Friday, November 2, 2007

Columbus Marathon Race Report

Thank goodness that is over with!! Marla and I were pacing all morning long as we hadn't had the big action before heading to the start line. I was nervous because I knew I needed to go. We accidently ran into Sherrie and her friend Sara, while waiting inside a building to get out of the cool breezy air of the morning. Out of all the runners there we happened to run into people we knew them and I thought that was neat. We left the buidling and went to the bathroom, which was about 20 minutes before the race started. I was finally able to have the right action I was looking for. I stepped out of the port a potty and realized I cut in front of the line. Both Marla and I did that. We don't know how it happened but it worked, since I went to the bathrroom.

The start of the marathon had perfect running conditions. It was in the low 50’s with crisp cool air. I just had my shorts and a t-shirt on and my arms and legs were cold but I knew I would warm up fast. As the start neared I lined up with Michelle, the 5 hour Clif Bar Pacer. The start had a couple of highlights – a flyover by three army Blackhawk helicopters and some great festive music. Throughout the course the live bands were great to provide extra motivation. Then the horn blew and the marathon was off.

The miles passed quickly. I was feeling great. Water stops were very frequent in the beginning of the race. I think it had to do with the larger than normal field with the increase of the half marathoners. We were running on wide, fall colored tree-lined streets of the Bexley neigherhood. The shade it provided was heaven. This neighborhood has beautiful big houses and the governer lives near mile 5. There was one section in this neighborhood that had a crumbling brick road were you had to really watch your footing, which I didn’t like. It was somewhere in this area I saw Marla and the 5 hour pacer passed her by. We chatted for a few seconds and wished each other luck again and to see each back at the hotel. This neighborhood didn’t have many specutors cheerins us on, as say the Twin Cities would have.

With the abundance of water stops I was taking in more fuilds than normal and had to go pee already by mile 6.5. I was thinking 'oh no', this is too early to have to use the bathroom and I don’t want to lose the pacer. So I would scan the area for any signs of a port a potty coming our way. I saw some in the distance and picked up the race to not lose the pacer. I was lucky there was no line and it was by a water stop, which we walked. I was in and out in about a minute and raced to catch back up to the pacer. I also had to do that at mile 11. I was hoping it wouldn't be like that all day. I was lucky both times there wasn't a line and I could catch up with the pacer fairly easy.

After leaving the Bexley area we headed westbound towards downtown where we encountered some gentel hills through miles 7 to 10. The row type houses and buidlings become more dense as the crowds become more livier inspiring us runners though the inclines of the road. This section was lined with the colored flags in support of their partner choices. At this point the weather was getting warmer but tolerable and the wind was becoming alittle breezier at times. At mile 10 we turned south on Third Street making our way to German Village. We ran past Schiller Park about mile 11.5 in German Village and headed northward on High Street.

On High Street is were the one begins to believe they are truely running a marathon. The half marathoner split off and finish there race while we continued on up High Street for a total of 5 miles. Also, at the half way point we were joined by another pace leader, Robin, since Columbus is were most of them lived and they had many reserves to tap into. At this point during the race my knee started to hurt just for a little while. I fought off the pain and wasn’t going to let it ruin my chances of a sub five hour marathon. The northbound run up High Street provided little shade and the sun was relentless. I started to worry since I could tell I was becoming warmer and thrister. I thought after the half way point the water stops were a lot less frequent than in the beginning and I kept wondering when the next one would come. Reaching the end of High Street at mile 17 was heaven, since it was a good gradual incline for about a mile and half. Rounding the corner the runners we met with a severe downhill for about a half a mile. Then greeted with another incline cresting at about the highest point of the course at mile 18. There were a few good ups and downs from 15 to 23, that the elevation chart really didn’t show that well. What was flat on the chart was definitly an uphill incline. I really had to go bathroom again at around mile 20 or 21. I kept scanning up ahead for a port a potty but didn’t see any. I knew if I left them to use one I wouldn't be able to sustain the pace we were keeping. We did pass one but I chanced it to and held out until the finish. I couldn't believe how good I felt. All my other previous marathons up to this point I was doing a shufflers walk/run and I felt horrible. This marathon was a very unquie experience. I didn't feel bad and that was such a positive at this point in the race. It felt great to pass people and not be the passe. Our pace was great but I could start to feel it in my legs, the quads and calves, were starting to become tight and a little sore. It was nice to get out of the shade once in a while when that cover presented itself. Towards the end the weather was warmer for my tastes. I kept debating when I was going to pull away from the 5 hour pacer. They kept me telling me to wait to see what I felt like at mile 23. That was such a great thing.

