September 26, 2014
The coach of Golden West College had mentioned that there would be an “adult” race at their yearly Cross Country event at Huntington Beach Central Park. I have run this before; this race is usually ‘unofficial’ junior college runners and coaches. I was running a little late and was actually turned away at the registration table, but then he saw my AREC tank top and said it was OK. (This was weird especially because it wasn’t chip-timed and the race didn’t start for another 10 minutes.)
I eyed the others toeing the.line – there were 13 of us total – there was only one other guy who was over 20 years old (an AREC/GWC coach that I knew to be 32 years old). I resigned myself to probably be the last or second-to-last finisher.
When the gun went off, everyone bolted across the lawn and I just went off at my usual ambling pace… after all, there are a few hills and no need to waste my energy from the get-go.
The first mile (with relatively few hills) was a 7:22 and I was probably 50 yards back of the 32 year-old.
Next came the hilly section, of which I walked all the uphills. I ran for a bit with a coach from another school (probably in his 50s) who was out on the course encouraging his runners. I was able to overtake the other ‘old’ guy and put a little distance on him. I finished the second mile in 8:01.
With about a half-mile to go, I was entering the last iffy section (a bunch of roots on the trail encircling the small lake). I hadn’t even gotten to the roots… just the transition from the paved path to the dirt, when I went down HARD. I was able to at least get my hands out (so I didn’t hit my head), but didn’t have enough appendages to cushion the fall completely.
Everything really hurt and I had the wind knocked out of me.
Mindful of the runner behind me, I got up and walked towards the finish. I didn’t think I had broken anything, so I was going to finish this 5K. For some reason, the spectators seemed unaware that I was bleeding and covered in dirt, and shouted encouragement like, “C’mon, you can run to the finish.” I rolled my eyes.
I was ‘limping’ to the finish. With about 1/4 mile to go, I was passed by the guy behind me and decided that I could try to run in to the finish, but I didn’t have quite enough left to not finish in last… my last mile was still only 10:26… but everything really hurt!
I had two bloody abrasions – one on my right elbow and one on my right knee – and ended up with huge bruises on my right side. I did go to the doctor later to find out whether I had broken my right toe, but he said that the pain indicated that I had probably sprained the tendon.