Search

foodfoodbodybody

eat, move, think, feel

Tag

half marathon

Diary of an Injury

I’ve been dealing with a hurt hip ever since the Oakland Half Marathon over a month ago. I’ve been trying not to freak out about it, but it continues to persist off and on. I have to admit it has slowed me down both physically and emotionally. Trying to remain positive.

For the first week, it was hurting a LOT. So much so that it made me wince to walk even a short distance. I was traveling that week, and the combination of post-race, then a long plane flight, then a bunch of sitting made it really hurt. I didn’t find relief until I located a used softball for $1 at a sporting goods store.

Insert under hip, and ROLL. Ow! Yay!
Insert under hip, and ROLL. Ow! Yay!

After I got home, I finally decided that I needed to seek professional help. I went and found a physical therapist that I really liked.

I enjoyed the massive ice packs.
I enjoyed the massive ice packs.

However, alas, after three treatments I discovered that this particular place was not covered by my insurance plan and would not be reimbursed. Big sad. 😦

I decided to take a different route. I went back to my trainer, who also is very skilled at body work. I went in there limping about a week ago. He mashed on my hip and stretched me for over 90 minutes. After he was done, I was pain free. He’s so good at what he does.

IMG_1620

magic hands
magic hands

I’d be lying if I didn’t say it was kind of discouraging. But I’ve been trying to focus on other things. I started taking a MSBR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction) Class. Which has been amazing and wonderful. I think it has helped me cope with this injury more than anything else. It is a weekly class held at the Writers’ Grotto where I write. It’s been a real opportunity for reflection. Am I doing too much? Not enough? Am I getting lazy, or am I resting it appropriately? It is so hard to know. I’m just trying to be patient.

Last week I got this brochure in the mail and damn, I’m tempted to take it just so I can figure out what the heck is going on, and how to fix it. A friend of mine suggested that I look into trying to get some of those black rings inserted. Heh.

Physical therapist, heal thyself.
Physical therapist, heal thyself.

The See Jane Run half marathon is three weeks from today. I’m not quite sure what I’m going to do. Part of me is still so reluctant to downgrade to the 5k, but I kind of know that’s what I need to do. I haven’t run more than three miles at a time since the Oakland Half.

My meditation and mindfulness practice has taught me that this, too, shall pass (I hope).

Race Recap: Oakland Half Marathon

IMG_1038It’s been a long time since I last posted, and so much has happened I’ve been wanting to blog about. But alas, lack of time. The biggest thing to happen recently was the culminating event for my last season of Team in Training – the Oakland Half Marathon.

I love the Oakland Running Festival. So far I have “race” in three out of the four years since it started. The first year I did the Marathon Team Relay, the next year I did the 5k, I skipped a year last year and this year I did the half marathon. I love this event so much. It brings me so much Oakland pride. The bling this year was so beautiful and yeah, someday I might join MizFitOnline in getting this image tattooed on my self.

I was happy because I was running this one “with” (I put in quotes because I knew they would finish way ahead of me) my beloved training buddy Lily, as well as with Junior. We went to the race expo the day before to pick up our packets and check out the gear. Always an exciting and fun time.

She IS.
She IS.
Kinda annoyed bc the LARGE was too small... :-(
Kinda annoyed bc the LARGE was too small… 😦
Stopped by to say hi to Oakland Mayor Jean Quan!
Stopped by to say hi to Oakland Mayor Jean Quan!

I also went to my TNT Inspiration lunch, where we got pumped up and remembered why were doing this. I raised over $1500 total for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. After the lunch, I went home and decorated my shirt with the names of my personal honorees.

IMG_0997IMG_0996

So this was my fourth half marathon. (!!!!!) And my second one this year! After coming in with a 3.04 finish time at the Tinkerbell Half, I set in my mind that I wanted to try to finish sub-three hours for this one.  I decided that I was going to try and keep up a good pace throughout and not stop at all (or much).

The half marathon had the latest start I’d ever had at a race – 9:15am. But we got there a lot earlier and were able to see both the start AND the finish of the 5k, and that was super fun. I got to cheer in my couch-t0-5k running buddy Mary, as well as Sofia and her brother James.

IMG_1008

We got to hang around and soak up the general excitement near the start/finish line, and that was cool. I just love the happy, excited energy and races.

ready to go!
ready to go!

We got all lined up and took off. I didn’t really see much of Lily & Junior during the race because, as I said, they are both a lot faster than me. But it was okay. I was pretty happy just running through my city.

Miles 1-8 were, as I had expected, pretty steady and not too hard. But by the time we got to 8-9 (my usual Achilles heel) I was starting to flag a bit, and wondering if I might get some much needed support. Here I got caught by the official race photographers, digging out my phone to text my friend Lisa Marie. I knew she lived nearby and I was hoping to get a glimpse of her for some much needed energy.

calling for help
calling for help


The next stretch was along the Mandela Parkway. It’s a long, potentially lonely stretch and luckily there was some good stuff to pick me up along the way. First, I was out of my mind happy to see Lisa Marie! She was standing on a corner and gave me a quick hug and an encouraging cheer. I SOOOO needed that!

Next, some cool stuff. A fire-shooting Trojan horse thing. It was blasting flames about 20 feet into the sky. I was pretty impressed by that, and had to stop a second to take a picture.

IMG_1016

 

IMG_1017Then, some cool spectators on this super nifty bicycle umbrella thingie. I don’t know what the heck it was, but what a great vantage point, huh?