Mile 23 approached and I knew I had to stay with the pacer. I was getting very tired but surprised I was still actually running and holding onto a pace. For the next two miles I didn’t say much. I tucked up right behind her, for one to have her block the wind and second I focused on her leg movements as we moved forward to the finish. I was starting to doubt if I could finish under 5 because my legs were so tired and sore. Those were the toughest miles in the whole marathon. Another pacer joined in at about 24.5. She paced the second half of the 4:30 group and walked back along the course to find the other pacers still making their way to the finish.

Once I saw mile 25 I KNEW I had my 5 hour marathon becaue that was ONLY 4 laps around a track. Peice of cake! I could do that, it would just be like any other old training run. I bolted and picked up the pace A LOT to see how far under 5 hours I could get. The 5 hour pacers cheered me on and the other pacer that just joined us helped me in. I started out fast for about 1 lap and started to slow. The pacer was very encouraging. She said I looked stronger than some of the 4:30 finishers. She said to relax my shoulders and breathe with the incline as there was still a ways to go. Since it was up a slight incline for about 2 more laps. She had me focus on landmark. She said only 2 more stoplights, take the right and you have a downhill finish. I liked knowing the distance of when I could pick up the pace again. Once I rounded that corner and saw the finish victory was mine. With only about 1 lap left I sprinted towards the finish. I was literally flying down the downhill to the finish. I could feel my calves burning but I so wanted to be finished and my journey of a sub 5 hour would be over. My chip time was 4:57:08.

The pacer just couldn't believe how fast I kicked it in that last mile. My last pace was about 10:45, where we were averaging about 11:27. It was nice to finish strong and realize a dream of mine for such a long time. It was just a great day. It all worked out perfectly and sticking with the 5 hour pacer is what did it for me. I was the only one from the beginning that was able to stay with her until the finish. Everyone dropped off between mile 16 and 21. I took my gels at around mile 6, 12, bag of shot bloks from mile 15 to 16, then another gel at mile 21. I had to force the last one down.

It was a super day and weekend by far. I loved meeting some of my fellow poster on the Weight Watchers Marathoner’s board and realizing a goal I set 5 years before when doing my first marathon.

Monday, October 29, 2007


I made it through my Fall running season. I even made it throught a rainy, windy cold marathon that was as the newspaper termed it "on one of the 5 best sleeping in days all year".

Worse than the rain, cold or wind was the fact that my pace was no where near what I wanted to run for that race. I thought it was the cold or the rain--it turns out I was injured. Somehow, maybe out of sheer cussedness, I finished the marathon. I think it really was because I thought that it would take longer for someone to come and get me and take me back to the start than it would for me to gimp on in.

I thought I was tough--maybe I was--maybe I was kind of stupid too. I amaze myself at my capacity for denial when it comes to my own body. I am one of the first people to encourage someone to go to the doctor or PT, but apparently the last to go when it is my own issue.

After the race, I could hardly walk. I knew my feet had issues, I blamed the cold and the miles. I blamed myself and the fact that I missed about 5 runs out of my training schedule.

Basically all the injuries I had been trying to ignore came to their worst during the race. My feet felt horrible, my legs cramped, my piriformis screamed--thankfully the cold was my ally and I couldn't feel much of this during the race. This literally brought me to my knees and I reached out to get help feeling better for my next marathon.

I'm glad to say that finally I'm getting the injury treatment I need. I'm finding help for all of my issues and realized that they had been plaguing me all season if I had bothered to listen. I said that I was tired, or started out too fast--really my body was trying to ask for help.

Often I'm scared to go in for an injury because I think I'm going to be told that I shouldn't run or that I need surgery. I turns out I need some deep tissue massage and orthotics--maybe a heel lift too. I'll write more about the specifics of my injuries on my personal blog later.

I didn't need to tough out my pain, I didn't need to wait, I needed to make an appointment. If you have a nagging pain, something you really don't think is that bad--make an appointment!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Life Gets in the Way

It seems like whatever race season I pick, life gets in my way

I have a job that requires occasional late evening work. Usually I like this because I can use it to have flexibility with some other areas of mylife--a late evening can make a short Friday, for example.

