Yeah, that does say 5K. After all my blathering about doing the 10K, I wound up having to drop down to the 5K because my ankle started to hurt a week prior to the race. Same ankle that I fractured in December, only this time I felt it above the lateral malleolus instead of the medial, so it’s not like I was just being paranoid about re-injury. Feeling that when hopping on the affected leg sends me into paroxysms of panic to the extent that I didn’t even want to go on this trip anymore.
But it was already paid for, so I went. I intended to dive in Tel Aviv, so that I’d at least get something positive out of this — but wouldn’t you know it, sea conditions turned out to be unfavorable for Wednesday and Thursday. They assured me that Friday and Saturday should be fine for diving, but, well, obviously that does me no good at all.
Since it was not entirely out of the question that I’d end up having to run/walk the distance, I knew that I’d be posting my slowest 5K time in years anyway, and thus felt no need to adjust my activities in the days prior. I must have walked thirty miles over the three days I was in Jerusalem — and my glutes felt it. My ankle wasn’t especially happy either, but I refused to test it out on a run because ignorance is bliss.
I couldn’t ignore the race, though. It was everywhere. Rubbing salt in a gaping wound. It made me so, so, so sad to see the half marathon kilometer markers all around the city and know that I would not be passing them on race day.
Thursday night, I responsibly went to bed around 10 PM. And proceeded to remain awake for over three hours. Just as I finally drifted off, I was awakened by knocking on my door. Who the hell is knocking on my door at 1:19 AM?! Apparently some idiot who can’t read room numbers, that’s who. I’m sure his apology was sincere, and all, but now I am awake again. And no, I didn’t need to wake up at 5:25 for a 7:30 start that’s pretty close to my hotel, but I did anyway, so yeah.
I really don’t have anything to say about the race itself. I spent way too long sitting in the OneFamily tent because I got there so early, and then I headed to the 5K start (wearing a 10K bib, which did get me the better race shirt — the 5K shirt was pretty crappy). It’s been over three months since my last race, and I wasn’t sure I knew how to do this anymore.
Maybe I don’t. Because the gun sounded (actually, there was no gun, just someone counting down, and then people randomly took off, so I did too), and I didn’t feel like I was running a race. I ran my first sub-7:00 mile since my stress fracture, which was nice, but not as nice as the fact that my ankle was not screaming bloody murder. It felt a little uncomfortable, but I know what it feels like to run on a fracture, and it does not feel like this.
And then I proceeded to positive split like a champ. I could tell it was hilly, and the farther we ran, the worse it got, but it was still depressing. As is typical of races in Israel, I didn’t have many women to chase; I did reel in two or three, but I was mostly surrounded by men. I just didn’t feel at all motivated to chase them all down, since I already knew I was going to be “slow,” and my average HR for the race shows that I wasn’t working as hard as I could have been: even with all those hills, it was 165. It is unheard of for me to run a race of any distance with a HR that low. It just doesn’t happen.
The elevation gain/loss makes me feel a little better about the positive split, but not by much. (Even if Strava says I actually ran a perfect negative split, if you adjust for the elevation changes. And ignore the last .1.)
And yes, this is the slowest 5K I’ve run in several years. I’m trying to remember that the most important thing was to be able to walk afterwards — and I can — so this isn’t really as terrible as it could be. Doesn’t mean I can’t still feel the sting.
I checked my results online, and I saw that I had placed fourth for females. There aren’t AG awards for the 5K, so after a little while I headed back towards my hotel. I had almost reached it when I checked the results again — and suddenly, I was listed in third place. Clearly, someone was disqualified. (Not so strange, I guess, when you consider that the person who had originally been listed as first supposedly ran as fast as the leading men.)
So I turned around and went all the way to the awards stage, which was quite a trek, only to be informed that I had missed the 5K ceremony, and that the top three awards had been claimed. Except that, hello? I’m apparently #3, and I didn’t claim anything! You can’t both DQ someone and give them an award. It doesn’t work that way.
The very rude woman at the stage told me to go to the timing tent to figure it out. She said this timing tent was at the 5K finish line, which was another long trek. And when I finally got there, they told me that they didn’t have any results there, because those were sent to the awards stage.
Going around in circles. But I want that award, dammit! (I doubt it would have meant so much to me had this entire trip and everything surrounding it not been such an emotional maelstrom. But it was, and so it does matter.)
When I got back to the awards stage, the very rude woman morphed into a full-out bitch and yelled at me — my Hebrew is not so good that I got everything she was spewing, but the gist of it was that I was trying to claim something that wasn’t mine and I should just go away because per their list, awards for first, second, and third place had already been taken.
Being yelled at is not my favorite thing, so I got very upset. At which point some kindly soul nearby stepped in and played translator, not with Bitchy McBitcherson, but with whom I think was the race director. And guess what? According to his list, one of the original top three was disqualified. I’m still not sure exactly what happened — I think it was a man running on a woman’s bib. Which doesn’t really make sense for a variety of reasons, but I guess it doesn’t exactly matter. The point is, I did place third, and I did win an award, but it was no longer at the stage since someone else absconded with it. The race director said it wouldn’t be fair to take it back from that person (I don’t see why not, if they didn’t earn it), so supposedly they are going to mail me an award next week.
Except that now when I look at the results, I’ve been nudged all the way down to position #9, and six ridiculously fast times have been added… like, the first one is faster than the fastest male finishing time. And they all started more than twenty minutes after the race began. So I have no idea what’s going on anymore. Though looking at the pictures, at least one of the bib numbers ahead of me is worn by a male, so… I hope that once everything is sorted, I do end up in third again. Because it would make me really sad to have gone around in all these circles for no reason whatsoever. (Seriously — I finished the 5K with fewer than 10,000 steps on my vívofit . By the time I finally got back to my hotel, I had covered over 17,500. I basically did do a 10K.)
So… I essentially flew halfway across the world to “race” a 5K at HM PR pace. I’m never upset to visit Jerusalem — it’s a gastronomic playground for me. (Even if I don’t enjoy it mentally, I do still need to regain the weight I lost after the stress fracture in December, so there is no reason for me not to roam around and eat ice cream three times a day if I feel like it.) That said, I had been debating whether I even wanted to do this again next year, because the agony of uncertainty that comes with injury is just too much for me to handle. Except that I am pretty sure I will be back. For the half marathon, I hope.
And I can still walk. Without limping, even. This is very, very important. I might have even been able to do the 10K and been okay… but I suppose it’s always better to err on the side of caution when it comes to my unreliable bones.