THEN a wonderful neighbor lady with a bucket full of orange wedges. OH that made my day! I was very grateful.

IMG_1019Around mile 10 I was passed by my awesome racewalking coach Carolyn. “Is that Susan Ito?” she said, as she sped on by. Dude. I was “running.” She was “walking.” I tried to keep up with her. I tried to catch her. I just could not. DAMN. She’s good.

She was so fast I couldn’t even snap a picture of her swiveling little butt.

Finally we came up upon the lake, which I have run so many times. I thought about how I had had such a tough time on this stretch during the 2010 marathon relay. Lo and behold, I started feeling the same darn tingling in my hands, the same almost-nausea, the utter fatigue. The wall was starting to come up in my face. I had been pretty much running with the same group of people in this last part, and we started giving each other verbal encouragement. We were all going at the same pace and pretty much all gritting it out.

It was hard. Damn it was hard. But I had my eye on my watch and I really wanted to get there under my three hours. I just kept going.

I knew the final tenth of a mile was going to be up a little but not insigificant hill. WHYYYYYY? How cruel is that. You run 26 or 13 miles and then at the end, you have to chug up a hill to get to the finish.

Luckily for me, Junior was sitting on that hill (having finished about an hour ago!). She jumped up when she saw me and ran next to me. You got this mama! I started getting all crumbly and emotional. I am pretty sure I was crying. She held my hand. She might have even pulled me up the hill. When we got to the very final flat spot before the finish, I broke off and SPRINTED in. I was feeling so… RAWR. See?

finish lineThen it was over. I had a tiny little episode of almost-asthma. I was all wheezy for a minute. Then I got myself together and got my medal and found my peoples and found a bathroom (um, with NO TP. BOOOOO. So I had to run outside and find a copy of the Wall Street Journal, which I used instead. Haha) and then collapsed on the ground with our beautiful medals.

IMG_1021Then I found my buddy Estelle who had just completed her leg of the relay. How cool to see her there!

IMG_1027Then I saw my coach Al from Team in Training (“I knew you could do it!” he said) and I got some chocolate milk and my 13.1 Finishers’ Pin from the team manager at the TNT table.

IMG_1032 IMG_1033By then I was in a pretty jovial mood. I figured out that I had beat my PR by a whole bunch. My last PR was 3:04, and I finished this one in 2:49. Fifteen minutes! Woo hoooooo! Time to celebrate!

IMG_1036We gathered up our friends and family and headed over to Barney’s Burgers. I haven’t had a milkshake, in like, YEARS, but I was ready and felt very deserving. Lily and I split a Turkish coffee shake and enjoyed every last drop.

IMG_1042Junior, Josh (our housemate from last year who was back for a visit) and Juniorette enjoyed their Oreo coffee shake as well.

IMG_1044It was happy times. I was really happy to be doing this event surrounded by so many people I loved, in the city I love. I felt really happy with my time. I know that my struggle at the end had everything to do with how hard I pushed it.

After lunch, we headed back home. I took a much needed shower and spent the rest of the afternoon in bed with a gel pack on my butt/hip. Naptime.

IMG_1058I felt really proud of this one. Even though it was hard, I struggled a lot less than I did for the relay, half that distance, three years ago. I am definitely getting better.

My next half marathon is in June – the See Jane Run race which I will be doing with my friend Shannon. My goal for that one is to not break any speed records but instead to support her, to have FUN and to feel happy crossing that finish line. It doesn’t always have to be about pace. I am happy that I proved to myself I could break that three-hour mark. But next time, I’m in it for fun.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Race Recap: 2013 Tinker Bell Half Marathon

IMG_0308I know that I’m wayyy behind on my blogging. I still want to post about my New Year’s Day 10k race, and my 4th Healthaversary. But while things are still fresh in my head I want to do my race recap for my 3rd half marathon and 2nd Tinker Bell race.

This race was really a do-over for Junior and me. Last year, she and I and Juniorette came down to Disneyland for the Inaugural Tinkerbell race, but she got really sick and in the end, only Juniorette and I got to run the race. So I promised her we’d come back and do it together this year.

The nice thing about doing the same race multiple times, is that you learn things the first time that either work or don’t. We learned that we most definitely wanted to repeat staying at the hotel which is basically a few hundred feet away from the Start AND the Finish lines. That works. Yay!

We got to town in plenty of time to go to the Expo. That was a great thing, because last year I got in late and didn’t get to go. I kind of love race expos.

I got to meet the awesome Jeff Galloway and buy his book. He’s so encouraging and inspiring. I figured I’d better read it, since I’m already more than halfway to 100 years old. 😉

IMG_0230

IMG_0225We looked around at tons of sparkly skirts and wings and stuff, but nothing really grabbed us as THE perfect outfit for Tinkerbell. So in the end we decided we liked the official race shirt enough to make that our race outfit. After the Expo we went to downtown Disney to find something for dinner. I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to eat. The classic “carb loading” pasta dinner didn’t feel really like what I wanted. So we ended up with tilapia, Brussells sprouts (with bacon!) and a soft egg.  It was insanely yummy but not too filling.

IMG_0250

Then we found a few carbs for dessert 🙂

IMG_0254

We set our alarms for 3:30am. (o boy!) Amazingly, we were able to fall asleep pretty quickly – before 10:00pm anyway -and the wakeup call came early enough. It was not really all that painful to wake up and get dressed. We were pretty excited.

IMG_0266

I had brought a ton of warm clothes to wear to the start line, but in the end we just decided to go with our race shirts. We went downstairs and right in front of the hotel, there was the start line. PERFECT LOCATION.

