Running at the Zoo

Or, perhaps a better title would be Running is a Zoo. Well, it is fitting for me anyway. At the zoo, you have these animals who from afar look tame and manageable. Looking at them from behind the glass, we forget they are after all truly wild animals of an unpredictable nature. So yes, I compare running to a zoo. For months, years even you can be out there running on that jungle pavement, running to your hearts content and then, ROAR. An injury occurs. Well, mine roared anyway.

Two weeks ago it was a knee. Last week was my calf and on Sunday at the Sacramento Zoo Zoom 5k, it was a combination of the two. I don’t quite know what to make of it. I have been keeping my mileage really low, focusing on cross training and strength exercises. I am itching to get out there and run pain free again, and I want to do it now! Patience is certainly not my virtue, but I remind myself that I would rather take a few weeks off of running than a lifetime.

But I did run at the zoo. I wanted to push like I never had before. I love running 5k’s. I love running at full force in shorter distances. I don’t know why, I just love it. And yes, I will admit I did indeed push it that first mile. I couldn’t help it, I got carried away with the energy of the crowd. So I ran that first mile at a 7:25 pace and then my left calf ROARED at me, and to make quite certain I was listening, it ROARED again. I didn’t want to quit. So, I slowed down some. I thought about walking, but I just couldn’t do it. Not in a 5k. My second mile was at a 8:10 pace. And, then because I never want to leave anyone out, my right knee started to twinge. I knew the feeling all too well. It is like that little Microsoft Dude when in a Word Document knocking on the screen to let you know he is there. Just like that, my knee gave me warning of what's to come and I obeyed, thus slowing down my pace even more. Third mile at a 8:18 pace. Always being one to sprint to the finish, that last .10 was at a 6:39 pace.

I was angry when I crossed the finish line. Hurt, upset. But luckily, I was at the zoo and I it’s hard to be down for too long when at the zoo! Especially when I got to hand feed a baby Giraffe. (Insert highlight of the day here.) I will say that walking around the zoo after the race did not help my knee very much, but it certainly helped my spirits. 

The Zoo Zoom was a fun race. The course was flat and fast, though it is placed near a driving range, and one runner got hit by a golf ball while running. I did not hear her outcome, but certainly hope for the best. Zoo admission after the race was free. Easy parking, and no other logistical mishaps makes this a race one I will certainly do again. And the next time, mark my word I will be Roarless....Or injury free rather!

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