Tuesday, November 30, 2010

the aftermath..

Yesterday was rough.  Mentally and physically, I was down and no wonder.  26.2 miles is rather far even for me to drive! 

I do know how important the immediate days after a big event are for recovery.  I could barely eat immediately after the marathon.  Those that know me understand how unusual this is!  The chicken bouillon was excellent at the marathon and the hot chocolate milk I had in my ice bath afterward was perfect.  I had a chance to comiserate with friends later that night at a local brew pub for the traditional post event moo and brew (hamburger and beer). 

But still.  There is just an incredible deficit the next day.  Possibly it would be better to take the day off from work but I really like that work forces a fair bit of walking around and interaction with people. 

That really put everything into perspective.  Most inquired after holiday events.  Very few knew that I was running  a marathon.  And those that did aren't runners themselves so don't quite understand the whole mental and physical investment which goes into a marathon.  The typical reaction when they find out?  "You finished?  That's amazing!  congratulations!"  "how far is that?  Really?  I can't imagine!" And for a gal who has run a marathon who when I moaned a bit at how long it took me to finish?  "That's my PR!" 

I was sore yesterday but still could go up and down stairs with no problems.  I was moving a bit slower than usual and felt a bit achy in odd places.  I think I had at least 8 separate meals yesterday (plus dessert) and still went to bed slightly hungry. 

Today?  Much, much better.  Legs feel, well, not 100% but not nearly as sore.  My brain isn't foggy.  I do have a spot on a foot which got sorer and sorer yesterday while I was having to run all about at work.  That is requiring some TLC and it will appreciate some time off my feet in a few days. 

the race itself?  I'm still rather shocked how it all played out. it's something to ponder and think about but not obsess about.  yes, I'm glad I finished.  I'm happy to take a bit of time off from running now.  The rain and wind we are having now is only making sitting on the couch that much better! 

And to those who gave much needed words of encouragement yesterday?  thank you. 

Sunday, November 28, 2010

It Takes a Village….The 2010 Seattle Marathon.

I swore I’d never run the Seattle Marathon in November.  It’s in November.  In Seattle.  The course (like most of Seattle) is ridiculously hilly.  Did I mention the whole November thing? 

What does this marathon have going for it?  Location, location, location.  I can sleep in my own bed.  I know the course well and I am used to running hills.  It’s not too big and it’s not too small.  It’s well organized with good volunteer support in often perfect (for a northwesterner) temps.  After the DNF to the half distance in the Lincoln, Nebraska marathon in May, I came back hoping to run a late 2010 marathon.  I just wasn’t sure which one and gradually realized the weather was going to be a major issue if I tried for a marathon in the south.  Last week we had SnOMG in Seattle.  The city was paralyzed by inches of snow and sub-freezing temps.  Any temps above 50 would feel hot to me at this time of year so I’m glad Seattle won out. 

I’d had some ongoing hip issues which are rather complicated.  After taking some easy weeks  and finding a good PT, I was back to running well.  Reach the Beach was a success and I ran some good 5ks/10ks this summer.  Marathon training also went well although I played it conservatively knowing my hip would probably start acting up with too many miles too soon. I also didn’t feel the need to do a lot of long runs for this same reason.  So I finished training tired and with some seemingly minor tweaks but feeling good about the work I’d done.  Sure I’d had some tough runs but haven’t we all?

And then I tapered.  And everything felt worse and worse.  I’d had a little tweak on the back of my knee.  After some days off and the extra rest, that started to feel fine but my hamstring started to get really sore.  Really?  Then the SnOMG hit and I knew running on snow/ice was just stupid at that point so I ran even less. 

Having the race on the Sunday after Thanksgiving is actually really nice.  I got a lot of sleep and enjoyed the downtime.  There was lots going on too which kept me nicely distracted.  Of course, the day before hit and I was extremely nervous.   Eventually I decided I’d go ahead and go out at race pace and come what may, I’d finish as long as nothing felt like it was going to be injured.  Temps and weather ended up being great.  40 degrees and perfect. 

