This week I learned that if you ever have to have a root canal, you don’t want it to be the tooth they refer to as #19.
I didn’t know anything about #19 before this week, but apparently this particularly tooth has a shit-ton of nerves and (according to my dentist) no one in general dentistry has any business rooting around in #19. These special, special nerves are best left in the delicate and capable hands of an endodontic specialist (endodontist?). I didn’t know what they were until this week either but I learned the only one in my town has a waiting list that’s a month long.
So the running thing I had under control. I trained, decently. I did tempos, fartleks, progressions, pace runs. I did mile and half-mile repeats. I even fully recovered from the winter of my discontent with two days to spare. But my TOOTH hurt if I so much as inhaled too deeply. Imagining how much more it would hurt huffing and puffing the 25° air outside at the race made me feel panicky.
Anyway, so I didn’t meet my sub-40 race goal. I finished in 40:10, and if we’re being honest, it wasn’t really because of the toothache (which okay, sort of makes that whole prologue about the toothache kind of pointless). The tooth bothered me for the first mile and then the cold air must have numbed it or something because after that I stopped thinking about it. What really slowed me down was just good ol’ fashioned sloppy running.
Yet…see the time? (Bear with me for just one paragraph while I over-explain some things and bitch and moan about trivialities.) I’m still missing 16 seconds. The race was chipped, but there wasn’t a timing mat at the starting line. Maybe there was some other kind of stealthy device to mark the start? Something fancy I don’t even know about? Or maybe the chip only collected data at the finish line? Is that even a thing? So it’s possible I started my watch a few seconds late, but not 16 seconds late. I guess I’m still a little annoyed but I’ll get over it.
Issues aside, I probably could have shaved off a few seconds just by pushing a little harder at the beginning of the race and keeping my head in the game. I like to get started casually, and that strategy doesn’t really work for shorter distances.
But…meh. I still ran a decent race. No matter where my head was and no matter how sloppily I weaved to and fro along the course, I did set a realistic goal for myself. I just…slightly failed at it. (However, I did place 3rd in my age group. I think I’m even entitled to a gift certificate. Woo?) Next time, I’ll be a little more aggressive and also try harder to race efficiently and FOCUS.
But since there aren’t many other 5-mile races around here, 40:10 is probably going to be a stain on my running transcript for a very long time. At least until Polar Bear 2014. So I’m thinking I’ll set my sights on a spring 10k and shoot for sub-50.
Oh, and I do have painkillers for my tooth, by the way (GOOD ONES). Just nothing I can take and still be able to run. Although that might be fun: the Indianapolis Vicodin Shuffle? I hereby declare myself race organizer. The date will be tentative and I’ll totally overcharge but it’ll be worth it, I promise.