Rick’s Run 5K at Ridley Creek State Park

I’ve been trying to run a race at Ridley Creek State Park since February and I’m happy to report that I finally got my chance!  On Saturday morning I joined 458 other runners at my “local” state park for Rick’s Run, a 5K that helps fund research for Esophageal Cancer.  The weather was beautiful (58 and sunny), the race was well organized, and the runners, volunteers, and spectators helped to create an exciting, friendly atmosphere that I really enjoyed.

All fun aside, the 5K course was TOUGH.  To paraphrase the race organizer at the start line, “You’re all going to run down the hill [for 1 1/2 miles] until you see the water station, then you turn around and run back up!!”

Post-race selfie... I made it up the hill!

Post-race selfie… I made it up the hill!

I’ve run this downhill section of the RCSP loop many times (most recently during my un-Pickle Run), and I knew that coming back up it was going to slow me down significantly.  Therefore I decided to go out FAST to preemptively make up time down the hill, then just slog through the uphill on the way back.  This strategy started out great and I felt like I flew through the first half of the race.  (Runkeeper agrees… apparently I reached the halfway point in sub-23:00 pace!)

As I neared the turnaround I was inspired by the leaders that were already powering back up the hill so I starting clapping and cheering for them (especially for the 2nd place runner – a 14 year old girl!!).  I think this episode of well-intentioned sportsmanship led to my downfall, however, because as soon as I hit the halfway mark I got a terrible side-stitch that lasted for the next mile.  Blech!!!

Rick's Run Runkeeper Stats

In spite of the stabbing pain in my abdomen I pushed onward up the hill, albeit at a MUCH slower pace than the first half of the race.  I never broke down and walked (although at times I wanted to!) and with about .5 left to go the side-stitch pain mercifully started to subside.  With renewed energy I picked up my pace and was able to finish strong across the finish line.  My chip time was 25:56 which put me at 30th overall and 9th female overall out of 256 women!

The cramp was, quite literally, a thorn in my side and I know I could have run up the hill faster without it.  I don’t get side-stitches very often and I have been mentally dissecting my race prep trying to figure out where I went wrong.  Good hydration? Check.  Banana with a light breakfast 3 hours before the race? Done and done. Warm up?  Yup! (OK, just a tiny warm up, but it was more than I usually do…).  After much consideration I have concluded that the dreaded side-stitch must have been caused by my irregular breathing while cheering during the race.  I guess that’s the last time I’ll do that!!  🙂

Have you gotten a side-stitch during a race?  Did you figure out what caused it and/or how to prevent it from happening again??  (Please share your secret!!!!)

Miles since last post:  78
Days since last post:  16
Avg. Daily Miles since 7/18/13: 4.84
2014 TOTAL MILES: 534.3

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