Wednesday, October 31, 2007

No NYC for me

I went for a 6.5 mile run at the reservoir on Sunday morning. The run started out pretty well, but by the end of the first lap my foot was hurting. I pressed on and ran the second lap, still feeling the pain, but it wasn't severe enough to stop. My legs felt fabulous and full of energy, but my lungs were holding me back, on account of the cool air, the hills, my body's insistence on running 9 minute miles and the scarcity of my running the past two weeks.

I decided I would do a few more weekday runs and I would be in okay shape for the race.

Monday morning, my foot was all kinds of swollen and ugly. My arch was non-existent and my feet were entirely flat. It was not pretty. I used my little rubber ball on my foot and some ice throughout the day. I had an appointment with a new sports med doc that evening. After waiting for more than an hour in the waiting room, he looked at my foot and advised me not to run. I thought it was typical doctor talk and too conservative, so I was like, "yeah, yeah, yeah. what if I just load up on advil?" He said I could do permanently damage to my foot and at the very least miss out on an entire season of running." I still wasn't budging. We took x-rays. No breaks, but I need a bone scan to detect a stress fracture, which I'll get on Monday. He made me promise not to run if I have a stress fracture and I said I wouldn't, but I didn't think that was what's wrong. He agreed, but still suggested I not run no matter what. He said I probably won't finish and that if I do, most of it will be walking. Ugh.

So, after some tears and some mulling, I cancelled my entry yesterday afternoon. No marathon this year, but I did guarantee myself a spot for next year.

I'm still sad, though. i really thought I could get 4:30 this year. Boo.

And I still can't run!

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Saturday, October 20, 2007

Man Down

I'm freaking out. It's been exactly 7 days since the race and I haven't run. Not one step. By Monday, most of my soreness had abated, but a nagging cramp started in my right foot. Just like after last year's race. I tried stretching it, eating bananas, followed all the instructions the internets could provide me. Nothing worked. I started thinking, hmmm, maybe this is worse than a cramp? With some more research, I self-diagnosed myself with plantar fasciitus. Even though my heels felt fine, some cases only affect the arch. Each morning I would wake up with the hope that all the pain would be gone. Nope. Some mornings it was so bad I had to hobble around while walking Miles. I started icing, rolling the tennis ball and golf ball under my foot, and made an appt. with the sports medicine doc.

Yesterday I went to the dr. and drove out of my parking lot with tears rolling down my face. Injury to the plantar fascia. He said it won't be fully healed by the marathon, but if I could run through the pain, do it. Um, okay. Now I'm home sitting here, when I should be driving home from my 12 mile run. Ugh, it's so hard skipping runs, especially this late in the game. These are supposed to be my glory taper days, when I can revel in these short, easy runs and daydream about the big day coming up.

I refuse to be negative, though. I still have two weeks to nurse my foot as close to recovery as possible. I've been living in my sneakers (even at work), icing regularly, popping advil, and stretching. I'm going to add in some light running early next week, then build up a bit if I can handle it. I'd like to do at least 1 8-miler before the race. I'm going to be as responsible as possible and get that 4:30 on marathon day!

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Sunday, October 14, 2007

Oops, I ran a marathon

I ran Hartford yesterday, the whole thing. My big game plan was to drop out at mile 20 and use the race as a training run. Didn't quite happen that way...

It was cold when I woke up (which was a half hour later than I do for training runs). I ate my usual breakfast - peanut butter and banana sandwich with water. J dropped me off at Bushnell. It was still cold and I was a little worried about freezing my ass off. I kept my long sleeve on.

I found my group at the carousel and went to find Allison and Jodi at the corner. We all met as planned and hung around a bit. It was nice arriving only a half hour or so before the race. The lines for the bathroom were ridiculous, so we decided to just wait until a few miles in the race.

Nothing left to do but run at this point. There was no organization to the line up, which didn't really seem to matter. There was definitely a good vibe amongst the runners and everyone was all fired up. It was nice for me not to be stressed about time goals and have zero pressure. Well, aside from making my full 20 miles.