People were asking what pace I’d planned on going out and I kept it pretty close.  I really wasn’t too ready to discuss it.  But I let a few people know.  DH was dropping off and picking up only so I thought.   I carried a small handheld water bottle as I find it just easier to avoid water stops and those pesky paper cups.  Short sleeves with arm panties, half tights and calf panties (for warmth actually).  I was comfortable the whole race. 

The Race (you knew there was one here right?):

1st 5k – I hit the first three miles perfectly at 8:47, 8:33 (downhill), 9:00 (uphill) and felt good and looking forward to the rest of the race.

2nd 5k – I noticed heart rate was up.  Yes, I was going uphill but it still seemed higher than it should be.   8:47, 8:27 (big downhill and in a tunnel so no wind at all), 9:19. This is where I started thinking of all the people in my life who have helped me and persevered themselves.  This was Gramma’s 5k.  A tough as nails woman who married 3 times, went through Indian schools, the depression and wars.  She was my savior during my childhood.  She died when I was in college and would be really worried about women running, I’m sure.  But I kept thinking about how tough it must’ve been for her and smiled when running.

3rd 5k – This part is on a floating bridge and wasn’t as bad as I was expecting.  9:01, 9:47, 9:22.  Hmmm.  On the floating bridge, the road is canted.  Between the cant and the bit of a breeze, I was having trouble staying where I wanted to be.  I kept drifting off into the gutter (certifiable = :p).  Hamstring/hip were a bit tight but nothing was hurting.  Why can’t I control my leg? This 5k was for mom.  A single mom since I was born.  How did she do it?  Life was tough with her in many ways when I was growing up and now as an adult I appreciate what she did on so many levels.  She can be focused and relentless sometimes and I understand why and how I got some of those same characteristics from her.  I really wonder what type of runner she’d have been if given a chance?

4th 5k – well the legs just aren’t working very well.  I just can’t get any oomph in them and I’m already slogging.  Mile 11?  Really?  I’d hope if it came to this, it would come later.  And the surprise at mile 11ish, DH is there!  I didn’t expect to see him and he needs some work on cheering because I nearly didn’t hear him.  I was shocked!  And quickly handed him my empty water bottle to refill.  I said I’d see him on the back from Seward Park.  And then I started to walk and knew it was going to get tough.  I did debate getting a ride from DH at this point.  But my worries of a pulled hamstring or a serious limp hadn’t happened yet.  Onward.  My childhood friends?  I was thinking of you this 5k.  School was a tough experience in a lot of ways and we made it through and are still friends.  I’m a much better person because of you all and I always remember that when we are able to get together in person. 

5th 5k – I see DH here again and ask him to warn those waiting for me down the line that things are not going so well.  He’s his usual cheerful self in the face of obvious disappointment.  Team 3 from marathons running board, this 5k is for you.  I think of SuperRon a lot and even met him a few years ago.  Speedy Smurf, Golden_monkey (nee Hermit crab), davidk, Linda, Dusty, barkeep, foggydoggy, BobS, gonadsgo, rtodd (I know I’m leaving out people) all saw me through my first two marathons and the very new runner I was when I joined the boards in 2004.  I wouldn’t be the runner I am now without that support.

6th 5k – DH had let slip that JCB would be meeting me at some point to help run me in.  Last year at the seattle half marathon I paced JCB to a PR of under 2 half marathon.  I was so proud of her PR and the work she’d done this year to just get stronger and faster from there.  EO was also there cheering and joined us running.  It made the miles go much quicker.  I’d walk at times so the hip/hamstring/adductor would loosen and then run for a while all the while listening to JCB’s stories.  Marathon forum?  This is your 5k.  We’ve had those tough runs, great runs, tough moments in life and joyous moments in life and I treasure them all. 

7th 5k – The hills start along in here and really, at this point, it didn’t matter.  Downhill hurt so might as well go uphill.  CL joined us right at the Madison hill.  A numerous ironman finisher/kona qualifier and my coach, she knows what it’s like when it is tough out there.  The stories and subtle encouragement continued.  I do like this part of the course and know it pretty well.  My legs just ached.  There was no way around that but I might as well finish now. Can I come in under 5 hours?  Probably.  JCB peeled off to her car with much thanks.  Ya wanna do a marathon now, JCB?  Ha!  My local running group and now friends get this 5k shout out.  Wow.  What a great bunch of people who continually amaze me with the support that comes (in many forms!) to any who needs it.  I feel honored to be a part of it all.  Here’s to more good times in 2011!