IMG_0267

I gave Junior a hug and she took off for Corral B (the fast people) and I headed back to E. (the END!) It wasn’t quite as cold as I remembered last year being, or nearly as cold as the New Year’s day 10k.

Back in the End, we could see the fireworks going off. That was exciting. But then we waited. And waited. We could sense the D, C and B groups taking off. FINALLY it was our turn – probably after 5:30am. We’d been out there for almost an hour.

First, we wound through Disney California and Disneyland Parks. It was pretty cool. The “Mickey Wheel” and the water-light show was all lit up and beautiful.

IMG_0270One of the things I loved about going through the parks was seeing all the Disney employees out there cheering us on. They were awesome, and so encouraging and enthusiastic. Big Mickey hands everywhere!

IMG_0323I’d say that the first five miles went pretty well. I didn’t feel super springy and awesome, but I didn’t feel bad either. It just felt pretty easy and relaxed. It was exciting to be going through Disneyland and seeing all the sights. I didn’t stand in any lines to get photos with any of the characters. I got pretty excited when I saw Mary Poppins though.

IMG_0318IMG_0275IMG_0277

Running through Sleeping Beauty’s Castle as the sun was coming up, and past the holiday lights of It’s a Small World were pretty great.

So. Around Mile 7, the front of my left ankle (tibialis anterior tendon, which has plagued me in the past) started hurting. And my stomach was feeling kind of bad. In fact, I was hungry. SUPER hungry. I had had some oatmeal at 4:30am, but that felt like an eon ago. I suddenly got it in my head, I have almost halfway to go. In other words, I have to do what I JUST DID. It seemed kind of impossible. I was feeling a little down. I pulled out my Mickey Mouse pretzels (saltzed pretzels is one of my “must haves” during a race, and I forgot to bring my own from home this time).

IMG_0263

I ate some of them, but I think they had been in the hotel gift shop for a long time. They weren’t stellar. I was still hungry. Or something. I remembered that my buddies Ayala and Becky, from my TNT Triathlon Team, were running too. I wondered if they were anywhere near me. I pulled out my phone and texted Ayala. Where are u? I am between mile 7-8.

I really needed something at that moment. I was feeling pretty bleak. Not HOPELESS, but not awesome. I think my actual physical discomfort was in the 3-out-of-10 range, but my mental distress was about at an 8. I was freaking out a little bit inside. I was worried, what if it gets worse? How am I going to deal with 5-6 more miles of THIS? I was starting to unravel a little.

After the mile 8 marker, it was Gu time! Volunteers were handing out packets of Vanilla and Mocha. I really needed that blast of energy. I felt a little bit better.  Around mile 9, I felt a tap on my shoulder. It was Ayala! and Becky! I almost cried from joy. Ayala had been my buddy at the Wildflower Triathlon and she is truly one of the sweetest, most encouraging people I know. She kept me going during so many of the tough trainings last year.

We ran together for a while and by the time I was ready to take off again, I was feeling like a new person. I perked up and started paying more attention to the people around me. I saw this guy up ahead running in a suit. I wondered, is that for real? Why a suit? What kind of costume is that?? And then I caught up with him and… it was Walt Disney! Hahaha. Great.

"Cryogenics does wonders!" he said.
“Cryogenics does wonders!” he said.

A little bit further up, I saw a lovely trio. Peter Pan and Tinker Bell were taking turns pushing Captain Hook in a wheelchair. They all looked super chipper and glad to be together. I loved them. Captain Hook grinned and said, “Arr!” when I took their picture.

IMG_0319I had told Ayala and Becky that I wanted to take a picture together with them at the 10 mile mark, but when I got there suddenly I was feeling perkier than I had the whole race. I felt like I just couldn’t stop. I also knew that if I stopped or slowed down I might not be able to start up again.

Around this time I got a couple of worried text messages from Mr. McBody and Junior. He had been tracking my progress online. Apparently my 5k time was realllllly slow, and then for some reason my 10k marker didn’t show up. So like 2 hours had gone by and they’d heard nothing from me. (I heard all about this yesterday) I hadn’t heard their texting coming through my earbuds because I had decided to go the no-music route. (partly because the course was so entertaining I didn’t need it, and partly because I wanted to save my phone battery)

I sent them this picture as reassurance.

IMG_0282I remember a lot of the mile 10-13.1 from my other (two!) half marathons. During my first, the Las Vegas Half, I was pretty much dying at mile 11. I mean dying. I was in AWFUL pain and not sure I would make it. And at last year’s Tinkerbell, the last couple miles were the hardest.

This is the first half marathon where the last couple of miles felt the strongest and best. After I passed the ten mile mark, I knew I could do it. I relaxed. I stopped freaking out.

IMG_0284

After mile 12, I was definitely on a mission. I wanted to get as close to the 3 hour mark as I could. My last year’s time had been 3:16 and I just wanted to shave as much time off of that as possible. Normally, my run pace for long races (and even for short races) is what most people would call ambling along.

IMG_0233

But when I knew I just had a mile and a handful to go, I suddenly got determine. I started RUNNING.

game face!
game face!

Pretty soon the finish line was in sight (although – not happy! they moved it about 200 yards further from last year. Psych!). I saw Junior standing by the fence waving. And then I was through and I had my medal.

IMG_0286

I found Junior. She had finished over an hour ahead of me (2 hours 45 seconds, my little rockstar!) and had had a great race.

IMG_0288

Pretty soon I found Ayala and Becky. I was so happy to see them! They had really contributed to my big turning point near mile 9.