Jodi was worried about finishing and I promised her I would stick with her for the entire 20 miles that I'd be running.

Mile 1 - After some speeches, we were off! It took a couple minutes to cross the mats and we were running. The crowd was thick and slowmoving and I was bumped into a few times. As we rounded the corner out of the park, the speed picked up (maybe too much) and we linked up with Jen and Julie and Kim (who had lost the rest of her group). It was getting hot already and I thought about taking my shirt. Allison took off ahead of us in this first mile.

Mile 2 - Still crowded. Over the bridge and around some highway ramps. I took my long sleeve off and stabbed my finger, drawing blood, in the process of re-pinning my number.

Mile 3-4 - More running, legs still getting warmed up. feeling tired. Like always in those first couple miles.

Miles 5 - Somewhere between miles 4-5 we split from the halfsies. I said "last chance to change your mind" which elicited a laugh from my group and some surroundings. Crowds completely disappeared.

Miles 6-7 - Found my pace and feeling good! Settling into the more rural section. There was a cool rasta guy playing the drums and who had a big bottle of liquor on his table.

Miles 7-10 - Feeling good! Onto the main part of the race. The long out and back. We got to see the leaders pass by at this point. The leaves weren't peak colors, but the street was still pretty and with some patches of fans. My favorite part was hearing Sunshine of Your Love from one of the bands and finding out that the band was a group of 8 year olds in baseball uniforms. I love a kid who can rock out.

Mile 11 - The turnaround. Me, Jodi and Steve fell back a bit at this point. Jodi wasn't feeling it, so we hung back.

Miles 12-16 - Finishing up South Windsor. I was feeling really good. Stopped once to work out a cramp in my foot. We kept pushing, but our pushing became more of a walk/run combo. Sometime in the later miles, I started getting really hungry. Like, I could use a sandwich hungry. A hunger gu or shot bloks just couldn't satisfy. Oh well, I just ignored it.

because we were walking so much, I thought it would be okay to run the full. I told Jodi I would run with her if I could find a cell phone to call J and let him know. I saw a runner with a huge belt bag and figured she would have a cell - she did! I called J and he told me it was a bad idea (as I had instructed him to), but I said I was gonna walk those last miles. Thanks, runner, for letting me use your cell! Runners are the nicest people - at least to other runners.

Miles 17-19 - We kept running in front of these two guys then stopping, they would pass us, we'd pass them and the cycle would continue. We had a good time joking with them about this. I was feeling even better at this point. Strong, ready to run.

Miles 19-20 - Goes through a pretty area around the river where the bridge just taunts you. We'd get close to it, then far away. We also had to run up the equivalent of a highway ramp. Ug-ly!

I decided I should start walking. Jodi and I split on the bridge. Walking when you want to run is so hard! And boring. And almost embarrassing!

Mile 21 - 23 Back in Hartford. Junk food station was pretty much the best thing ever. I had some gummy bears and some jelly beans. I turned down some flat coke (ick!), tootsie rolls, skittles, etc. I kept walking, which was awful. People kept saying things like, "good for you for sticking with it!" which I know was nice of them, but just frustrated me. I wanted to say "I'm not running on purpose - this is a training run!" or "I'm not supposed to run anymore!" but that would be obnoxious. I would run in spurts when i couldn't help myself, but for the most part I was good. I connected with two ladies for a mile or so and we walked and talked, which helped me keep walking. I picked up an orange gu at the mile 23 water stop and took off on my own.

Mile 24. I kept walking for awhile, but at a faster clip. At about Mile 23.5, I ran a little bit by the river. I noticed that my time wasn't that bad and I could easily beat my NYC time if I ran a little. (Kind of sad, huh?) I tried to be good and walked a good portion, but ran when I was really bored. I kept a good eye on my watch so my PR didn't completely escape me. The water stops were a good .2 of a mile from the mile marker, which was kind of annoying. this part of the race follows along the river, so it's a pretty run. One I wouldn't mind running on my own sometime.