Sometimes though, I end up on a stress project where you are working 12+ hour days, evenings and you hope and pray that your weekend stays free. This happened to me last month--right at peak marathon milage!

I did the best I could, but the lack of sleep, stress and long hours took their toll. I did my 16 miler--my Father In Law came to town--there was a weekend with no rest!

I couldnt' do my track workout with my group, so I did it on my own. I missed the rest of the runs that week due to work and more work, plus the needs of my family. I did my 18 miler which was pretty good, but had horrible leg cramps during the run.

I worked through the next week, staggering through the track workout on my own again. Once again I missed all my cross training and runs for that week, started getting sick too. The 20-22 miler was up for that week--I ran it by myself and suffered in the nearly 90 degree heat for the last 10 miles--I did 21 and walked the last 1.

I like running because I learn a lot about myself. This time I learned that I have to accept what I get and I can't always just push my way through training. I also learned that I really hate missing dinner with my husband and daughter in order to get my run done. I would fix dinner for them and then nearly be in tears as I headed out the door. I knew there was no way that I could do speedwork after dinner, so I did this--I hope I don't have to do it again.

I'm finally feeling better, just in time for my marathon. I guess what I want to say is that this happens--usually at the worst possible time--and that you do the best you can.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Run Proud

I love StoryPeople by Brian Andreas. I get them emailed to me everyday. Now that I am a 'runner' and run marathons, this message had new meaning for me.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

back of the pack runners - here's to us!

Here's a little inspiration for all of us back-of-the-pack runners...

I've met Grete Waitz a few times (9-time winner of NYC Marathon), and she said the toughest marathon she ever did was when she ran a 5:32 marathon w/ Fred Lebow, founder of NYC Marathon, when he ran it in '91 or '92 (it was the first time he'd run his own race, and he had brain cancer at the time).

In other words, it ain't easy running for 5+ hours.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

My Body is Calling--Am I Listening?

I have lost over 60 lbs. on various diets over about 15 years. Truthfully I lost and found many of those pounds many times over the years. I try to eat healthy, try to eat the correct amounts, try to adjust my intake for my activity level. You'd think after all this time, after this success, I would have this all down. However, I find that when my miles creep up, my weight does as well.

Last year I gained over 5 pounds as I trained for my first marathon. That doesn't seem like a huge number, but if you are a Weight Watchers Lifetime member, that can put you back into the place where you have to pay each month rather than it being free. There are significant health issues in my family that makes maintaining a healthy weight essential for me. Add that to the recent Runner's World article stating that 5 pounds equals 5 minutes on marathon times makes me realize that controlling my weight is more than just health, vanity or frugality--I need it to run faster! This seems to motivate me more than the other reasons--probably because I see the impact rather quickly.

I know what to eat, I know about how much to eat--so why do I overeat? I think it is because after all these years I have forgotten how to listen to my own hunger signals. I think that I am being strong when I don't eat when I'm hungry and weak if I eat. I am afraid that if I give myself the freedom to eat, I will never stop eating and my diet will consist of pasta, peanut butter and M&MS. I also find that because I have let myself get so hungry in the past, that I am actually afraid of my own hunger and try to "eat prevenatively" to avoid hunger. None of these extremes are good for me.

But is it really this simple--Wait until you are hungry, make healthy choices, and stop right before you are full? Why is it that running 10 miles is easier than putting my fork down before my plate is empty?

So this is what I am trying:
  1. Ask myself if I am truly hungry before I eat--and wait to make sure I really am hungry rather than just thinking that I might be hungry.
  2. Allow myself to eat if I am hungry. If this means eating lunch at 10:30, this is okay too.
  3. Put down the fork and remind myself that food will be there later
  4. Make the healthy choice when eating--peanut butter, pasta and M&Ms all do have a place in a healthy diet!
  5. Eat the correct amount so that I am hungry in the morning, and before each meal.

I have learned to adjust my workouts for fatigue, sore muscles and my energy level. This involved listening to and trusting my body to tell me what it needed, but also knowing when to push a workout and when to back off. I can learn to trust my body for fuel as well. It will talk to me--I just need to stop and listen.