IMG_0309Junior and I decided to wait in the long line for the free massage tent. It turned out to be utterly and completely worth it!

IMG_0299

We were pretty pumped full of endorphins at that point, feeling good, and hungry.

IMG_0305

Junior was craving fajitas so we went to a Mexican restaurant in downtown Disney and enjoyed mass quantities of guacamole.

IMG_0313THEN it was time for a nice long nap.

IMG_0315We had bought all-day Park Hopper tickets, but in all honesty, there was no way we felt like hopping any parks. Happily, I was able to sell the tickets to a friend who is returning for the Disney Marathon in September. Whew.

So we went to the pool and soaked in the hot tub and lay in the SUN (wow! how awesome!).

IMG_0322All in all, it was a sweeeet race and a sweet weekend. I loved spending it with my girl. We had a great time and I was overall really pleased with how it went. Now I’m feeling pretty excited for the Oakland Half Marathon coming up in March, and…. looks like I will be doing the See Jane Run half with my dear Shannon in June!

Day 8 #NHBPM: A Letter to My Health

Dear Health,

I wonder how you think I’ve been treating you lately. I admit it isn’t the same intense, hot love that we had back in 2009 when all I thought about was you, all I dreamed about was you. I know, I was kind of borderline obsessed with you, but that was only because I’d neglected you for like, decades, and you gave me that big scare that made me think you were leaving me forever.

I admit that the last year has been kind of bumpy. I know that I sort of was giving lip service to the fact that I cared about you, but that sometimes my actions spoke otherwise. That was not so great of me.

I really want you to stick around. For a long, long time. I think I’ve been trying to figure out all the different things that I need in order to keep you around. I used to think that you would only love me if I exercised all the time and was really strict about what I ate. But then I realize that you are more attached to me than I ever realized and that if I didn’t take care of all of the parts of me, then you would suffer too.

I’m realizing so many more things about our relationship lately – that you need to sleep and rest. That you actually LIKE it if I take time to write. I used to think you were jealous of my writing and that I couldn’t spend time with my writing and have you too. I didn’t really get that you guys are like BFFs. Wow.

I used to think that you only liked doing a few things and I think maybe our relationship got into a little rut and I started feeling bored. I didn’t realize that you liked doing so many of the same things that I do.

Did you know that I’ve been writing about you for 8 days in a row? (how’s that for attention? are you feeling it??) And I’m going to be doing it for the WHOLE month of November. I know! You must be in shock.

Guess what? Some of my favorite people are also writing about their health, too. Isn’t that cool?

Anyway, I just wanted to acknowledge that I was not the best friend I could’ve been. I was trying, but you know how you can be trying and still be sort of “off.” My intentions were good but hey, this is a really long term relationship and sometimes we just make mistakes. I think I can say that I learned from them.

Let me ask you. What did you think of that triathlon training last year? I know it was pretty badass. YOU were a badass and you did things I really never believed were possible. But I also think I was beating up on you a bit too. I don’t know. Maybe it was my mind beating up on both of us. I still have to mull that one over.

This next year, let’s do some more running. Like a couple of half marathons. You want to go to Disneyland again? Let’s dress up for the Tinker Bell Half. I promise it won’t be anything dumb, just something fun and comfortable. Definitely a tutu and maybe some wings? Or just sparkles.

Then I’m going to take you on a half marathon tour of OUR TOWN – yeah, the Oakland Half Marathon! We’re going to see so many of our friends. I’m super excited about this one.

I’m reallly excited to train, with like a REAL running coach, and a team, this time. I know how dumb it was to try to drag you out for half marathons in the past (remember Las Vegas? Yeah I don’t want to either) when I didn’t really know what the heck I was doing. But you should be pleased to know I’ve joined Team in Training again and we’re going to do it RIGHT! With lots of cowbell and support. And of course you know this means you’ll be wearing a lot of purple in the months to come. Heh.

Well, body, we’ve been through a lot. I want to let you know I appreciate you. I’m going to be taking better care of you. I know you’re feeling kind of tight and that you’ve got some aches and pains. I’m going to get that taken care of. Maybe some PT. Maybe some Pilates. I’m not going to ignore you when you’re crying. I love you!

That’s it for now. I like writing to you. Now the question is  – are you going to write me back?

Love,

Susan

 

Events WishList for 2011

Calendar

Okay, so I must be feeling better. I’m making up my wish list of active events for the coming year. And: I would LOVE COMPANY at any of these!!!!!! Tell me if you want to join in! Remember, the “company” is for before/after shmoozing. I go at my own pace which may be much slower or faster (<<ha ha unlikely!) than another person. But I love sharing events with people and especially reading race or event recaps where I shared the same experience.

  • January 29: Dam Run 5k (I downgraded from a 10k just because of my shaky health and that I still have not run a mile this year!!) — COMPLETED! YAY!

  • January 30: My Healthaversary! TWO YEARS of health and fitness, yahoo! A ritual hike to the labyrinth at Sibley Volcanic Park, followed by awesome lunch at my house. Email me if you want to attend.
  • March 27: Fight For Air Stair Climb – sign up for our team!! East Bay Fit Club! I am about to post about the amazing fundraiser I’m doing to raise some $$ for the American Lung Assocation.
  • March 28: Oakland Running Festival – not sure yet if I’m going to do a Team Relay or go for the Half-Marathon. It all depends on how my running goes in Jan/Feb.
  • May 15: Bay to Breakers! My first! Yahooo!
  • May 20: Fitbloggin! Including the Fitbloggin’ 5k! Yay!
  • September 4: Disneyland Half Marathon
  • December 4: Rock ‘n Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon!