Mile 25 - 26.2 - Finally, I can run again! I picked up my pace at mile 25, right around the Blue Onion. Runners are pretty thin at this point. I go by the Wadsworth Atheneum and know I'm getting closer and push even harder. By Vito's and I know I'm on the home stretch. Push Push Push. I see the turn and focus on it. Wait, that's not the turn? Oh, the next one. Grr. Keep going, keep going. I make the final turn, curse the minuscule hill, see J waving to me. Push harder and cross the finish!

I beat my NYC time by almost 6 minutes and I walked a good portion of the race!

This race really boosted me for NYC in three weeks. I find I run conservatively in races, but found out I have so much more in me. In NYC, I'm gonna try to keep to 10:18 - 10:30 miles and just walk through the water stops. And my new goal is 4:30. I'd rather run hard and crawl over that finish line than worry I still have more in the tank.

As for injuries, I'm feeling okay today. Sore, but nothing like after a marathon. I took an icebath yesterday and have been babying myself, which I'm sure helps.

Some things to remember:
-I drank water at almost all the stops - usually two cups. I barely drank any gatorade, probably just a bottle, bottle and a half.
-Walking at water stops completes reinvigorates you.
-Bring more gels / gu. I ran out.
-Sports Beans are almost like food when you're hungry.
-Start slow, but not too slow.
- Relax!

And now - it's taper time!

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Friday, October 12, 2007

Hartford Marathon Eve

Just got back from the expo where I loaded up on runners' goodies, got a ticket, and picked up my registration. I'm a bit rattled for tomorrow because of some shin splints. Before I get into all that, let's do a catch up on some of the long runs I never wrote about. Oops.

Before I even start that, I was all happy running, feeling good about my runs when I took a spill during an am run with J. We were running along, about a mile or so in, just getting into the groove, when an orange construction fence came out of nowhere, grabbed my foot, and I went pummeling down in the hard concrete. I laid there a second, confused, hurting, ready to vomit. I was nauseous a good while, but finally surveyed my injuries. Blood down my leg from a cut on my knee, some road rash on my elbow, and a deep cut on my palm. All on the right side. two months later, I still have scars. Ugh. I later went to the health center at work to stock up on free bandaids. When I walked in, they suggested I get checked out. Good thing as the NP removed a bunch of gravel from my wounds. Sick!

Anyway, running.
12-miler at the reservoir. alone . rough rough rough. this was the day after my big spill (or maybe two days?), so I was pretty sore and nervous on my feet.

18-miler. I ran this one myself. That sucked. A lot. I took off work to run it. That ruled. I'm not sure if there's any physical reason this run was so tough. OH, wait! So, within the first 1/2 mile (according to Mr. Garmin), I tripped on the sidewalk and fell on my bad side. Sure enough, all my cuts were cut open again. Grr. Ran back home, cleaned up, set back out... The run definitely got better from there, but what a way to start! I trucked on and on and on. For some reason, that garth brooks song "low places" was pumping me up. I know, ??? I was just happy to get that run over so I could go on my cruise the next morning. woo hoo.

20-miler. My first really long run after the cruise, which wiped out all my fitness. Or at least, it felt like it. I got lost on the way to the parking lot, then my garmin was out of batteries. Oh, and I had to pee. I got directions from Shaun, bugged the hell out of my fellow runners asking about out distance, so those parts got better fast. The pee situation was another matter. I was practically delirious, ready to pee behind anything I could find - like trees in front yards! 10 miles into the run, I finally found an acceptable place (behind a dumpster at the Board of Ed building!). The rest of the run was fine. We slowed up a bit towards the end, but me and Rosin kicked it for the last couple miles. I just wanted that run to end. Oh, and when we finally got back to Bushnell Park, we learned that we had another loop to run. Many dropped out there, but me and R stood strong!