Monday, July 30, 2007

When will running get easier?

Someone on a marathoner message board asked that question--that got me thinking.

I always had a vision of myself as an experienced runner. I would be gliding effortlessly along the path/trail/road. My legs and arms moving gracefully, my breath even.

(Sound of record screeching) Nope that's sure not me--at least not all the time. I find that as I progress, I still work hard--not because I am working to run at the same pace, but because I want to continue to improve my running.

Saturday I had one of those endorphin runs. I got to the end of my run and discovered I had more in my tank than I thought and was able to maintain a faster than usual pace and still run hard at the end of the run. It was one of those runs that makes you believe you have made a break through--at least until tonight.

Tonight's run was hard. It was actually for 10 less minutes than the Saturday run. I ran out on a trail I hadn't run yet this year. My mile splits were not what I wanted them to be and I started making all kinds of excuses--"It's hot" , "I didn't wait long enough after dinner", "I'm just having a bad run", "This part of the trail is rocky (it actually was) and I need to be careful here". I had a whole list and I started to drop into my misery.

I turned around at 25 minutes and headed back. I started to think about my run and told myself that I knew every run wouldn't be an endorphin moment--they couldn't all be. Every great, fantastic run is built on the blocks of the not so great feeling runs around them. I decided to get all that I could out of my run. I told myself I need to work on my form--knees up, arms down, shoulders back and relaxed, head up. I fell into the rhythm of my run. When I wanted to slow I told myself to go on, to be faithful, to be strong.

I negative split the run by 1:30--that's a pretty huge margin for me! Maybe it wasn't a horrible run after all, or maybe it just stopped being one when I changed my attitude.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Athlete, Me?

How I see myself may not be the way that someone else does. To me I think an athlete is a professional individual who has a toned sculpted body competing on a high level or is good at what they do. Others may precive me as an athlete but my self image does catergize myself there. For instance do these marathon times, 5 hours 39 minutes, 5 hours 38 minutes, 5 hours 58 minutes, 5 hours 11 minutes, conjure up the imagine of an athlete? To me they don’t. They are the image of a back of the pack runner hoping to finish before they tear down the finish line. So, therefore, I don't consider myself as an athlete. I look at those times and see the determination of completing something that has been started. I do though think of myself as an active person who likes to do endurance events and put in the training required. I train hard for any improvement seen and to acheive goals set. These gains however aren’t from natural talent. Crosing the finish line is more about mental strength and fortitude rather than phyiscal ability. I am competitive but only with myself as a progression of my improvement. So I wonder I can run and bike and finish events entered but does that make me an athlete? Who decides what I am? I may be an ‘everyday’ athlete that inspires other that know me but not in the context of a ‘professional’ athlete. Being active and healthly is the most important part no matter if you consider yourself an athlete or not. Being out there is all that matters and that you are having fun. Again, I ask, me an athlete. Maybe my mindset will get there.

Monday, July 23, 2007

and the slump is over...

Did 11 miles tonight, 2:02:45, treadmill. First 10 felt great, last mile was a little tough (I'm trying to finish all runs faster than I start, so had been ramping up the speed my entire run).

Someone give me a kick in the pants, please!

OK, I'm having a major existential crisis here! Well, maybe not an existential crisis, but a running crisis for sure. I just can't get out the door. So I'm putting it down in writing, right here and now, that I'm running tonight.

My training schedule say 6 mile tempo run (10:26 miles). Or I'll do my 11-miler long run that I blew off yesterday when laying on the couch reading all day. OY.

I'll report in later this evening, you heard it here first.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Running is a Simple Sport?

You read books about running and they say it is such a wonderful, simple sport because all you need is a good pair of shoes--and a good bra if you are female.

