Friday, October 30, 2009

Running Bébé Takes Manhattan: Day 1

We had a very full day today in New York.  I tried to log my miles walked on the Garmin, but I kept forgetting to turn it on and off and then it would sort of go to sleep on me.  I want to say I probably walked about 4 or 5 miles.  My feet are telling me that it was at least that.

Late this afternoon I headed back to hotel to meet Ian for a run.  There was a little map in our room showing a 2, 4, and 6 mile running route along the Hudson River on a path.  We headed out hoping to do the 6 miles, with a few walk breaks.  I've been having leg issues so I wanted to be conservative.

The leg hurt right away when I started to run - mostly around the hip.  After a few minutes it didn't feel too bad.  We ran 1 mile, took a little walk / stretch break, then started running again.  Last 2 miles we ran without a break.

It was breezy and cool.  I was happy to have the arm warmers.  We saw quite a few runners - and most of them were super fast. Not sure what that's all about.

Celebrity sightings:  1
I walked right past Kathleen Turner on W.70th & Broadway.

Rat Sightings: 0

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

New Experiences

I have to look on the bright side. I've been running consistently for just shy of three years, and before this month I had never been sidelined due to illness or injury.

That's pretty remarkable when you think of it. Ok, truth be told, I had to take some rest days after the Worst Hangover Ever last July. Anyway, I was back to running no time.

Injury wise, I've had the odd ache and pain here and there. I have to ice my knees and ankles regularly to keep myself going. There have been periods in my training when I may have abused Ibuprofin just a little bit. But I can honestly say that none of these problems have resulted in a visit to the doctor or a layoff from running. If anything, they've been minor inconveniences.

Well, things took a turn this summer when I became inexplicably sluggish and wiped out. Turned out I had an iron deficiency. A few weeks of iron therapy and I started to see improvements. I was feeling like maybe it would all work out just fine and I'd be in great shape for a December marathon.

Then, out of the blue, and without warning, a couple of weeks ago I was stricken down with a severe bout of Bronchitis. It was so bad, that when I went to the doctor to have it looked at, he said I was having an asthma attack and send me home with 2 inhalers and a course of antibiotics. I was out of commission for about a week.

What bronchitis does to your lungs

Finally, last Monday, I woke up before my alarm with a spring in my step and took a deep, invigorating breath. I was ready to run! I decided to start conservatively with an easy 3 miler. It was great to be back at it, and I felt fantastic.  My marathon advisor, John, had me run another easy 7 miles the next day, which also went swimmingly! Two days later I was ready for something more intensive.

I headed out for a 7 mile tempo run, with the aim to run an easy 2 miles, speed up a bit for the middle 3, and then run the last 2 miles at a fairly speedy pace. Just a little ways into the last 2 miles I felt a sudden pain in my left leg. I was determined not to fail this time, so I pushed past the pain and finished my run in the desired time.

But by the time I got home I was hobbling and was relieved to be able to lie down on the floor.

I am still struggling to figure out exactly what the heck is wrong with my leg. I can't even really pinpoint where the pain is. When I ran I could feel some achiness in my hip. Afterwards it was more mid-shin. After sitting all day it seems to be at the front of my ankle, where my leg meets the foot.

I'm heading to the walk-in clinic to see my doctor in a couple of minutes, and I'll update this after I see her. I doubt she'll be able to tell me much, but it's a first step...

Ok, I'm back from the doctor's office with good news.  Doc thinks it's "fascial pain" and NOT a stress fracture.  She thinks the fact that the achiness is migrating around my leg is a sure sign it's a nerve thing and not a bone thing.  This is great news!  The doctor wrote me a prescription for some heavy duty anti-inflammatories which I'm to take 3 times a day with meals.  She thinks the pain should go away when the inflamation dies down.  I am cleared to walk and if it feels ok to try running at any time.  As long as I'm pain free I can keep increasing the intensity.  Best of all, the doctor felt that I should be back to normal in a week!

So I better keep my cross-training up...Sounds like I'll be back to running soon!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Guest Blog: The Portland Marathon 2009 Recap

This race report was graciously provided by my fellow Team Point Two teammate, Donna, who was the first of the group to complete her goal marathon on October 4th. 

Starting with the Oct 3rd race bib pickup, and Sports Expo, Portland Hilton

Drove with my family and to Parents in-law to drop off our children for the night, and my husband I and were off to Portland Oregon. We drove through Goldendale and saw lots of Indian reservations and the wild mustang horses, beautiful fall colors just starting. Then over Sates pass to the beautiful Columbia River Gorge, Dales Oregon.

The Gorge

We arrived in Portland at 6 pm and went straight to the Hilton Portland where we picked up my race bib and race chip barcode tag (new state of technology for me). We had about ½ hour to venture the sports expo before closing.


The biomechanic feedback station caught my eye, so I strolled over, put on a pair of their Nike racing flats on hopped on the a treadmill for a video analysis. The Physical Therapist studied my gait after playing it back in slow motion, she said I had a neutral foot plant with no signs of over pronation or ankles angling inward. She said, “Wow you have really strong feet”. “Thank you.” I replied, and chuckled under my breath.  Little does she know I train in racing flats and run barefoot in the sand and grass. So five stars for forefoot running, Chi running, and Vibram soles.

