For whatever reason, I seem to run races in bunches. I can go months without strapping on a timing tracker or bib number then suddenly I’m inundated with races. And apparently summer is the season when this phenomenon hits its peak.
Last summer I managed to run four races on four consecutive weekends. While I doubt I’ll top this feat this year, I did stumble upon a new first: two races in less than a week. I realize, of course, that for you hardcore runner types, two races in a week isn’t anything to write home about. You guys eat 5Ks for breakfast then crap out the finishers’ ribbons. But for me, it was a new experience. I wouldn’t go so far as calling two 5Ks in six days a monumental accomplishment, but when you mix in a nasty midweek toe injury it was at the very least a memorable week.
RACE #1: Bainbridge Island 4th of July Fun Run
Obviously, this race took place on the birthday of our beloved nation. What is less obvious to the uninformed is that our neighboring town of Poulsbo, WA celebrates July 4th weekend by having a giant fireworks display on the night of July 3rd. This is significant because the group of us who ran the race on Monday morning had stayed up late on Sunday and spent a good chunk of the day eating unhealthy foods and imbibing a steady stream of adult beverages. Fortunately, I’ve done a significant amount of training on weekend mornings so I’ve conditioned myself for just such an event.
Despite these obstacles, we all ran well and enjoyed the event. My wife ran one of her strongest 5Ks in some time and my friend Todd held his own in his first ever race. Ironically, the one participant who didn’t drink the day before (my 9-year-old son) was the one who had a sluggish outing. Though to be fair, he’d put together a rather impressive streak of staying up late the previous four nights, which is the way kids his age party.
Thursday Night Soccer Game
My weekly indoor soccer game went well as I managed to score a few goals on the way to a victory. Unfortunately, there was one drawback. Midway through the second half I took a hard kick to my right foot. I finished the game limping around a bit and when I got home to assess the damage, I found significant swelling in my big toe which was accompanied the next day by unsightly bruising. I’d love to say the damage tarnished an otherwise beautiful foot, but sadly years of running has left most of my toenails looking like they’ve been gnawed on by rodents.
RACE #2: Refuse to Abuse 5K at Safeco Field
By Saturday morning, my toe was still hurting and even more discolored than the day before. However, my mobility was intact so I just needed to deal with the pain. I had no intention of missing this particular race, which my family and I discovered last year. While my son wasn’t in town last weekend to run with us, I was excited by the prospect of opening up my pace in his absence and challenging myself to get a decent time.
Once I got past all the race walkers who clogged up the front of the course (a real pet peeve of mine), I was able to get some momentum going. Seattle didn’t provide the nicest weather (they even had the stadium roof closed) but the run was solid and I finished in 25:41, a pretty good outing for me. My wife also did well, besting her Monday time.
If you’re a Pacific Northwestern runner I highly recommend checking out this annual summer event. It’s a really fun race that supports a good cause and how often do you get the chance to weave your way through a major league ballpark?
As if a 5K wasn’t enough wear and tear on an already damaged toe, my wife and had weekend plans I refused to alter. After cleaning up after the Safeco race, we headed back downtown to attend the Seattle Sounders game, which was followed up with some urban exploration. All in all we walked an extra 6.5 miles Saturday afternoon. The toe held up, thanks in part to my old friends beer and cocktails.
The following day we toured Queen Anne Hill by foot which allowed us to log an additional 4.5 miles of walking along with a lot of stair climbing. By the time we returned home on Sunday night, my toe and legs were shot. I’m happy to report that I’ve been taking it easy since and my toe is feeling better. I’m confident I’ll be able to take the plastic turf soccer Thursday night and I’m also scouring the internet to find more summer races to run.
Toes be damned!