So how come I need so much stuff? Last Saturday I had (from head to toe)
  • Running hat (protects head, absorbs sweat, keeps sun out of my eyes)
  • Sunglasses (protects eyes from both Sun and flying insects)
  • Running bra (absolutely essential)
  • Heart Rate Monitor strap
  • Garmin 305 GPS and sport watch
  • Running shorts'
  • Sport Glide and Vaseline for Toes, feet, bra straps
  • Asics Kayano socks
  • Asics Kayano shoes with SuperFeet insoles
  • Sunscreen

I also carried:

  • Camelbak FlashFlo (with 1 liter of Gu2O orange flavor)
  • 1 Gu brand sports gel (plain flavor)
  • Tissues
  • 1 Bike bottle with ice and water (left in car for after the run)
  • Blue Ice reusable cooler pack (left in car)
  • 1 Can of Lactose Free Slimfast French Vanilla drink (left in car on blue ice pack for post-run)
All of this for a 10 mile run (1:37)

Admittedly, I would not need to get all of this ready if I ran out and back from my house. I drive to my favorite running trail because I like the gravel path, and the slant on my neighborhood streets aggravate my ITBS. I also like to run with my training group.

I always say I carry this stuff because I'm a mom, and I like to be prepared and find the feeling that I have what I need to be comforting. Still, I show up for my group runs and people don't have water, don't have gel, didn't eat breakfast, don't wear sunscreen. Most of my fellow group members are 15-20 years younger than I am--but should I be taking less, or should they be taking more?

In a way I envy them--not having the extra weight and all. But then I hear them talking about how tired they are for the rest of the day, and how they don't recover from their runs. This year I have been feeling pretty good after about an hour of rest after my long runs.

Maybe my stuff and I are just fine!

Friday, July 6, 2007

Mind over matter?

I've been running for a few years now, since 2000. Not always consistently, by any means, but over time, I have some decent miles on my legs and muscle memory can take over where my training leaves off.

But when marathon training season comes around, I start having the same doubts every time, i.e. "What the hell am I doing this for?" or "I hate running long!" or "Am I going to be able to finish this long run?"

Clearly, after 4 marathons, I can go the distance. I just find it strange that sometimes my mind has more power than my body - or actually, that I GIVE my mind the power over my body. So maybe it's just a matter of "don't think, just run."

Sunday, July 1, 2007

An Ode to a First Aid Kit

Today after my long run, I had to deal with a huge blister and a hole rubbed in my middle toe. I have also been taping my feet before every run with trainer's tape. I realize that my pre- and post-running first aid supplies have taken over the table next to my couch and there was no room for the usual remote, coaster and box of tissues!

Now you may say that a normal person would just put all of this stuff back in the medicine cabinet after being done with it. The problem is that the last thing you want to do after running over 10 miles and finally sitting down, is get up again!

So now, I have a first aid box that I keep under the couch. Here are its contents:
  • Trainer's tape in 1.5 and 1 inch widths
  • Small scissors for cutting the tape
  • Body Glide
  • Bottle of hydrogen peroxide
  • Cotton balls
  • Sterilized quilting pin for lancing blisters
  • Tube of bacitraycin
  • Box of band-aids
  • Air Salonpas spray
  • Jar of menthol ice gel
  • Tube of foot cream with menthol

Now, anyone that comes to my house will not know that running has taken over my life... unless they happen to know me. ;-)

Thursday, June 28, 2007

My first marathon - the why, how, and after

Twin Cities Marathon Oct 2003.

I didn't take the traditional route to doing a marathon. The marathon was my first race EVER. Now what was I thinking?!? Who knew there were other races out there. :) We were in the process of buying our first house in Jan. 2003 and our mortgage lady said she ran marathons and I was like I can do that too. So I found a book, "The Non Runners Guide to Marathon Training" and started to train on my own. So I trained using that book and then switched over to Hal Higdon's novice plan in July. I had ups and downs through the training. I kept getting injuries, mainly pains in my feet after a certain distance and needing to back off and start up again.

Needless to say going into the marathon was scary and nerve racking. My longest run to date was a 17 miler and that didn't go so well because my foot hurt. So I even questioned myself if I was going to even run the darn thing. I was so worried I wouldn't finish. It didn't even cross my mind that I wouldn't walk parts of the race because who knew other runners kinda look down on other runners that walk. Silly me, this race was for me and not them.

I can remember standing at the start line as it was yesterday. My heart was beating as fast as it could and my mind kept racing. What the hell was I thinking? What am I doing here? Wow, there are a lot of people that run these things. Will I finish? When is the horn going to blow?

It sounded and there we were off. I felt fine up through 7 miles. Then I kept getting tired. I was so tired at the half and realized I had half more to go. What was I thinking? Can I do this? I trudged on. Mile 19 - Man, I'm stupid, why am I out here, 26.2 miles is a long ways. My feet hurt and my legs are super tired. But all I kept thinking was I can't stop. I need to keep moving forward.

