It’s not that I wouldn’t run the Chips and Salsa unless it were free it’s just that it was scheduled the weekend before one of this year’s A races, the Air Force Marathon. However, given how my season has been going so far I didn’t really think it mattered because there’s no way I’m going to BQ in the next couple months. Chips and Salsa is actually a pretty good local race. I think this made the third time I’ve run it though each time it has been on a different course.
My plan for this race was to simply take it easy and cruise along. I didn’t want to waste anything before the Air Force Marathon. The day before the race I went for an easy run and then spent the rest of the afternoon changing out the toilet in our master bathroom for a low-flow, push button toilet. This is something I’ve wanted to do for quite a while but have been hesitant because though I’m good at landscaping I really don’t consider myself handy. It ended up being really easy but holy crap toilets are heavy. When I went to pull the old toilet off the floor I discovered it was grouted to the floor so it took some extra work and some extra lifting. Anyway, I got it done and didn’t feel like I was any worse for wear.
When race morning came I felt pretty good and just like I planned I took off easy and after I warmed up a bit I picked up the pace and just kept rolling along. It was a perfect morning for a race and I felt good jogging along at my easy pace. I was making pretty good progress until about mile seven and then I started to get an ache in my shoulders, chest and biceps. I couldn’t figure it out at first but as I ran the ache turned to a throbbing pain and then I realized it was from carrying those toilets the day before. When I carried them I had to grip them using a bear hug and of course I lifted with my legs and it must have taken a lot more strength than I thought.
I kept running along but the pain was just getting worse and worse and I was really starting to freak out. If I tried to run any faster than about a 9:30 pace the throbbing pain intensified and I had to slow down. As the miles ticked by I really started to struggle and then of course I started having all kinds of negative thoughts because it was hard for me to believe that changing out a toilet could take such a toll. I started thinking that the training plan I had used over the summer had failed me and that I was no longer capable of even running a measly half-marathon.
By the time I reached mile 10 I felt like I was done for and I had to start taking walk breaks. I could not believe how badly I was falling apart. I shuffle jogged mixed with walk breaks the rest of the way to the finish line. I ended up running a 2:06:10, my slowest half-marathon ever. I never would have guessed that anything could have taken such a toll on my ability to run but lifting toilets sure did. Never again.