I Finished a Half Marathon!

(DISCLAIMER: This is the longest blog post I have EVER WRITTEN. It is an epic of a race recap. Feel free to scroll or skip)

This has been an amazing experience. An amazing, amazing, wonderful, incredible, challenging, painful and beautiful experience. I am never going to forget it. But just in case, I’m going to put down every single detail here. I hope you like lots of obsessive detail as well as a lot of pictures, because that’s what you’re going to get! See slideshow (scroll to end) for a trip through Foodie’s race weekend. Be aware that the slide show seems to have randomized my pictures so they are NOT in chronological order but hopefully you will recognize the images from the recap.

Where do I begin? I guess I begin on Friday night when I arrived here alone. I was all chompy at the bit so I went over the race Expo. WOW what a scene. It was very exciting. I checked-in and got my race number. The Brooks people had this giant area with prizes and a carnival atmosphere and stuff. They had a giant painted bus and a place where you could run on a treadmill and they took video of your feet running in slow-mo. That was pretty cool. I also won a bumper sticker and a hat.

I was a little sad but also a little relieved to be all alone in our giant 3-bedroom suite (which I had booked in July, thinking it was going to be Party Central, but alas, many people had to cancel). I was exhausted and I crashed very early Friday night.

I visited the Expo three times because frankly, I was kind of obsessed with my feet and ankles and determined to find whatever support I could to assure that I was going to finish this race in the best shape possible. I was worried. I’d had a good ten-mile run a week ago, but since then I was plagued by right ankle and heel pain. I was kind of freaked out.

So at the Expo I had my feet and ankles taped at the KTT booth, I bought an ankle wrap support doohickie, bought a pair of compression socks from Zensah and if they had had a shamanic healer booth, I would have gone there too. I also bought a pair of those rocker-bottom sneakers because they were 50% off (I am such a sucker for deals!). I don’t believe any of the hoo-hah that claims they make you lose weight or get buns of steel, but I think it’s probably worthwhile to change up your gait and posture. My cousin-in-law was wearing them for Thanksgiving and he swore by them and said they are great. So I got a pair. I also got a foam roller kit with a killer little roller, a foam block and a hard foam ball.

I met up with Brandon (aka @AHealthyDad) and @fitmacdaddy at the Expo and we took a fun photo at the faux finish line.  It was great to meet some other healthy Tweeters!

Julianne (aka @pubsgal) and Junior arrived on Saturday afternoon and we went through the Expo one more time. We especially had a hoot going through all the Tshirts at One More Mile (I didn’t buy any).  I did get some new sporty don’t-fall-out earbuds (more on those later).

After shopping-till-dropping, we went back to the hotel and got ready for dinner and our show night. Ended up at a fancy-shmancy place called Yellowtail where they served, of all things, crab sushi with POP ROCKS (yes, the CANDY) in it. It was like a weird episode of Top Chef. Did it “work?” Um, not really. But now we can say we’ve eaten sushi with candy in it. For the first and last time. See photo of @pubsgal’s facial response.

After dinner we went to see Cirque du Soleil’s “O” show. It was breathtaking and awesome and beautiful and dazzling and melancholy and just a wonderful experience. That afternoon, Dr. Mo had counseled me (among other things) to see something “physically inspiring” (she mentioned YouTube videos) and this certainly fit the bill.

We went home and I set up my pre-race pile o’stuff, put my race chip on my shoe, fastened my number to my waist belt, packed my little pack with money, Gu Chomps, etc.

I set my alarm for 5:00am but ended up waking at 3:45. I think this is pretty common. I debated going back to sleep for another hour but I was so wired I didn’t think it was going to happen. So I got up, stretched, had coffee and bagel with peanut butter.

Since the Strip was closed for the marathon, it was a bit of a nervewracking debacle getting down to the start line. (especially since I noted on Twitter that various people were heading over there starting at 4am when I woke up!!) Our plan was to leave our hotel at 6 to arrive there (4 miles away) well before 7:00am. But the hotel staff seemed rather perplexed by the whole thing and said they were having a hell of a time getting taxis to come around “the back way.” There were lots of people waiting around and no taxis. They recommended taking the Monorail, but that meant walking a few blocks from our hotel and then walking another MILE AND A HALF to the start line. I was not really interested in adding another 1.5-2 miles to our race distance, so we were holding out pretty much for a taxi.

We walked to a hotel across the street since one of our taxi drivers the night before had told us they would have taxis at their back entrance. We trudged through the casino and there were NO taxis to be seen. Anxiety increased. I kept bugging the valet guy who insisted he was putting out multiple calls and after what seemed like FOREVER, a taxi showed up. It was one of the jankiest taxis I have ever ridden in, but we did not care. It got us there.

Arrived to find thousands of people streaming toward the starting corrals. They had a “wave” start with people lined up in corrals based on estimated pace time. I was in one of the last ones. But what I did not realize is that the “gear bag check” area was not anywhere near the corrals, and I was in a bit of a panic that I was going to miss the start. By this time it was about 6:55. I needn’t have worried.

Finally found the gear check area, which was actually awesomely organized. I had packed a giant plastic bag (supplied by the race people) with warm dry clothes, an extra jacket, socks, etc. Then I rushed (I mean RAN) over to my corral. And then proceeded to stand there for like half an hour. I could tell by Tweets that Sue O (aka @mrsfatass) was in my same corral and I really wanted to meet her! But she was packed into the center of the corral like a sardine, and I was kind of claustrophic so I stayed outside the corral “fence” until the herd began moving forward.