8th 5k – Another good friend RPD and Dh are waiting at mile 22.  Yippee!  This part of the course is my favorite and very pretty and it was a boost seeing them.  I’ve been on relay teams with RPD and have cheered at other races and mocked him for his lack of cheering abilities.  I am pleased to report, he shouted loud enough for me to hear him from far away!  Woohoo!  Cheering is hard work as we all know and he’s got it down.  Glad I could help.  This 5k?  DH, of course.  I am certain he cannot quite figure out what happened when he offered to go running with me when I first thought about running a 5k.  There is just too much to say here so I won’t. 

To the finish – well I’m really struggling.  The leg just doesn’t work very well and my foot really slaps down at times.  Both feet are killing me anyway.  I usually then have to walk a bit when that happens as I just don’t think it’s a good thing as it just gets worse and worse unless I let things rest a bit.   CL is her usual encouraging self and the miles pass quickly enough.  I can’t quite believe I’m going to set a PW by an hour but there it is. 

4:56 chip time. 

I did put the finish-another-marathon demon to rest.  I’m happy about that.  Physically this was much harder than mentally and that is a switch for me.  I’ve always struggled more mentally.  Is this good or bad?  I cannot tell.  I don’t feel injured so hopefully this is just another one of those odd hip/leg things which will settle down now with some rest. It’s back to the PT for sure.  

And of course, I am disappointed and not a little teary about things.  It is what it is.  I’m not sure what is next except the crazy trail 25k I’m signed up for in February.  The marathon demon is alive and well but I’m not sure when that one will be addressed. 

Thanks for reading and thanks for all the support.  I couldn’t have done it without everyone and that is for certain. 

Thursday, November 25, 2010

I'm dreaming of a white Thanksgiving?

Happy Thanksgiving!  

 It's snowing right now in Seattle and all week we've had unseasonable low temps.  How low?  We saw 19 on our thermometer.  The temps dropped on Monday, we got dumped on in blizzard-like conditions and the temps have stayed below freezing since.  Today the snow will transition to rain and that is just fine.  Our street on top of a hill becomes a snow-packed skating rink.  We can walk down the hill to get to buses and still get to work but driving is out (for me at least). With the hills and inexperienced drivers (I include myself in that), it can be bumper cars out on the streets. 

It really is a forced taper!  There is no way I'd go run in this unless I could easily get to the path around Green Lake.  Snow running (in screw shoes) is great fun as long as you don't have to watch for hidden curbs/potholes and the disturbingly stupid SUV drivers.  So there has been lots of sitting on the couch with cats and they are very thankful for this weather!  Do you see how smug and content Keswick looks? 

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Oh Taper, how I love thee. Let me count the ways.

My legs are tight and stiff and I feel blah.

How can I run a marathon on these legs?

It was SNOWING today and the forecast is for the high not to be above FREEZING the next couple of days.

Why am I running a marathon in Seattle in late November?

Every ache I've had over this training cycle seems to be amplified right now.  26.2 miles?  Really? 

It's time to get outta my head and not worry about it.  Time to trust the training AND the taper. 

The most telling item for me is that I took a spill on my run tuesday morning.  I was trying to hurry to get out of the way of a car which wasn't going to see me and misjudged a curb and splat.  down I went.  I was afraid I'd broken my wrist at first but i just have a nice big bruise.  I didn't land all too hard on my hip/outside of knee as it was on grass.  Still I have a very colorful bruise on the outside of my knee.  It's a mild fall.  I was sore from it for a couple days but not bad.

before each of my previous two marathons, I have also taken a fall in the week before the marathon.  Before Eugene, the fall was bad enough for my knee to swell up and I couldn't run for a few days as it was so sore and swollen.  Hey!  Things are better now.  I fell over a week before the marathon and it wasn't too bad.

Why do I fall at this point?  I've had to think about it a bit.  Training is done.  I have to cut back miles and take the time to rest.  I relax.  It's that feeling of relaxing and training is done which prompts the inattention.  And boom.  Down I go.   

