some quick math. Walking, I’ll be damned! I drank my water waited for Garfield to reach 30 seconds and began my small stride shuffle run again.

I reached the bridge that goes over that flood control canal and stuck to the left side of the trail. It’s a little hard to describe (see picture further down), but imagine the size of a two-way road, 75% of it (the left side if you’re going south) is gravel/dirt and the other 25% is a small two-way bike lane size paved trail. Going out, everyone is on the small paved trail but coming back people are usually on the dirt part as it’s A LOT wider and easy to maneuver around people. Still, with proper race etiquette, I stuck to the far right of the paved trail and tried to run in single file. It was smart of me to do this, because by this time there was some 10k people coming back (the REALLY fast ones that have the rabbit [Brazen Bicyclist] leading the way and clearing the path on the paved portion. Not sure if it was because that was the GPS marked out course or if it was easier for both the bicyclist and the runner to go on the paved part, but I didn’t mind. I understand the rules.

I got held up a few times because of the people walking 2-3 abreast and I couldn’t pass them because of the oncoming runners. At one time, I saw a break in “traffic” and there was plenty of time for me to go around the walkers and get back to the right before the runner coming towards me would get close. Even though I had plenty of time, I still didn’t want to risk it because those guys RUN FAST!! So, I lengthened my stride and ran faster to pass about 4-5 people. Even though I ran faster for only 10 seconds, I felt a twinge in my hip flexor. Back to small shuffle strides for me. Can you believe it? I can’t even do a 11:40 pace for 10 seconds without my hip flexor telling me no.

I don’t really remember much after that. Between 1.5 miles and to the turn around at 2.1 miles, I must have gone into the zone and just blacked out on everything else. I do know that I didn’t stop running. On the way back, although we could have run on the (now) left side on the 25% paved trail with people still running out, I followed suit and stuck to the (now) far right which was on the gravel/dirt part. I became aware of my surroundings again when I passed the stagnant water that was stiiiiinky! I noticed that R and Legs were running passed me, stopped to walk, I passed them, they ran again and passed me, etc. This continued for the remainder of the run.

I also noticed that my right knee started to get tingley. I didn’t tape my knee this time like I normally do, and I don’t know what the reasoning is for it because dirt is usually softer to run on, but I looked over my shoulder to make sure the coast was clear and zigged (not to be confused with zagged) my way over to the left side of the trail to run along the right side of the paved portion. If you look at the diagram below….I was still off to the far side for the return runners from the 10k and half marathon to have plenty of room, as they had 75% of the dirt road to run on…so I was out of their way. I was just now running towards the last stragglers walking the 5k but because they were thinning out, I didn’t think it was that bad.


As you can see by this EXPERT drawing of the course (on the return), I (yellow) was on the FAR right out of everyone’s way near the stinky water when my knee started to hurt. I zigged over to the left side to be on the paved trail, but still on the “right side.”

Surprisingly enough, running on the paved trail made the knee pain dissipate which was weird because like I said…running on dirt is usually softer. Anyway, I’m still running along and do an “all systems a go” check. I mentally felt ok. Physically (overall) I felt ok. My breathing was fine, my legs were fine and my knee was back to normal. All systems were a go! I’m at 2.8 miles and realize that I may just be able to make it under 40 minutes and also perhaps, even better…Under 38:44 minutes to set a PR. I begin to pick up the pace and my hip flexor started hurting. This time it was not a twinge but more of a I’m tired, sore and don’t want to go on type hurt. I did the smart thing and slowed to a walk. I couldn’t believe it. I was almost to the finish! I kept an eye on my Garmin and when it reached 30 seconds of walking, I couldn’t help it and started shuffle running again. It was hurting, but still decent enough for me to at least push through to the finish.1901814_758033284209753_1956061187_n

I crossed the finish line with a recorded finish of 39:31. No PR, but as I’ve mentioned before…it’s my ALWAYS goal of being under 40. I didn’t set a PR, I was pretty happy with this run because if you do not count the 10 seconds I got stuck behind people at the starting line shoot, the 30 seconds walking at the water stop and 30 more seconds at 2.8 miles (for a total of 1:10 minutes), I ran the whole 5k!!! I haven’t done that except that one time in Disneyland when I had the magic….right before my hip flexor broke. I could look at it negatively meaning that I didn’t PR or that my hip still hurts.


I can look at it positively and say that EVEN THOUGH my hip still hurts, I ran the entire thing! Just imagine what could have happened if my hip flexor was fully healed! This hip flexor issue really does put a damper on things.

When I crossed the finish line, I wasn’t too tired and if my hip flexor wasn’t sore, I knew I could have done the 10k with the same pace and maybe even run for the full 4-5 miles before stopping to walk (that’s how good I felt mentally and somewhat physically).  So I felt ok about that. It wasn’t anything spectacular, but I consider it progress. A few months ago (NOT being injured) I wouldn’t have been able to run the full 5k, but now (I repeat) I’m INJURED! and can run the full thing (just don’t count that 1:10 because I’m not. I could have run that too). My runniversary was a good one.

I was feeling all happy and stuff, met up with the gang and sat down and then this happened…..