FINALLY we started moving toward the start line which was way, way, way off. The anticipation was both killing and exciting. We kept seeing clumps of people hear the “GO!” signal ahead of us, and then we would trudge ahead a few more feet. This was a big adrenaline moment.

Then it was our turn. I was only about 3 people away from the actual start rope and the feeling at that spot was amazing. Then the 3…2…1… GO! And we were off.

I had a hard time “finding my feet” at first, trying to figure out what pace to go. I knew I wanted to walk but I was so tempted to run and I did run a very short distance before realizing that was a bad idea. I also used the first mile to figure out my electronic situation. I had an iPod shuffle which I had meticulously loaded with great music the night before. My plan was to use the Shuffle for my music, and to save my iPhone for occasional tweeting and to text Junior and possibly Mr. McBody during the race, but we had signed up for this service that gave pace and distance updates via texting during the race, so I figured he’d be updated.

Well. First problem I discovered that the NEW EARBUDS I had purchased at the Expo did NOT WORK with my Shuffle! It did not have the little volume and song-choice control button thing on it. It had a microphone, and I could swear the sales person told me or maybe I assumed, but I had NO control over the volume (it was so low I could barely hear it) and worse, I had no choice over what song I was listening to. It was NOT set to my Running playlist. AGHHH.

Music is one of the lifesavers of my running experience. It is super, super important to me and can make or break a race for me. So I immediately felt panicky about losing my best music. I had a choice: I could randomly listen to whatever the Shuffle turned up, or I could put the earbuds into my iPhone and access my playlist. But this would also suck up the battery life and then I might not be able to use the phone for actual communication.

For the first part of the race I just went with the Shuffle. I was amused that certain songs that I’d never consider “running songs” actually worked. Including “By My Side” from the Godspell soundtrack (ßnostalgia for high school era musicals).

Where are you going? Where are you going? Can you take me with you? I’ve got a pebble in my shoe. And watch me walk. I can walk, I can walllllllllllkkkkkkk…. (swelling chorus)

That kept me going for a while.

As we went down the strip I realized I had not seen any mile 1 marker. I don’t know if they didn’t have one, or I missed it because I was messing with my music. But I was really unhappy during the first 2 miles. My left arch was aching, I just wasn’t feeling GOOD, and I thought, holy mackerel, if this is the first mile, I am dead.

We passed the Mile 2 marker after what seemed like an eternity, and then I perked up because I realized I’d just finished 2/3 of a 5k. At that point I had still been seeking out the Mile ONE marker and I was beginning to freak out. But when I realized I’d gotten to Mile 2, I felt immediately better. I knew that in 1.1 mile I’d be at the first 5k.

I texted Mr. McBody to see if he was getting updates on Junior, who I knew was way ahead of me. He said he’d gotten nothing. Hmm. As it turned out the whole “auto-update” thing had technical problems and issued an apology and refund promise at the end of the day.

Texting him made me realize how much I needed that support. I began sending some updates to Twitter and it made me feel sooooo good to receive encouraging “Go Foodie!” tweets in response. It was HUGE.

Okay, so a little about the course. Basically it was my understanding (I did not study the map in huge detail and I thought I understood it) that we would run up the Strip past this giant landmark called the Stratosphere, then go a little ways past it, then turn around and come back down the Strip. So for the first part I was just focused on getting past the Stratosphere. I sort of thought of it as my halfway-ish point.

This is where the mental part of running comes in. What happened is that we passed the Stratosphere. Yay! Then a few blocks ahead I saw a bunch of runners going perpendicular on a cross street, and I thought, oh, just a couple blocks, then we’re going to turn left and come back down! WRONG. What happened is that we passed the Stratosphere and then went through this freaking long MAZE of streets, I mean it felt that Harry Potter maze of death. Within this maze we passed the 6 and 7 mile markers, the 10K etc. But it seemed to take FOREVER to get to that place of turning around and heading back down the strip.

In reality it was like this: 1/3 up the strip, 1/3 wandering around a horrible maze of downtown Las Vegas, including decrepit awful depressing liquor stores, strip bars, tacky Wedding Chapels (not the cute tacky kind, the truly bleak kind) $25-a-room crack dealer hotels, and just AGHHH, and then 1/3 down the strip. This was kind of horrific. Race planners, I think I would have preferred that 1/3 wandering around in a desert or a subdivision or the AIRPORT then that particular plot of geography. But whatever.

We emerged from the Maze and once again faced South. My first impression was, there’s the Stratosphere again. And OMG it is SO FAR AWAY. At this point I was completely disgusted with the volume and choice of musical offerings on my Shuffle so I switched to my iPhone.  This again perked me up immediately and I am sure I really sped up here. I was about at mile 9 and feeling pretty good. I passed the 15k and then Mr. McBody texted me that Junior had just finished, at 2 hours 24 minutes. I was so excited for her and feeling good.

I passed ten miles. At that point I knew I was getting into territory I’d never been before: running more than 10 miles. I told myself I had just one more 5k to go, one more lap around my beloved Lake Merritt.

It started getting really hard. My left arch, which had been aching virtually since mile 1, started feeling actual intense PAIN. I did not know what to do. My right ankle, which has plagued me since the dawn of time, was miraculously feeling good. The rest of me felt pretty good – no hip or knee pain. But my left foot! (hey, wasn’t that a movie? ;-)) was suddenly KILLING. I tweeted plaintively, “11 miles oh Jesus.” I wasn’t quite sure what I meant by that, but it was an SOS of sorts. It was like… I am not sure I can do this. It was my Faltering Point.

