Posted by: ElliptiGO Girl | March 21, 2009

Building Distance: The Carp 10K

New Years Resolution 2009:  I will run a 10K this year. Check!

Here it is, March 21, just 90 days into the year, and I just completed my New Years’ Resolution.  Awesome!  Thank you, Hal – my personal coach and best friend-spouse. Thank you, John B, Maggie, Karen, and Mariann – for giving me the support and encouragement I needed to attempt this. . . .

I realize I have a lot of fear, when it comes to working into pain. Back in the early 90’s when my lupus was out of control, once a “flare” got started, it seemed like nothing I did had any impact. I would rest, stay warm, take strong medications, do everything my doctors could come up with – without seeming to have any impact on the course of the disease.

It’s been several years since I’ve been actually disabled by lupus. I’ve had worse times and better times – but nothing that put me completely out of commission. However, I’m still very wary, fearful of doing something that might initiate one of those nightmarish flares. When anything characteristic of my disease starts to hurt, I always wonder “have I pushed it too far this time?”  I’m also superstitious. It’s like if I say “I can do this!”  I’m daring the disease to rear its ugly head. . .

Last month, I ran in the Peabody 5 mile race.  Was nervous beforehand about the distance – but, with encouragement from Hal before, and Maggie during, I ran it, enjoyed it, and put in a very respectable performance. I started flirting with the idea of entering the Orchard to Ocean 10K in Carp.

For two weeks, I wavered back and forth. I focussed on my left big toe – my weakest link.  Noticed every little change. Better today. Worse today.  I obsessed on determining what provoked the changes for the worse. Was it because I ran? Because of the weather? Because I was on my feet too much? Because I got too cold? Because I didn’t get enough sleep? Because I’m fighting an infection?

When the slight worsenings would resolve, I would breathe a sigh of relief. Beat it this time. . .Then it would worsen again, and I would go back to my obsessing. .

Two weeks went by – and I still hadn’t signed up for the 10k. Went to bed last night nursing a very sore toe. It even hurt when I was wearing  my most protective  shoes and slippers. I was annoyed because I had no clue as to why the toe was “acting up”.  But I set the alarm. Would decide whether or not to race in the AM.

The alarm went off. I gingerly stepped out of bed – slipped into my slippers – and determined that my toe was slightly better. Thought about how I would feel if I did the race – proud and happy – unless I seriously aggravated my toe. Thought about how I would feel if I decided instead to take the weekend off – frustrated, annoyed, depressed. I decided to “take the plunge”  (Sort of like finally immersing oneself into the cold ocean after standing around equivocating. .)

I woke up Hal. Ever supportive, he had told me before we went to bed last night that he wanted to come with me if I decided to do the race. (I knew it would mean postponing his planned 20-mile morning workout run by a couple of hours.)

Last minute sign up. Weather was damp – morning drizzle – but turnout seemed good.

Having run the race, here is my report: The Carpinteria Education Foundation did a fantastic job.  The race was very well organized.  The route was scenic, clearly marked. and with minimal traffic. Plenty of restrooms, and a really nice indoor venue (much appreciated in the wet weather) for registering and waiting. Huge numbers of friendly, helpful, competent volunteers. Lots of great refreshments. .

A new experience for me – racing a longer distance, and without any of my regular “race buddies” to help me set a reasonable pace. I used my HR monitor, practicing what I guessed was “tempo” running”, stayed on the off-road surfaces as much as possible – and managed to keep a nice steady pace through to the end, finishing strong.  Time for my first 10k*  45:54

*Guess that makes it a PR!

Hal and me after the race. I took first in my age group!

Hal and me after the race. I took first in my age group!

So I’m back home.  Hal is off on his 20-mile run.  My toe seems slightly annoyed with me – I’m trying to not obsess – but I am really happy and proud.


If my toe behaves itself.



  1. Great Job Fran! Congratulations!

  2. Fran,
    Great job!!! I know you and I know you can achieve ANYTHING!!!!!

  3. Thanks, both of you! You are both really amazing athletes!

  4. By the way, I age-graded the race. You came in 6th!

    If the toe permits, will you try Chardonnay this year?

  5. I’d love to do Chardonnay this year, but it’s too soon – I don’t want to “tempt fate”. I’ll keep building my distance – and go from there . .

    Sounds like the perfect New Year’s 2010 Resolution.

  6. Great job, Fran! Congratulations on going the distance. I was going to suggest Chardonnay, as well–but first things first. Then…the Half!

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