Polar Bear 5

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.

I have to wait a whole month for THIS.

I have to wait a whole month for THIS.

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.


23 thoughts on “Polar Bear 5

  1. Ooooh gosh, I just had an “endodoncia” (aka root canal) here in Spain. Dumb as I am I didn’t realize endodoncia = root canal until a few days after the initial dentist appointment. (Duh?!) So yeah, it’s not fun but it’s also the WORST PAIN EVER before so I shut up and it wasn’t so bad. Except I don’t know, having dental procedures done in a foreign country isn’t my thing.

    Good luck! Hopefully it doesn’t cost too much. Here in Spain it cost me overall like 300 euros, so I don’t know about the US with its terribly expensive healthcare.

    • See, ‘endodoncia in Spain’ sounds lovely. I picture the dentist sipping a tiny cafe con leche while he works and the office is filled with carnations. 🙂

  2. Your splits are really awesome, seriously. Congrats on a great race. As for the timing chip, my very first 5K only had the timing mat at the finish line, not at the start. It still annoys me to this day. What is the point of having it at all??

  3. I have done a few races in my area that are “chip timed” in that there is a timing mat at the FINISH, but not the start. So it’s gun timed, but they have a chip! So basically if you want your Garmin time to match your official time, you have to start your watch when the gun (or air horn or whatever) goes off. These races are generally small, so anyone running for time usually lines up near the front anyway.

    • Yeah, it was a really small race, I think about 500 (hence the AG placement!). This group puts on a bunch of races around here and always had mats at the start and finish, so that’s what I was expecting. But meh, first world problems!

    • Part of the reason for this is that it generally costs more money to have a “live” mat at the beginning and the end. That is why so many races don’t do “gun” and “net” time -its cost prohibitive.

      THE MOAR U KNOW!!! (I had a race director explain this to me ages ago because I didn’t know either!)

      • I assumed this was the case. The races that I’ve seen do this are usually pretty low-key and don’t have a huge turn out. I personally don’t care either way. I’ve done races that finish with you getting a popsicle stick with a number on it. I also make note of whether or not there is a mat at the start, and start my Garmin to best match however they measure the “official” time.

      • Yeah, I’ve done real casual, unchipped races too. This somewhat-chipped race was new to me, but if it keeps the cost down, I’m fine with it.

  4. That is an awesome race. (Although I admit I would be annoyed by those 10 seconds, too.) I’ve only done one 10k, but I loved it. It seemed like a perfect distance to me.

    I blame children for bad teeth. I’ve never had a cavity in 31 years until one day…there were SEVEN. If I ever have to have a root canal I am getting sedated. Do not want.

  5. Food for thought: 7:25 pace is about 37 minutes for 5 miles. So, not only do I think concentrating a bit more on strategy will get you where you want to go…I think you can run a lot faster. MILES MAKE CHAMPIONS!

  6. I’ve had two root canals and they were both SUPER FUN. Actually, the first one was legit nbd, the second one was ok except for when he was injecting my gums to numb me up and hit the wrong spot causing the needle to go right into a nerve, which felt like a major electric shock and left that side of my jaw sore for three days afterwards because it was so intense.

    But otherwise…CAKE. And in both cases the pain in my teeth before seeking treatment was so severe I was almost to the point of playing in traffic and that really isn’t far from an exaggeration. Absolutely awful, awful pain.

    Good luck with yo mouf.

    • Agh, fuck! That sounds horrible. But yeah, others have told me the actual root canal’s not bad. Like you said, I’m just ready for the pain to be over and would agree to practically anything at this point. “Oh, all I have to do is blow Carrot Top and the pain will go away? LET’S DO THIS.”

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