15-miler. This run ruled. Really ruled. Everyone else was just doing 12, but I did a couple extra because I wasn't tapering like them. I ran 9 - 9.30 min / miles those last couple miles, which I'm still paying for.

Okay, I don't even have time to write about the race tomorrow now! Real quick - I'm just running the first 20 as a training run. My shins are in some pain now and I've been cutting back on running and icing a ton. let's just hope they hold up tomorrow!

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Monday, August 27, 2007

Muggy 16-miler

I wish I could come up with some clever titles. I added "muggy" at least. My weekly runs were few and far between this week. I started off fantastic with a nice tempo run on Monday evening. I figured I could get a nice run in on Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning. Thursday happened, Wednesday definitely did not. Thursday I had to throw myself out of bed and out the door before I was even remotely awake. Unfortunately, it was still dark. So depressing. Where did summer go? [whine, whine, whine]. Okay, I feel better now.

Saturday's run ...
Mileage: 16 miles, some long, slight inclines.
Weather: Disgusting and drippy. I'm talking 99% humidity, 80s.
Locale: Glastonbury, East Hartford. Maybe even Manchester.
Pace: 10:30 min / mile

...started off muggy and defeating. The first four miles were an out and back route through what felt like a swamp. I was drenched by the end of the first mile and ready to quit by the end of the fourth. We took a pretty long break (at least 10 minutes) to regroup, get water, and inspect Jodi's gushing blister. She decided to head home for fear of infecting her entire foot.

Roishine and I took off to finish the other 12 miles and hopefully catch up with the rest of the group, now a few minutes ahead of us. We joked around a bit, which got us in some better spirits and took our minds of what we anticipated as 2+ hours of torture. We finally caught up with the rest of the group at Main Street. Getting back with them was a bit of a boost. It's bad enough when you're running and want to give up, but so much worse when you're at the back of the pack.

As we climbed Griswold and Long Hill, I started to get more into my stride and comfortable on my legs. The miles seemed to just chip away at that point. It was hot still, but the sun was tucked behind thick gray clouds, so I thought about how much worse it could have been out there. Long Hill felt short (ha), which was surprising as it's been my nemesis on other runs. We reached the top and finally reached the turn around. A big mental boost was that this run wasn't a single out and back, but two small out and backs and one large one. So, at that point, we only had about 5 miles left. Woo hoo. I could do five miles. I ate a few shot blocks.

Long Hill was down hill the way back, so Roishine and another guy from the group broke away and "sped" down. We grabbed some water at the last stop and poised to finish this up. The last couple miles took awhile, but I felt generally okay. My stomach was behaving, I was confident after running all those miles in the heat; nothing could break me. Woo hoo, 16 miles down!

I'm still sore, though. Funny how that works.

This week, we've got a 12 miler and I'm hoping to squeeze in semi-long run sometime.


Wednesday, August 22, 2007

15 miler and the new garmin

Garmin is my new BFF. Seriously. BFF. I spent my first run using it - a 4.5 miler last Tuesday - with my eyes darting back and forth between the road and the watch. It's really freeing to just head out of the house and start running until I run the miles I planned, rather than guessing how far I'm running or planning out a route beforehand. And, of course, I'll be able to see how much I'm improving as time goes on (there will be no going the opposite way).

On Thursday, J went for a nice 3+ mile run, the first run he's been on in well over a year. It's good that he's getting back out there and I think he already feels better from that one run. Let's see if he can stay with it.

So, Saturday was our first 15-miler. I don't know about most people, but the 15-mile hurdle is a big psychological one for me. 13 feels like a lot, but nothing close to a marathon. 15 miles feels like that marathon is attainable - even though still a good 11 miles more. Plus, after two crushing 13-milers, my confidence level was low.

After last week's stomach woes, I made a strong effort to watch my food intake staying away from fiber and dairy. I made mashed potatoes and a tuna sandwich for dinner on Friday night and had my usual, pb on bread for breakfast. My stomach was already out of whack before I left the house on Saturday morning and I was mildly concerned. It's happened before and I've had great runs, so I wasn't terribly nervous, though.