Smile of Agony

Oh my hip flexor hurt so bad! I knew I had to stretch it out and not let it get “stiff” otherwise it would hurt worse, but you know what hurt worse? STRETCHING! I was grunting in pain. I was taking deep breaths like pregnant ladies to do control the contractions. Oh man, it was a death by hip flexor moment. You can actually see it in my face. I’m trying REALLY hard to smile normal, but it’s just not happening.



I eventually get up slowly and I’m now doing that funny walk where rather than just moving your legs with one in front of the other, I step normally with the left leg but then turn my whole torso/hip forward so it has not choice but to swing my right leg forward. It’s pretty embarrassing but whatever. I’m not trying to impress anyone…………Looking at the finish line photo…its OBVIOUS I’m not trying to impress anyone. Dweeb.

We picked up our bags from Sweat Check, did the previously mentioned finishers photo, hit up the fantastic post race snack area. I drank my Nestle’s Chocolate Milk that I brought and even though I’m always hungry. Like ALWAYS. I didn’t get any of the post race snacks.  1920581_758040404209041_1898590154_n

I didn’t feel like I needed it. I ran a full 5k and didn’t feel starved! Hungry is one thing…starved is another. J, R and Legs got some yummy snacks, so while they ate I did some more death by hip flexor stretching. Look! My smile looks more normal this time. Despite it behind hard to walk and took me forever to get my leg on and yes, OFF the table too…..It didn’t make me give a Smile of Agony.

After we all were done stretching/eating, I wanted to go over to the pull up bars so I could do the Sweat a Day 15 challenge. R and J told me that they removed the one set of pull up bars that were by the parking lot and the only other ones that were left were at the 1/2 mile mark on the top of the 6 ft. hill on the loop. Which was probably 2 miles away. It was toooooo far and I said screw it. Because of our super close up secret parking spot, we didn’t have to walk THAT far to the car but it still felt like a marathon to me. I don’t know if running with a shortened stride is harder or if the funny hip swagger walk of swinging my hip forward is harder. Either way, their both tiring.

After I said Bye to R and Legs I got rid of my “I’m ok” game face and just decided that I didn’t want to walk anymore so I tried to hitch a ride with a turtle. I didn’t get very far and had to be home by a certain time, so I did a fantastic plank walk up maneuver (thanks Nike+, Shauna Harrison and my own training routine for allowing me to be stronger in doing them) to help get up off the turtle and walk back to the car.

1654213_758041457542269_1085554135_n  Since we all did the 5k, we were out of the park relatively early and Chipotle wasn’t open yet. J and I didn’t have our traditional post run bRUNch anywhere. I just dropped her off and headed home. My hip was hurting (of course it was) by the time I got home so I put some ice on it and grabbed a snack. I must say, taking the little NestleQuik bottles I have to use as ice packs is a pretty genius idea. It’s the perfect size for my hip flexor pain area and because it’s a short round bottle and the curve of my groin, it lays perfectly still without moving/rolling all around. NestleQuik is the perfect recovery product for TWO things…post run nourishment and post run icing!

I still got my traditional Chipotle later that afternoon before heading out to a birthday party (In my defense, Gluten Free kids don’t have a lot to choose from at pot lucks that are not contaminated and I did need to eat something!). My hip started to feel a little better towards the end of the night but I also just sat around at the party so it’s not like I aggravated it anymore than it already was.

Yesterday, when I woke up I iced my hip flexor a little more, did some foam rolling and tried to take it easy. Its hard though because I do have to get in/out of chairs and walking. It wouldn’t be so bad if I strained a muscle that’s not as important as one that controls the whole function of your leg!

Today, it doesn’t hurt as bad as it has two days post run in the past. Maybe doing my shuffled run did help. I worked it, but not overly worked it. It’s still not fully healed and because I have a race pretty much every two weeks for the rest of the year, it won’t be FULLY healed any time soon. Crap. I’ll downgrade again at Hellyer from the 10k to the 5k and just sign up for the 5k’s for the other races. I just hope it doesn’t affect me too much or get worse during my redemption half marathon in October.


9 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Sorry you hurt after, but way to go at the race!

Comment by Falyn @ Slacker Runner

Thanks. One day itll get better or I’ll just be immune and then it won’t stop me!

Comment by Attempted Runner

Have you thought about changing your stride? When you mentioned the shuffling action, it reminded me of Chi running, and actually if you shorten your stride but have a higher cadence, you can run faster and with less stress on your joints. It sounds like you might benefit from this, although I do know changing your stride can be tricky.

Part of the idea behind higher cadence is that your feet spend less time on the ground, which means less impact.

Comment by Pandora Viltis

Hmmm. I’ll have to do more research. Maybe it’ll help until it’s fully heeled, then by that time I’ll be use to it so I’ll always run that way and be less injury prone.

Comment by Attempted Runner

I totally agree with Pandora Viltis, give it a go. It isn’t always huge changes, just small tweets can make a big difference. You seem so committed to your running, you totally deserve to do it pain free x

Comment by Reallyarunner

If running wasn’t tiring enough, add changing your stride it’s like running twice the distance. I’ll give it a whirl though. It already helped me go 1.8 more miles than normal before it hurt.

Comment by Attempted Runner

The trail hog race was one I was glad we did packet pick-up. Haha.

Comment by Runningfromitall

We still had plenty time though.

Comment by Attempted Runner

Not for me to feel comfortable.b

Comment by Runningfromitall

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