Everyone has been asking me what pace I'm aiming for and I'm am not even willing to discuss it.  Nope.  it's too early.  I'll know the day off the race.  Meanwhile, I'll relax and not fall and I won't be doing anymore runs in the dark because of the days off coming with the Thanksgiving holiday.  I know not to worry about how my legs feel before a race.  Feeling blah doesn't predict anything. 

I am very excited about the marathon and it's time to just focus on that.  So I will. 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Seattle Marathon random musings.

Even with the threat of a winter storm in the Cascades pending, I'm realizing that training, taper and marathon recovery fits well for me with the Seattle Marathon in late November.

It was a bit tough to get up for those early morning runs once it got so dark but it did stay warmer this fall.  Yeah, it's been wet but I never find the rain all that bad.  And here it doesn't typically rain that hard or for that long.  Now as I approach the marathon (less than two weeks!), it is a pleasure not getting up in the dark to go for a run.  Ha! And I'm sure after the marathon, I'll happily take it easy with all the holiday fuss and weather issues.

I've tested out what I want to wear for the marathon and I'm prepared for it all.  The worst possible weather I could have would be temps over 50 degrees.  fortunately, that is pretty unlikely here at this time!  I feel like I should go light some candles to the running gods with that statement however.  No heat wave in November, please!  

I looked back at what I've done for taper for the past two marathons and realized it was probably way too much.  I can see that now with some experience.  After a bit of discussion with my coach, I'm planning on about 25 miles this week (60% of weekly mileage) with some shorter and faster stuff (800s at half marathon pace with full recoveries).  I got a massage and really need to focus on staying loose.  next week, I'll just run 10-12 miles in the week before with a couple at just below marathon pace 3-4 days out from the marathon.

It's tough to go from running so much to barely running at all.  I get really stiff and that can pull hips/back out of alignment for me. I've got a slightly annoyed hamstring/adductor which should settle down with rest and some TLC.   I'll continue to do some easy core/weights on a regular basis and my daily yoga.  Keswick as you can see above really enjoys these sessions! 

I really hope it just pours this coming week.  I'll be inside knitting. 

No sign of Taper Madness.  yet.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Giving Thanks!

I made it to taper!  Oh it was getting close there.  I've been consistently hitting workouts although it's been tough the past 10 days as I was definitely getting tired.  I opted for a two week taper knowing with my overall lower mileage, taking too much of a cut was going to leave my legs feeling a bit lost.  I am definitely looking forward to some rest.  Two weeks tomorrow, I'll be lining up at Seattle Center for marathon number three.  I can't wait!  I already have the pub picked out where I want a hamburger and beer (race tradition!). 

Between getting in the miles (thankful I'm healthy enough to have gotten through all workouts), busy work (thankful for a well-paying job I enjoy) and various house projects, it's been very full weeks lately.  

K's parents are in town visiting and we will host Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow evening.  I'm really looking forward to them visiting and having everyone (my mom and K's brother included) over for a nice afternoon.  Last year we ended up doing this as well.  K's parents ended up staying with us as his brother was sick with a bad flu at the time and they didn't want to be exposed.  it worked out well as we were just back from England and dealing with a terminally ill Dexter the Cat.  While we were at work, they were able to hang out with him at home and made this very social cat content.

I still really miss Dexter and Legos.  Looking at photos of Dex still causes a tearing up though of course we have new felines who are near and dear to our hearts now.  Keswick (black) and York (orange) are a year and a half old and goofy, affectionate, friendly, active... Basically they are just wonderful.  Keswick is already a lap cat and just requires a look. He'll then fall over and let you scritch his belly.  York is orange cat cool.  He's busy and into his toys yet affectionate and sweet.  It's not uncommon to have both cats on your lap snoozing. 

I did spend many weekends and evening working on painting trim, walls and ceiling of our new room off the kitchen.  We are calling it the Blue Room 'cause of the blue painted walls. This room was formally known as the Awkward Addition off the Kitchen (AAK) because it was just awful looking and this former garage had been converted to a room long ago.   It's amazing to have the last room of the house renovated.  Finally!  Once I'd painted that room, I realized the kitchen needed a new coat of paint as it's been over 10 years since we remodeled.

