Race Report: The Crim Festival of Races

The Crim Festival of Races 10 mile was a great experience.

It was my first race farther than 5 kilometers, my first road race, the biggest race I’ve ever run in (more than 10,000 runners) and a good start to the rest of my running career.

The race itself was a blast. I certainly had moments of feeling good and feeling awful, but I loved the challenge and enjoyed the run the whole way.

The spectators who were out along the entire course were amazing. They passed out water, ice and even beer. They cheered, held out sprinklers and told some fun jokes, like “I don’t know how you guys do it, I got winded just walking to my mailbox this morning!”

The last half mile was a downhill finish on the bricks of beautiful downtown Flint. I loved the energy of thousands of people coming together to do what most people consider crazy. We know the truth, we know we aren’t crazy. Maybe we’re even enlightened.

During the first few miles, I wasn’t on my goal pace and didn’t think I’d make it. You can imagine how my spirits went up as I realized I had time to spare. I finished in 1:27:22 gun time, 1:25:47 chip time. I accomplished my goal of running sub-1:30 and finished in the top 25 percent of the field. Maybe I felt slow, but I ran the race at a decent pace and enough to beat the majority of the field. Not too shabby.

And I have to pass out a special thanks to my mom, my aunt and friends Sarah and Tim who came out early on a Saturday morning to see me just a couple times during the race. I appreciate them coming out to support me so much!

The learning curve
The biggest thing was the learning experience. I have an idea now of what kind of training I need to do and what kind of experience I am in for with the longer races. My plan is to become a more well-rounded athlete; meaning more plyos, drills, lifting, yoga, core work and general increased fitness. I need more long tempos and more speed work. I need to be stronger and tougher. But it’s doable, and now that I see how much I need them, I have more incentive for getting those things done.

The best thing that came from the race is learning that I am a better runner than I have ever been. I love the whole race, the joy of it all. I love the challenge of pitting myself against myself. I’m stronger and tougher than I’ve ever been as a competitive runner. I definitely matured during my time off from competitive running through college and from life events through those years.

I also found I’m good at drinking water on the go (lots of water) and the practice with gels and sports beans in training paid off.

The aftermath
After the excitement ended at about 9:30, it didn’t take long for the stabbing pains of plantar fasciitis to set in again.

About a week before the race, I started feeling the nasty pain on the bottom of my left foot. So I took two days off and stretched and iced the crap out of that foot. I got in three short, easy runs before the race and felt just fine going into it. But running 8:30 per mile for 10 miles isn’t the greatest thing for plantar fasciitis.

After the race, and even two days later, I’m hobbling around with pain that is akin to nails on a chalkboard — it’s just disgusting.

So what to do?

I’m not going to run for at least two weeks off the bat, but I want to start biking tomorrow. I’m going to do strengthening exercises for my foot and a lot of stretching. What I’m concerned about is the shoes. I know a podiatrist would recommend stiff, chunky motion control shoes and orthotics. I have orthotics, but no interest in big, chunky shoes. I want the opposite — my hope was to get a pair of racing flats and start working into them as full-time running shoes. I’m a mid-foot striker who wants to improve on the lightness of my stride, and I know my body is capable of taking on that challenge. I might not go completely barefoot, but those guys have got something there. The idea of running and walking barefoot and in minimalist shoes makes sense to me.

But I get conflicting information about what to do for the plantar fasciitis. Some say “get the big shoes, barefoot running is awful for your weak feet!” Others, “barefoot is the only way to go. It’s the shoes, not the feet, that are the problem!”

My approach to things is holistic. Find the core of the problem, don’t just treat the symptoms. I’ve stopped wearing heels to work — what I believe to be the cause of my plantar fasciitis — and I plan to get stronger. Now, shoes. I don’t want to spend the money on shoes that won’t help (fresh out of college and just months into a new job, I don’t have the funds to experiment with $90+ pairs of shoes). But if I shoes I have don’t work (Brooks Glycerin 8), and if barefoot running won’t help, I have no choice but to go into the unknown.

Does anyone have any personal stories they could share? I could use some help.

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