I have just completed my slowest-ever 10K race and I don’t know how I feel about that. I am embarrassed and humiliated—and very angry with myself. But I don’t know if I should feel that way or if, instead, I should feel pleased that I crossed the finish line at all.
Today’s race was the Balfron 10K and this was my second time running it. The day started out with a positive feel. The sun was shining and my spirits were high. It was the first-ever time I’ve run a race without a running partner or a friend to cheer me on at the end, but I was OK with that in a weird way. (It helped that I still had my hire car, so transportation wasn’t an issue.) I had been clocking lots of improved times on my training runs, and had hoped that I would beat last year’s time for this course because of it!
But then, around the three kilometre mark, Dave (my right kidney) decided to stage a wee protest in the form of a burst cyst.
Now, if you suffer from polycystic kidney disease as I do, you may know how this feels. For those lucky souls who don’t, the best way I can explain it is that you get this stabbing pain in your side followed immediately by this wall of white-hot pain that hits your entire body. The intense pain only lasts a moment, but it is so crippling that it feels like an eternity. Then, once that initial pain subsides, you feel as if you’ve been kicked and stabbed in the flank by a gang of angry monkeys. Oh, and the sick feeling that sticks around for a wee while afterward doesn’t help, either.
I spent the next seven kilometres trying not to be sick—and trying not to look sick! I ran as much as I could, but I had to take frequent walk breaks, which isn’t something I would normally do on a 10K. I was so embarrassed to be walking. I was so embarrassed to be so far behind the core pack of runners. And I was so embarrassed to have finished a full six minutes slower than last year, and eight minutes slower than my target time for this year.
I know that I could have (should have?) just turned around and not completed the race, but that’s not my style. I have to finish what I start no matter what. I’ve often joked with my friends that I will crawl across a finish line on my bloody hands and knees if that’s what it takes. So, I guess it’s not too surprising that I stubbornly completed today’s race. (And I did so with a disappointing time of 1:08:30.)
For those who may find this revelation worrying, please rest assured that this is just a normal part of my kidney disease. Please also know that it’s not a sign that I shouldn’t be running. In fact, most doctors will agree that running is one of the best sports you can participate in when you have PKD.
My next marathon is four weeks away, and I am now very worried about my fitness levels for the race. Today’s excitement will shave a few days’ training from my schedule and I’m already behind. But, I will evaluate my health as the days tick away and will pull out if I am not well enough to run. (I hope that’s not the case.)
Anyhow, I am going to spend the rest of the day nursing my body and my ego. Though, given the circumstances, I will not be nursing a post-race beer as I normally do. Just lots and lots of water today!