The last 10k is a blur. I can't even reminder how I got through it. At mile 26 and seeing the finish line a big smile came to my face and I ran as fast as I could. That meant I could stop running and rest and get off my feet. My legs, body, and mind were so sore. It took a lot of mental power to get through the last 10k. I didn't have a big emotional meltdown after I crossed the finish line as I was to emotional drained from just finishing a marathon. I was super happy I finished but wished I had done better.

Hey, it was my first and I did enjoy it and look I'm hooked. I've completed a total of 4 and currently training for number 5. But it took awhile. I totally took off running for 3 months since I couldn't think of running anymore. But I decided I wanted to run another one so I started training again in Jan of 2004 for the Grandma's Marathon in June 2004. Running marathons is a gradual process and I learn something new everytime I train and run another one. I don't get as nervous at the start line but I always do question myself during training but in the end I always finish the race even if it's not what I was hoping for.

What you can't reach makes you stronger as you strive to reach it.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Epiphany waiting to happen

I have sat many hours thinking over my running and realized I have made huge improvements since I first started in 2002. Then how come my mind frame is still stuck in the past? I need to get past my fears and limitiations and not be afraid to finally surpass what I am seeking. I know I'm not that slow awkward runner anymore who was scared to look at her shadow while running because it wasn't a pretty sight.

My running times reflect something different than a slow runner of what I thought. I have improved significantly and then that raises a whole new set of issues for me. Can I get any faster? Do I want to? I know running should be about enjoying it and not worrying about what other runners do but for me it's all about the time. It has to do with the competitiveness nature within myself. I know I can do better, so how can that realization be made. What happens if the goal isn't met? I know I will never win but it's something about the numbers and where you stack up against other runners. I think our world forces people to judge one another and look down upon people who aren't at their same level. I think that is what I get when I run. Even though I have completed marathons I feel my finishing times aren't worthy enough as they were well over 5 hours. You always get asked, "Will you ever run Boston" "So what was your time?" You give it and they are like "wow that's a long time to be out there." "Did you then get picked up by the bus" I just get this feeling that anything over 5 hours isn't deem in high regard to other runners that finish faster. I want to get the same recognition of someone who finished faster. I am just slower but deserve the credit for being out there and it has nothing to do with poor training. Do you really think I enjoy being out there that long? Don't get me wrong, I love that I have finished all of my marathons but deep down in my heart I know I could have done better.

How come it's hard to change a mind set that is no longer true. Changing the way you look at reality is a tricky thing. Maybe it's just something you learn as you grow older and wiser. I don't know but it's something I struggle with. I also think body image issues come along with losing weight and they are all in the same mind set of beleiving you have gotten better/faster. For me running and losing weight have so much in common it's hard to wrap my mind around it all at once. For example: Shopping for clothes / running clothes. Why do you always go for the bigger size when you should try the next size down. Is it habit? Or are you afraid you don't fit in that next size? Whatever it is, it challenges the way you think. I think changes or epiphanies happen over time little by little sometimes without even realizing it and that is hard getting used to.

Shuffling it all around...

I don't know about you, but I have a hard time fitting all my runs in. Sometimes it's because I'm scheduled up to my eyeballs, other times it's because I blew off a run early in the week and then get caught up with shuffling things around to make my remaining runs fit.

This week, for example, I had a work event Tuesday night. Wednesday, I ran just 3 miles, testing out the ITBS, felt fine. Last night, I stopped by my Mom's house to help her w/ something and of course got persuaded to stay for dinner - and I'm sorry, but I can't really run after a steak dinner. Now here it is, Friday afternoon, I can run tonight and tomorrow, but have houseguests arriving at noon and won't be able to run on Sunday.

So, I'm doing my long run tonight (8 miles), and will try to do 3 tomorrow a.m. I've never done an evening long run followed the next morning by short distance. I'll report back on how successful that is. :-)

If nothing else, shifting my long run to Friday THIS week helps w/ next week's scheduling. I'll be on the road starting next Friday a.m., so will do my long run on Thursday. Phew, too much to think about this far in advance...

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Injuries--Peeling the Onion!

I feel like I've been "peeling the onion" with my injuries since I started running. It sems like each injury is another layer in figuring out what needs to happen for me to run.

