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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