May 31st, 2004

Running 2 races

I ran most of a 5k, plus all of a 10k this morning.

The race I did (sort of twice) is known as the Ridge Run. It's a run in my own neighborhood. I just walk to the race start. I have done it almost every year for more than 20 years, so it's a sentimental favorite. It's also the only race I do where I am running with a lot of people I know, and where a lot of people who know me are on the sidelines cheering.

The 5k (3.1 miles) starts at 8 a.m. and the 10k (6.2 miles) starts at 9 a.m.

Well, my daughter decided to run the 5k, so I went to watch her and offer support. As race time came near, I walked ahead 3 blocks and stood waiting to see her fly by. When she did come by, she somehow looked like she wasn't doing well, so I jumped off the curb into the swarm of runners, and worked my way through the crowd to her.

She said she had a cramp, also known as a side-stitch, a cramp-like feeling in the ribs that sometimes afflicts runners. She thought it might be from from eating breakfast before the run. It was slowing her down.

Now, here's the thing about stitches: it's just pain. Nothing serious is wrong with you when you experience the pain. It just hurts, and the medical guys still aren't sure why, the last time I checked. Whatever it is, you can run right through it.

So I ran along with her, talking with her, and then she was surprised by how the miles were flying by. "You're distracting me by talking," she said.

Good, I thought. Sometimes a little distraction is just what the doctor ordered.

The girl can actually outsprint me, so I let her do the last third of a mile on her own.

On my own race, the 10k, I had a pretty good time anyway. Maybe the 5k was a good warm-up run. But I don't actually recommend this approach to anyone! Unless, that is, your daughter has side-stitches.