That meant painting over one last very visible reminder of Dexter.  He'd walked through paint and left his very clear pawprint on the corner of the windowsill in the kitchen (white paw print) York, continuing Orange Cat Tradition, could not stay out of the windowsill while paint dried.  yep, he too managed to track paint over counter and floor.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Long Run

Three weeks from the Seattle Marathon.

I've had some very good workouts lately and have been feeling very strong.  The half marathon (done in the middle of 17 miles) with 6 at goal marathon pace (8:45) and three at go for it pace (8:15) confirm for me that I'm stronger than ever.

I had one of those workouts that I was nervous about this past week.  10 miles with 6 @ 8:20.  it was a little tough to get to sleep the night before. I was that keyed up about it.  Why?  I'd done 5 at 8:19 the week before while recovering from the above mentioned half marathon/long run the week before.  That one had been so tough.  I'd done it and I knew I could do it again.

And I did.  And I even ran that last mile uphill and was only 10 seconds off pace (for an overall pace of 8:12 for those miles).  It had felt easier than last week and heart rate was lower.

So 20 miles on the schedule this week.  This is the longest I'll go and it more of a mental check than anything.  I'd done a very thorough core/glute workout thursday evening and was sore the next day at work.  Then my low back tightened up at work too.  I was careful with lifting at work and made it through the day with no damage.  I quick and gentle yoga session helped.  I woke saturday morning and back was better but still a bit touchy.

20 miles.  I don't even drive 20 miles in a week.  The first 11 were at a very easy pace helping mark a running course for a group run for the Coach Lesley group.  I like marking courses.  It forces an easy pace as you have to stop and pretend you have no idea where you are going and then draw chalk arrows on the ground.  run, run, run and chalk again.  I happened to be running with a couple gals so the chatter helped.  They'd keep running while I chalked and I'd slowly catch back up. 

11 miles over some pretty good hills and I was not feeling great.  Everything felt tight and even a bit achy but nothing was hurting.  I talked myself out of 20 miles again and again but finally decided I NEEDED this run mentally more than anything.  So at 11, I filled my water bottle again and set off this time on my own.  The other gals weren't doing any thing as silly as training for a marathon (at this point).

9 miles.  It really helped to break it up.  I only had 9 miles.  heck, I'd run 10 mid-week.  Again everything was achy and tight but nothing really hurt so onward.  I stopped for another gel and more water and to turn on some music and just continued on.  The miles ticked off quickly enough.  I started to have some math/thinking problems as I figured out how long I had to go out and back to arrange to end at a particular place where K would meet me and we'd have breakfast.

I felt like I was totally slogging on but pace was just typical long run pace if not a touch faster.  Mentally though, it took every ounce of control to keep running.  I have no idea why this was so tough but it was.

20 miles done.  Physically I feel fine the next day and had a great 4 miler where I actively had to slow myself down.  Mentally?  That was EXACTLY the workout I needed.  And I'm grateful for it.

3 weeks.  One more pretty serious workout this friday with a long run to follow.  Taper begins in earnest then.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Pumpkin Push 2010

Pumpkin Push 5k number 5 for me I believe.  I've not done another race for so many years.  The first time I ran a 5k here in 2004, I set a 5-minute 5k PR (personal record) so this race has some fond memories.  usually it's freezing.  Sometimes, it rains. No, there is no pumpkin pushing and i always try to wear a costume. 

Good times!  The Wicked Witch of the East was a great costume.  You remember, right?  Dorothy's house lands on the Wicked Witch of the East and Glenda the Good Witch puts the ruby shoes onto Dorothy's feet?  I got a lot of laughs.  It was fun listening to people working out what the costume as I ran past.  It would usually elicit a snort of laughter.

And it wasn't too bad running with the box on my head.  it was a little hard to see and I was worried about the start which is a little crowded.  No troubles though as I lined up in the right area and I had two other gals with me who ran ahead of me for the first quarter mile.  They ran interference and I could just follow.  That was helpful. 

The last mile, I could feel my neck and shoulders getting tense from holding the box but then i was done.  There was even a costume contest and I was cheered to one of three winners.  Nice! 

And I got a solid workout in and still was able to get my long run in the next day. 

If you've never done it, I highly recommend running a race in costume.  The smiles and the laughter are good for everyone!