The weather was prime running temps - 60s and clear skies - that morning. A lot of the group was absent with it being one of the last summer weeks and lots of people on vacation. Jodi, Roishine, and I started off slowly to keep some energy in the tank for those later miles. The first 3 or 4 miles flew by. Then we hit the hills. They lasted forever, but with only a slight incline, so we were able to maintain pace. Somewhere along this hill, I gave up on my fuel belt. (It's really been giving me issues with it riding up and bothering my stomach. I think I'm gonna have to shorten the belt. I definitely got the wrong size.) We hit the first water station and ate some animal crackers and set off again. We've been taking a long time at the water stops, which has me a bit nervous we're not preparing properly for the actual race. We'll worry about that later. We pressed on still feeling good. We ran, kept running, ran some more. Nothing too eventful. Actually, that was an event in itself. I was wearing new shoes, which felt great, and I was worried about heel pain that had surfaced earlier that weak, but feet were fine on all counts. Phew.

The route took us into some backroads of Glastonbury, beautiful country roads I wouldn't consider running alone for their lack of shoulder and surplus of sharp, hidden turns. Strength in groups, though, right? Oh, and there were hills. Lots of them.

The halfway point was at the top of the hill. I tried to eat some powerade gu chocolate (noting for future reference), but my stomach just wasn't into it, so I ended up carrying it through most of the next few miles. I ate little bits of it to try and get some calories, but my stomach wasn't feeling hot at all at this point. The next couple miles chipped away and we finally hit the last water stop. We hung around here for a bit. I just wanted to get going so we could finish this thing up. Those last couple miles stretched on and on. My legs were getting tired and my spirit flagging. 15 miles is just a long time to be on your legs, you know? We even took a short walk break on a downhill! That's just lame of us.

We kept pushing and finally finished up. I'm not sure our actual pace because I let the garmin run through all the water stops, but I will be sure not to do that next week. I'd like to have a real idea what kind of pace we're running.

I feel so much better being able to check that run off the list, like we're officially into the big miles now or something. And what's even more of a confidence boost? I felt pretty darn good through that run (aside from the stomach) and only minimally sore the next day.

This week we have a 16 on Saturday and I'm just trying to get in some of the weekly runs. Getting up early is getting harder and harder for me lately. I'm just SO tired. I could probably fall asleep right now!

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Sunday, August 12, 2007

Birthday 10 miler

Yesterday was my 28th birthday and started off with a perfect 10 mile run.

Here are the stats:
Distance 10 miles
Time My watch said 1:50, but we took a couple minute break halfway. I think we averaged 10 min/miles
Weather Perfect. Nice and cool - probably 60s. I had a little trouble warming up after we stopped halfway (I consider this a good thing).
Location Glastonbury

A great run. The weather really was perfect, which was especially nice after the two steamy runs before. I was worried my hip would hurt and I would be lying if I said I didn't notice any pain (and also some twinges in my left shin), but nothing that impeded my performance.

We ran a couple out and backs starting with one down Hubbard and turning around at the park. It was a gradual uphill climb. We turned around, then ran out on another street to Hebron. We went back to the water stop at the park again and hung around for a few minutes. Almost too long a break as my legs started tightening up. One thing I took for granted about the warm weather runs the past few weeks, your muscles stay nice and loose, even with stops.

Overall a nice confidence booster of a run. My legs are tight today and I attribute it to actually running the whole time. The couple weeks before I took some breaks because of the heat, so I didn't make my muscles work as hard. It feels good to be nice and sore today:)

Ugh, one of my old running problems came back yesterday - stomach issues. I was in pain for a good couple hours after my run. I blame the broccoli I ate for lunch. NOte to self - no broccoli within days of running! Again, ugh.

For my b-day I got some great running gifts I can't wait to try out - the garmin 305 and a gc for some long overdue new shoes!

This week I'm gonna try to get in 3 runs before our 15 miler on Saturday. I can't wait to get out there with my new garmin!

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