While training for my first 10K 3 years ago, I was running in my neighborhood. The streets in our neighborhood are narrow, and they slope to allow drainage into the ditch. You are supposed to run facing into the traffic for safety, so I was always running with my left leg on the slope. Soon I had a pain in my hip that I blamed on my dog pulling me into a ditch while she was chasing a rabbit.

I stopped running for a while after that, and took it up again for the same 10K a year later. This time I ran on a local path and didn't really have much pain. I developed Runner's Knee and switched to more supportive inserts and that started going away. I ran 2 half mararthons and my first full marathon.

I then started a Winter base building program. Due to our super-snowy Winter in Colorado, I spent most of my time running on a treadmill. This altered my gait to the point where I got a pinched sciatic nerve and a pain around my hip that just hurt sometimes when I ran but mostly when I sat.

I went to my massage therapist and talked to her about this. I go for a Sports Massage about once a month. She told me that she thinks my pain is ITBS and that I should work with my foam roller and also on strengthening my lower back.

I am trying this, but I'm starting to wonder if I will ever run injury free.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Well, here we are, 2 weeks into training season for my fall marathon, and I'm in slight panic mode because my IT Band is acting up.

I've had this once before, back in 2000 when I did my first marathon. Just a little discomfort during training season, didn't even know what it was, shrugged it off and kept running - that is, until race day, when after a mile-long downhill coming off the 59th street bridge, I was doubled over in pain. Walked the last 10 miles to finish the race, and two weeks post-marathon, when I was still in horrible pain just walking, gave in and saw a sports medicine guy who promptly diagnosed me with ITBS. Took about 5 months to recover from it.

Now here we are, early in the training season, and I'm already passed the mild discomfort stage. Am icing off and on during the day, being very faithful to my stretching, and will hope for the best.

In the meantime, I'm getting recommendations for sports medicine doctors in my area. Harrumph (as she stamps foot in annoyance)...

Friday, June 15, 2007

Twas The Night Before My First Marathon

Well, I'm about to run my first marathon, I still can't believe it's here. As a fun way to visualize myself completing it I felt compelled to create a poem to remind me of how far I've come.



Twas the Night before my first marathon, when all through the house
I was trying to fall asleep, curled up next to my spouse;

My body was hydrated and nourished with care,
In hopes that the finish line soon would be there;

My Optima Orange mixture was poured in my bottles;
In hopes that its formula would result in full throttle;

I lay back and envisioned me in my mesh runner’s cap,
My mind racing as I went over the 26.2 mi course map;

When all of a sudden it was morning, it was time!
I sprang from my bed, I was ready, I was primed!

Away to the kitchen I flew like a sprinter,
And took in the Northern MN scenery, glad it wasn’t winter.

The sun was not up yet, the lake was still dark
But the energy of 9000 runners was making its mark

And suddenly, just then, as I stood in the hall
Out peaked the sun, saying morning to all!

I devoured my breakfast, a carb/protein feast
I would successfully battle the race jitters beast

We loaded the cars on the way to the bus
The mood was calm, no one made a fuss

The bus took us away up the road to Two Harbors
Everyone chattering, like you would to your barber

Hello! Good Morning! Fine Day for a Run!
I hear it might rain! Watch out for the Sun!

Is this your first one? Your first Marathon?
Good Luck! Have a Blast! You’ll Be a Pro Before Long!

I smiled and thought I’m not sure about that,
But then we rounded a bend, the start sign in view
And I got off the bus, the crisp air filled with dew

I wandered around, my sister in tow
Both wondering and waiting, how long till we go?

We found my friend Linda, under the right pace sign
And waited and waited until it was time.

We lined up and pondered whose idea was this?
I could be sleeping or relaxing with Chris!? (DH)

But no time for doubts, with a bang we were off!
We stood there, then walked, then started to trot.

Pretty soon we were running, and at a good clip
A volunteer offered me water and I took a big sip.

We ran and we walked and we ran and we walked,
We remembered our supporters, about them we talked

My running skirt flapped, my brow started to sweat
I poured water on my head, my team jersey proudly wet

We ticked off the miles, 5, 10, and 15,
It was getting warmer, the lake was pristine
(I thought am I really doing this, is this all a dream?)