At that moment I can say, thank God for Twitter because the encouraging messages started popping up on my phone. I cranked up the best music I could find, watching my battery level sink lower and lower. I had to pull out all the guns. Then it occurred to me that maybe I had given my left foot TOO MUCH support (is there such a thing?) by wrapping it in that ankle wrap. I had done that prophylactically, to keep from injuring it, but something was killing my arch. So I pulled over to the side and undid the Velcro straps. I contemplated taking it off completely but I did not want to stop for too long because I knew it would make me start feeling weak and sick. So I just undid them and let the flop about. I think it may have helped me a little bit. It helped me psychologically.

Miles 11-13 were hard. They were damn freaking hard. I’d say the first two miles and the last two miles of this race were the worst ones for me emotionally. I stopped tweeting and texting and just put on my determined face and powered through the best I could. Junior came up to meet me about ½ mile out and gave me an encouraging rub on the shoulder and a “Go mama!” I kept going.

Damn that last tenth of a mile! When I saw the 13 mile sign I was SO READY to be done. But we had a final tenth to go and it was, I swear, mildly UPHILL – the only hill in the entire race. I was so not in the mood for a hill of even one degree grade at that point. The end of the race was kind of confusing because there was a half-marathon finish line, a marathon finish line and a big puffy arch thing. I wasn’t sure which point was the actual stopping point. I kept running even through the finish line because the puffy arch was still a ways a way and then I asked the people, “Am I done?”

When they said, “Yup, all finished!” I just burst into tears. I cried and cried. It was so emotional. It was a big moment. Then I went to get my gear and find Junior and Julianna and listen to a few minutes of Bret Michaels (his music is Not My Thing but I like him bc he’s now a diabetes advocate). One of the COOLEST thing they had at the Post-Race Village was this tent with big cushy benches and giant TUBS OF ICE where you could go soak your throbbing feet. I took huge advantage of this. They provided big thick plastic knee-high bags to put over your socks and when I put my feet in that tub… Ahhhhhh. Nothing had ever felt so good. It was just… ahhhhhhh.

Getting back to the hotel after the race proved to be… challenging. The taxi line at Mandalay Bay was INSANE so we decided to take the Monorail. Let me just say that this was not easy and it added a good 2-3 miles of walking to our race. Not a happy thing. We were hurting and tired and at this point I started feeling all the familiar gastrointestinal symptoms of running a long race. (I will not give TMI, but let me say I was not feeling very good)

It took us over an hour and a half to traverse the 4 miles to our hotel. (which we had already passed twice during the race) Got there, showered and then Junior and I went down to the hotel spa for our post-race massage that I’d scheduled earlier. I was so zonked at this point that I just said, “My feet hurt. Please rub them,” and then I passed out on the table. I think it felt good. But when I stood up my feet STILL hurt, so she did not manage to perform any miracles.

Then we went to the room to nap for a bit then headed over to Serendipity3 at Caesar’s Palace. I am a lifelong fan of Serendipity3 in New York City and I never pass up a chance to get a Frozen Hot Chocolate. We enjoyed an amazingly delicious dinner of Kobe Beef Sliders (adorable and delicious), sweet potato fries, Summer Bries (turkey apple and brie sandwich) crab cake salad (@pubsgal) and a foot-long hotdog (Junior). It was a perfect post-race meal. Then we sent Junior off to the airport and Julianna and I came back to the hotel. And CRASHED HARD.

I was so happy to wake up this morning with only very minor aches and pains (I’ve had worse pain after sessions with my trainer) and an extreeeeeeeeemely swollen face. My lips were gigantic. That’s from all the hydrating! But after some coffee and resuming my blood pressure meds and a lot of water and trips to the bathroom, I am balancing out. I got on the airplane and came home. The end!

  • I learned a lot during this race. I think even though it had its Very Difficult Moments, it was one of my favorite races of all time. I learned:
  • I can pretty much run a half marathon. I think I walked a total of 2 (maximum) out of the 13.1 miles. Just knowing that is just an amazing feeling and it gets me all choked up just thinking about it. For most of the time leading up to this race I did not intend to run ANY of it, but something caught ahold of me just in the last month and I ended up shocking myself.
  • I’m getting the hang of this hydration thing. Drinking sports drinks instead of (or in addition to) water has made a HUGE HUGE difference in how I feel. Ditto on the nutrition. I had about 2/3 bag of Gu Chomps plus about ½ pack of regular Gu during the race and I think that was about right. This was the FIRST LONG RACE I’ve done in which I did not experience frightening numb/tingling hands, shortness of breath, dizziness or otherwise feeling like total death. So GO ME for figuring this out.
  • My final time was 3:09 so now I have a new goal of sub-three hours. Which is pretty modest but also I think quite attainable. And yes I am thinking of the Next One!! I do not think I want to go to full marathon level, but we shall see. I want to get better at doing halves.
  • My final race pace average was 14:26 minute mile, or 4.16mph. When I saw those stats I got very teary because my goal was 15 minute mile and I really did better than that. This is shocking to me because it means even though I walked a bit at probably 18-min pace, it means when I was running I was running quite a bit faster than 14:26 at some points. That’s like… wow.
  • I need to NOT TRY NEW STUFF on race day. Like wearing an ankle support thing just for the heck of it. Or trying new electronics. Those things both hindered me big time. On the other time, my new compression socks worked out just fine and I think the KTT taping was also a good thing.

