Rock n Sole was my first half marathon - I participated in the inaugural event - yes, the one with all the heat and water issues. At the time, I thought I was so well-trained for the race, but in reality, I was just a clueless newbie runner! I was fortunate enough to not run into any hydration issues but the heat and humidity that day made for a miserable first half marathon experience. I remember feeling completely dazed at the end of the race and could barely gather myself enough to go find my mom who was spectating.
The bridge definitely beat me that first race. But going into this year's event, I figured I'm a lot more experienced and also the weather was decent so it could add up to a nice race!
I lined up pretty close to the front because I wasn't in the mood to weave around slower runners throughout the first mile. Turns out it was a smart move - I took off as soon as the race started along the flat bit of course that led into the dreaded Hoan Bridge.
The Bridge actually wasn't that bad and I even managed to pass several runners. During tough stretches like these, I like to focus on runners in front of me and see how many I can pass. It turns it into a game of sorts and makes the race effort seem a little less painful - or at least painful for a reason! Going into the hairpin turnaround, I counted 2-3 female runners in front of me.
Airborne near the turnaround
Running down the Hoan Bridge seemed like a piece of cake in comparison to the uphill. One woman passed me but I felt pretty confident I could catch her later on in the race. Until . . . it felt like someone stuck a knife in my calf. What started as a dull ache quickly progressed to all-out pain. I knew instantly it was a strain. I was forced to stop for a bit at the bottom of the bridge because the pain became too much. I tried massaging the area but it didn't help. I decided to try running again and hoped the pain would subside.
Unfortunately, it did not go away and I had to stop again soon after the first break. At that point I wondered if I needed to pull out of the race. A bunch of runners passed me while I was standing at the side of the road and that motivated me to get going again - but I had to stop soon after and start walking. It was so frustrating because I knew I still had plenty left in the tank.
It was only because more people were passing me that I forced myself to start running again. On a pain scale of 1-10, I was at about a 7-8 - not good, but there was no way I was going to walk the rest of the race. I grit my teeth and somehow managed to pass several of the people who had passed me before crossing the finish line.
Flying toward the finish line
So ready to cross the finish line
Here are my results:
Gender Place: 9th (tie)
Overall Place: 53/1,645
Looking back, it wasn't the smartest decision to keep racing as I could barely walk for the remainder of the weekend. My calf is still healing, so I'm taking another rest day today and will hopefully be able to run easy by Tuesday.
The Bridge is now 2/2. I'm definitely doing this race again next year to try and even the score a bit!
Here are my questions for you:
- Did you race Rock n Sole this weekend? If so, how did you do and what did you think of the course?
- During a race, do you stay focused on your own pace or do you make it a point to try and pass other runners?
- Any tips for healing a calf strain faster?
Hope you all had a great weekend!