May 16, 2009

The 5th (6th?) annual Healthy Kidney 10K

The words floating out of the loudspeakers in Mary Wittenburg's shrill tones said something about "when this race started five years ago...." and I didn't catch the rest. Something about numbers. It didn't matter to me. I'd just finished a warmup of 1.8 miles and had barely had time to stop by baggage to take a Tylenol and suck in some albuterol before heading for my corral. Now I was waiting to one side of the pink area, unwilling to actually walk ALL the way back to the brown corral, especially since the starting line was already so far ahead it was out of sight. I figured I'd just cool me heals until most of the crowd had already passed and I'd slip in with the portion that had the most brown bibs.

Despite having done an albuterol nebulizer treatment before leaving the house, my lungs were not having a good time. The humidity was high - really high - and even as I waited for the race to start and everyone to get out of my way most of the pack to move ahead, it began to sprinkle. Oh, man.... this does not bode well.

With the increasing tempo of the evil wet stuff from the sky prompting me to get going, I slipped in with the pink bibs and started my remaining mileage for the day. As we all loped along, climbing the west hills of the park, the rain began in earnest and we were shortly all pretty wet. Not soaked, exactly, as certain portions of shorts and shirts remained dry, but shoes, tops, hair, skin, all dripping water. The rain made it hard to see.

Along about mile two, now, and the rain lets up a bit and five minutes later it's gone for good. Now the air is getting warmer and the humidity just hangs out. I can see the air and the hotter people's breath is condensing, even in the nearly-70-degree environment. Ridiculous.

I'm struggling, of course. Again a 180 from the previous run, which was cooler, less humid, and a whole lot drier. I'm walking up hill after hill, panting as I do so, and feeling very much let down by the weatherman, who'd promised partly sunny this morning. Perhaps this rain and humidity was his idea of a prank?

I survive through mile 3 and the biggest hill of the run and then try to really get going. I do pretty well through most of mile 4 - but then, most of that is flat. I'm running out of steam, though, and wonder why. I'm drinking Sustained Energy and that's never let me down before. As I run and walk and run and walk, I realize two things: first, that perhaps this new diabetes is interfering with getting the energy from my drink into my muscle cells (!) and so there may be something to this whole insulin shots thing (these are in my future, I just know it); and second, that there is a girl in vivid green that will be the one I have to beat. We've been playing tag since mile two.

I'm passing the fifth mile marker with something akin to joy in my heart - for this torture is almost over. I still can't breathe well, and my legs feel like rubber - but I'm able to stretch out this segment and resist taking a last walk break. This resistance is reinforced when I pass my aged friend Crista H, who is lumping along in her usual way. She'd told me before the race that she was in pain and was probably going to have to have surgery. So now, if I can just keep going, I will manage to beat an injured octegenarian. Somehow, that brings me no joy at all.

I'm keeping the green girl in sight and surprisingly resist walking the last two hills. Keep in mind that Healthy Kidney 10K finishes just like the Marathon - UPhill. Mustering everything I've got left, I increase my speed a little and manage to pass the green girl and keep up the mildly-strong finish to the end. Passing her brings me no joy. Crossing the finish line brings me no joy; only relief.

I've been coughing the entire race, unable to get my lungs to stop spasming, and now, when I'm expecting the most extended coughing fit of all (because that's what happens to me when I stop running), nothing happens. I'm bent over trying to catch my breath and really trying not to pass out; I don't feel steady at all. Apparently, I didn't look too good, either, for when I stand up, there are two medical personnel looking me over with some concern. I flash them a quick smile and move on.

I neither noted, nor cared what my time was. I grab my bag and head toward the subway, stopping to get a coffee and muffin from the little kiosk at the park entrance. The coffee tastes good; the muffin is terrible.

Worst Healthy Kidney 10K of the five I've done (in a row!) Not by much. The last three years have all been within two minutes of each other, but still, I KNOW I can do better.


Anonymous said...

nice race recap, i think you did a great job of describing how pervasive the rain really was. ugh. regardless, congratulations on completing the race, great recap. you can check out mine at:

Michelle said...

1.11.55! Dude thats OK!

I KNOW you can do better too, but you did great!!

I ran 8 miles today in 1.26.37 slow. Stopped a few times crossing the streets on Ocean Parkway. I don't care about the time, I just feel good that I got it done!

Sorry the muffin was terrible. Let's run sometime!