It felt good. It felt soo gooooooood. To do something I really really did not think was possible. It’s such a mental thing! I cried (yeah I’m doing a lot of crying!) when I saw what Mr. McBody posted on my Facebook page (something he RARELY DOES):

  1. Overcoming adversity and numerous obstacles. 2. Overturning lifelong limiting beliefs. This required great bravery and internal fortitude. It’s a beautiful thing. Susan is my hero.

Overturning lifelong limiting beliefs! And boy, does he know this. He remembers when he’d try to coax me on a one-mile run and I couldn’t/wouldn’t do it. He remembers when I’d go YEARS without exercise and was 40 lbs overweight.

I think he pretty much summed up why I feel so damn good about this weekend. How’s THAT for a Moby Dick of a race recap??

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Re-Adjusting Goals

I’ve pretty much decided that in next week’s 5k/Half Marathon event, I’m going to do the 5k instead of the half-M. A few days ago I was really struggling with this decision. It felt like a downgrade, a defeat, yeah… a failure. But now I’m feeling like it is just the healthy and realistic thing to do. So what, I was able to do 9 miles last week. This week I had a real decrease in my training, due to a spontaneous visit to the Frozen Tundra to visit my girl who was in need of some mama-time.

Also, I had originally signed up for the event to celebrate the birthday of a friend. SHE has decided to do the 5k. I feel like, what’s the point of doing it WITH her if I’m not going to be WITH her at all. I’d rather be with her for a 5k than separated by hours if I do the half.

ALSO, I missed one session of my solo performance class yesterday, due to aforementioned traveling, and if I do the half marathon, it means I’d have to meet next week’s class too. That’s too much.

Do I sound defensive? Or like I’m making excuses?

A few days ago, I did not feel so great about this decision. I feel like it’s fine to adjust one’s goals UPward (ie to do MORE than you planned) but there is something discouraging about adjusting them “downward.” But that’s nonsense. I feel so relieved and glad and feel like this is the right thing to do.

Sure, it would have been a happy moment to say “I finished a half-marathon!” but I can do that another time. If I want to. And I may or not get the urge to do this at some other point.

For me, it was more important to be with my daughter this weekend. It’s going to be more important to hang with my friend, and go to my class, next weekend. I’m glad I’ve come to peace with this and that I’m not beating myself up over it.

Now I feel like I can really focus on my training for the Team Penguin relay for the Oakland Marathon on the 28th. Right now, I feel like I’d like to be able to run my whole leg of the relay (7.5 miles, or 10K). Last week, my 10K training day felt pretty icky. My feet ankle hurt and I was pretty discouraged. However, today I ran (not so far, about 1.2 miles) in 18 degree weather, in UGGS (LOL! I forgot to put on my running shoes and didn’t realize it till I was 10 minutes out) and even though it was a short distance in freeeeeeeeeeeeezing cold, it actually felt great. So who knows. I’m gonna do my best. We’ll see how it goes.

No such thing as failure, right, friends??

Going the Distance


Running Shoes

Originally uploaded by ArtsiAnnie

I think I have been kind of in denial about the fact that I actually registered for a half-marathon which is taking place in TWO WEEKS. But yesterday I received my race number in the mail and that sure woke me up fast! I was like.. umm… gulp.. WHAT did I do?!?!?

I felt like I had to decide if this was Real or not. The friend who invited me to participate said that she might end up switching over to the 5K. I am fine with doing a 5k, really, but then when I got that number in the mail, and saw the route map, I thought, oh, COULD I do it?!?

Thirteen point one miles is quite a distance. I thought I’d better check out my long-distance stamina and see what happens.

So this afternoon I went over to our lovely neighborhood lake which happens to be around 3 miles around (can be stretched to 3.5 or 5K if you take a bunch of extra side wrinkles, which I didn’t). I was all loaded up with gadgets! I had my Bodybugg on (for calories & steps), and also my iPhone which was set to Runkeeper (for distance and pace info) and for my music.

I figured I could do 2 laps and then decide. After the first lap (3 miles) I felt GREAT. Then I did the second one. After 6 miles, I felt pretty good, not BAD, but I knew that last one was gonna take some pushing. I was walking at an average of 14-14.4 minute mile, and then every so often I’d run for a few minutes, around 11-12 minute mile. That felt good.

But during that last lap, between 7-9 miles I could feel things breaking down. First my skin. I was wearing stupid socks and at one point I walked into a puddle so my feet got wet and then I got a blister. 🙂 The blister really bothered me when I ran. Then my hips started feeling like old-lady hips around mile 8. The only thing that relieved them was RUNNING, but then the blister whined at me. I was pretty happy to see my car at the end of the third lap.

So, bottom line: 9 miles, 2 hours 10 minutes (average pace 14.44). My goal is to finish the half-M in less than 3 hours (15mph) so if I can keep up that pace I’m good. I felt really really tired at the end of 9, but I also felt like if I had to do 4 more I could do it. So that was really good.

I did learn:
1. I will bring moleskin, and wear better socks.
2. I will have water (water stations) and I will carry some nutrition (bars and/or Gu). I got pretty hungry around mile 8 and then after I stopped I was kind of bonky feeling. I went to a nearby store and guzzled a big bottle of Vitamin water. Then I came home and my bg was all high. Bleah.
3. I can probably do a half marathon in two weeks! Yahoozie!!!!!!

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