We ran and we walked and we ran some more
What could be better then running along the North Shore?

Down Highway 61 we ran and we ran
Taking it all in, the beauty, the rigor, the fans

We racked up the miles, we started to slow
But we wouldn’t give in when fatigue tried to show

I listened to my breathing, steady and smooth
I could do it, I’d make it, success would I choose

Mile 17, and 18, 19, and 20
My body was starting to say, “Hey! This is Plenty!”

But I was nearing the end, the farthest I’d ran!
I’d followed my program, this was part of the plan!

We entered Duluth, the trickiest part
You think that you’re done, but that’s sure a lark!

2 more miles to go, running through town
The crowds cheering madly, I didn't dare frown!

Then what to our wondering eyes should appear,
But the finish line sign and the crowds they did cheer

The finish was close, the clock was in sight
I knew I wouldn't have trouble sleeping tonight!

And then we were there, crossing the line
We had made it, together, and in a pretty good time!

We took a quick photo, proof of our feat!
Grabbed bananas and water, slim fast, and carbo treats

We had done it, we finished, 26.2 miles!
And all we could do was just smile, smile, smile.

Running to ease the mind

Let me begin with the simple fact that I am an extremely anxious person. It takes very little to stress me out and it takes a long time for me to let go of things that a "normal" person can brush off easily. Throughout my life I have dealt with this anxiety with either stuffing my face or not eating at all. Neither which have been good for me and neither of which have made me feel any better. Thankfully I have re-found running.

I have been running on and off for 10 years now. I ran in high school on the cross country team and even on non-race days could not disassociate running from competition. Everything was about beating someone else whether it was in miles ran or time from start to finish. In the end, running became more of a stressor than a relaxor.

It took me a few years to learn that I could run for me and that being "slow" or only going for a 2 mile run was not a bad thing. I found that running helped me clear my head. Typically my mind will race a million miles a minute, but when I lace up my shoes and start my run I can sort through my thoughts and calm myself down. I don't find myself reaching for the fridge handle as much anymore but instead I reach for a clean sports bra. And although i still stress too much, and am a little stubborn, I have found something for me, that no one can take from me, that has the ability to make to feel better.

The mental game?

I find the major challenge in my running is getting out the door at all. It's a real struggle for me sometimes to get out there after a sh*tty day at work, and there are MANY of them right now. It's just a matter of remembering how fantastic I feel both mentally and physically after a run. The person who could bottle that feeling would be rich indeed.

On the positive side, I'm much better at pushing myself and my limits during my actual run. Someone on another running board I follow has a quote in his siggy: "Most people never run far enough on their first wind to find out they've got a second. " - William James. I'm trying to live by that now - hey, my legs might be tired, my lungs might be about to burst on a tough hill, but darn it, I'm going to keep going - and sure enough, once I reach the top, I've completed it and I'm still moving. Hills, distance, speed, I'm trying to work that "second wind" on all of them, and am gratified to find it holds true more often than not.

Your friend Lisa hard at work

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Mother and Son running together

This is me and my son Aidan running the 1 mile kid's beach run on Siesta Beach.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Future Topics!

--How do I know if I have what it takes to run a half marathon or a marathon?
--How to find a running club
--How to pick a training plan
--Finding a good running bra
--Finding good shoes
--Injuries in the First Person--my (insert body part) hurts and what I did
--Personal Safety
--Significant Races
--How do I get faster?
--Picking a marathon
--Can I lose weight while training?
--Finding time to run
--Finding time to train
--What to wear to run in what condition
--Treadmill training
--Turning your event into a family vacation
--Gadgets, gizmos and accessories (GPS, Hydration kits, baby joggers anything that helps us!)
--Returning to running after an extended period
We are a group of friends who met through a running message board. All of us wanted to lose weight, be healthy and we all wanted to see if we could finish a half marathon or marathon! Some of us run, some walk, some do a combination of the two. We did it, and we think you can too!

Most of us have run a full marathon; others have run a half marathon and are deciding if they want to run a full marathon

We are just like you. We have jobs, families, school and many reasons not to train, but we have found that we are better for our training and that we have made lasting friendships while we do it.

This site is not a collection of training schedules. There are other places to find those and they are that are written by people who train others for a living for that. This is common advice—the things your girlfriend would tell you—if she were a marathoner, that is!