For the Love of Dove 5k (and learning to balance competitiveness with healing)

That’s me in the picture.  Yep – it sure is. That’s me crossing the finish line at the For the Love of Dove 5k.

Now let me be clear that I realize this is not the most flattering picture that I could have chosen to share with you, but I am proud of it.  It is photographic evidence that I completed this race with a nagging hip injury AND its a photo of me doing something that I love.  Given that, how could I not be proud of this shot?

So let me tell you a bit about Dove Lewis and about how the race went.

Dove Lewis Animal Hospital is a pretty amazing place.  When I first moved to Portland I had the privilege of working there for a short time.  I was searching for a permanent position in my field (social services), but the economy had just bottomed out and the job market was more than a bit rough.  Opportunities were scarce.  I needed income and was ready to take just about anything that I could get – so it was incredibly fortunate  that I stumbled into a spot with Dove Lewis.  Dove provides 24-hour emergency care for animals in the Portland Metro area – and they do it quite well.  They also have a wildlife and stray animal fund that allows them to accept and treat strays brought in.  If treatable, the animals are then either returned home (if their home can be located) or turned over to the animal shelters for adoption.  The proceeds from this run went directly to the stray animal fund and I was thrilled to be able to support it.

The run itself was a fairly easy course, actually.  It was a relatively flat, casual 5k – which was good for me as I’m still healing from a hip/groin strain.  I wavered for a bit about whether or not I should do the race, as I didn’t want to risk exacerbating the situation.  In the end, I made myself a deal.  I would race (but not push myself too hard) and in return I would take three full days off after the race and then four easy work-out days in order to give myself time to heal and recover.

I am happy to report my results.  I completed the race AND I beat my prior 5k time by 2:37!  I was, though, very aware of my hip strain.  After about 1.5 miles my hip and leg were noticeably heavy.  As they began to feel like dead weight, I eased up on my speed, but felt safe to finish.  I didn’t end it at the pace I would have preferred, but given the circumstances (and the fact that this was only my second competitive race), I am pretty pleased.

Here’s how I did:

  •   Time: 25:26
  •   Pace: 8:12 per mile
  •   Rank: 61st Place out of 611 Runners

I think the most difficult part of this is actually sticking to my post-race deal.  I want my hip to heal properly for my continued half-marathon training, so rest is essential.  But, it is important to note that rest is not something that I do well.  Rest actually makes me restless, if that makes any sense at all.  I actually feel even more antsy to run than usual.  But, alas, I have held to my deal so far and intend to continue to do so.  Rest.  Ice.  Swallow anti-inflammatory pills.  Break down excess connective tissue with a foam roller.  That’s my focus for a few days.

I am hoping that if I treat my hip well, it will return the favor in my next race!

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