Race Day
Well, lets get to the Nitty Gritty of the race. Race morning Oct 4th came with a bang. We stayed at a La Quinta Hotel and they forgot to give us our 5 am wake up call. Thankfully I woke up at 5:35 screeching “Yikes, oh shit…. we gotta go” they never gave us a wake up call!” So 20 min. later, my husband and I drove to downtown Portland, a damp Dewey 40 degree morning perfect for racing. We found a parking garage for $5.00 a day. I put on sweats, earmuffs, and gloves, and then trotted in the parking lot while my husband Reidar put his Mt. Bike together.

Donna could've used one of these

We both started in the direction of 1st and Salmon Ave where the start was. We were amazed to see along the way how many runners were camping out inside Starbucks for their last minute caffeine fix.

Race started at 7 am and it was now 6:30. After finding where the runners with bibs could legally enter, I hung out with my husband until the final departure. We befriended a Father/daughter couple that was both very friendly. The daughter was 28 years old and was planning on qualifying for Boston by running a 3:40. Her father was there on his Mt. Bike as well in order to support her at various spots in the race. Hence, my husband Reidar had had a buddy to hang out with.

And they're off!

I kissed my husband and departed into the chute. I found my way in the cluster of wall-to-wall runners (believe me this was tough, since I’m so claustrophobic) to the 3:40 pace group. At 6:55 the National Anthem was sung by a retired Opera Singer, now running the marathon. The gun goes off at 7:00 am and the wheel chair marathoners are off, a minute goes by and we’re off. Lots of intense cheering, three miles into the race people are tossing this and that of various clothing to the sidelines. Gloves, hats, sweats, just a heaven for the homeless that roam the street afterwards. I was happy for them. 

Portland Marathon

The 9-mile mark was a turn around with bands playing. Felt amazingly well inside a pack of runners it was like being pulled along effortlessly. It reminded me of a long time ago back in the 80’s on the track running the 1500 meters and being boxed in. I never used my iPod, the entire marathon. I just soaked in the atmosphere.

An Unscheduled Stop

14, 15 miles? I was at the tail end of 3:45 pace group when a whistle blows! A freight train was coming. We had to be stopped as angry runners cry” This is insane! No way, not fair!” I was upset at first since it takes you off guard and off rhythm. So, we were told to stop our watches and account for the loss at the finish. I had a 2 min 23 sec. delay.

Example of a freight train

Pushing Through
At mile 16 I was feeling my right hamstring start nagging, right calf start twinging, then decided to wait it out. Sure enough it went away. Mile 17 was the famous ½ mile hill, up and over St Johns Bridge. I was starting to stiffen up a bit. By the 20 mile I knew the race was over for me. When I wanted to start to race and kick it in, it clearly was not going to happen. I was down to a 9 min pace, shuffling, and hanging on. I told myself if the pain is only this great and won’t get worse, then just maintain. I started to think of my teammates “TeamPointTwo.” I said now listen “D”, Susan, LJ, Chris, Jamie, Nicole, Tony and your coach John J. Ellis are pulling for you right now. So, come on girl, hang in there.

I took my first race GU from the aid table at mile 23, it was called liquid gold. It was an amazing!!!! Tasted like Amber Honey. It gave me an energy boost.

The last mile was definitely the longest and never seem to end, in fact my mantra at that point was, E.T. Phone home….. E.T. Phone home…. E.T. Phone home….

The Big Finish!

My finish was a blur muffled with cheering. My pained body hit the Finish Plate Sensor. The finished runners were guided through (what seemed to be eternity #2), wobbling another ¾ of a mile in order to get out. I asked myself, “So D would you do this again?” I answered…. Yep!

Finishing time without freight Train Adjustment: 3:59
With re-adjusted time: 3:56.23

Monday, October 5, 2009

9 Weeks to Vegas and a Lack of Motivation

Lately I've been feeling a certain lack of drive to run or to reach my running goals, the most notable being a 3:45 finish time at the Las Vegas Rock 'n' Roll Marathon. I have been finding it harder, mentally, to keep running when I'm tired or sick of running. I've been tired and sick of running more often. I've been tired even when I'm not running. I've been sick of talking about running. This leaves me feeling: 1) Inadequate as a person and 2) SUPER guilty about not stepping up for the Team (Team Point Two) and my Running Advisor John Ellis. Why can't I just pull up my socks and go for it? Time and time again I find myself quitting or slowing down because it's easier than pushing through. This morning I had a stress test, which confirmed what John & I predicted: There's nothing physically wrong with me. A while back, when I was at the peak of my running "obsession", I was asked if I'd ever stop. I responded that I thought I'd stop when I stopped improving. I kind of feel like that's what's happened this year. I have been running consistently for almost 3 years now, with almost constant improvement in my race times. This was going to be my breakout year, when, with John's guidance and the support of a Team I would push my physical limits and find out what I was made of. I thought that would mean seeing big improvements in my race times and mounting enthuiasm as marathon day approached. Instead all of this training and guidance has left me with a constant feeling of inadequacy and a realization that maybe this is as good as I'm going to get. Maybe my problem is that I just don't enjoy pushing myself hard physically. I don't know. Anyway, I'm not looking for sympathy here. If anyone deserves sympathy its John, because he's doing his job week after week, and I'm not coming through. Going forward my plan is to take it week by week. This week all I can do is to try my best to hit all my targets and finish all my workouts. Oh, to end things on a positive note, I DID buy a SUPER CUTE new running outfit which I plan to wear in Vegas. I also made a groovy new playlist that should give me a bit of a lift when I'm running.