That which does not kill us, makes us stronger. - Nietzsche

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

I am soooo thrilled to be here....

They really should limit photography to the first half of a race, max. Because after that point I no longer look enthusiastic about running.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Race report - Heart Half Marathon

First of all, something you may not know about me: my lucky number is 11. I was born on the 11th, in numerology (if you are inclined to believe in such things), my number is 11.  I met my husband on the 11th. Two years later, he proposed on the 11th, and so on. It's a recurring theme in my life (that and double numbers in general, which I also like).

So this morning, after arriving to the race a bit later than I planned, struggling to find parking and the packet pickup, already seriously nervous about my tendinitis and the hilly course,  they hand me the envelope containing my bib, which I open to find.....

BIB NUMBER 1111. I said "NO EFFING WAY" out loud.

There was no way in hell I was going to have a bad race after that. And I didn't.

I have been so tied up in my stupid foot tendinitis, my crazy work schedule, and training for an Ironman that I have had NO time to think about this race. I had no strategy. I hadn't even looked up the course online. Running Buddy asked me beforehand if I was going to run with a pace team and I had completely forgotten that they had pace teams.

I had thought a little about a goal - I wanted to do a sub-10 pace, since that's what I want for my marathon pace. I also had thought about doing it at a 10ish pace, a little faster than a long run pace, and maybe speeding up at the end. I had also thought about running it Garminless and winging it.

What I decided, at the last minute, was to run with the 2:10 (9:55 pace) pacer. I was a little nervous about it. On a good day, it would be a no-brainer, but it's a hilly course and my foot has hurt and I haven't ran as much as I liked lately because my foot hurt and when I have ran lately it's felt kinda sucky (besides last weekend.)

The pacer, though, was awesome awesome awesome. Now I really want to do a 4:20 marathon because he's pacing that too. And the course? Nary a flat spot on it. Nearly 6 miles in is a big hill, which we actually walked - but the pacer, with his longer-than-mine male legs,  got ahead of me. Fortunately, I sprinted downhill (through crazy walls of people) to catch up with him. After that is when I started feeling not so great. I got sick of the hills. They lost me on a hill, and I saw my pace group slipping away....but they slowed down so I could catch them! Nicest pace group EVER. It also helped my willpower, just trying to stick with the group. No thinking about anything else, just stay with the group.

And got hot. When we got to the Purple People Bridge (mile 10) and I started feeling sick. Icky sick. I told Ian the pacer that I was going to throw up and he, and a woman in our group, started arguing with me about whether or not that would happen and whether or not I should puke on them if it happened. The pace group got ahead of me around mile 11, and Ian was nice enough to run back for me. He told me that I felt like crap now but I'd feel great in a mile. "No, I won't!" I was pretty adamant about that. They pulled ahead of me, but we had gotten to mile 10 ahead of schedule. Our average pace (I can't set the Garmin to show my at-the-moment pace, makes me too neurotic) had been 9:49. It was creeping up a little at a time, but I was surprised at how slowly it was creeping up, since I felt like I was moving at a snail's pace. I realized I could still totally own that 2:10. The bridge back to Ohio was HOT. Soooooo hot. I caught sight of the building downtown that broadcasts the time and the temperature - 68 degrees. And sunny. YUCK.

Ian came back my way again. He was rescuing a girl behind me who was struggling. He pointed out how we were both smiling on the uphill. I was smiling? Really? I was squinting in the sun, I could figure that much out. "I'm just delirious!!" I blurted out.

Over the bridge. WAAAAY too many twists and turns before the finish line. The pace group turned around and I flashed them a thumbs up. I really was ok, I told myself, I just couldn't get my legs to move any faster. For that matter, I probably couldn't get them to move slower. They were doing their own thing and if I thought about it too much, I'd probably just collapse.

And then....the finish line! I saw it. It couldn't be that far, but it wasn't getting any closer, or so it seemed. But it did. And I got there. I forced myself not to look at the Garmin, but when I said 2:59:54. Holy crap. I think I pulled it off.

That I did....I got my official results from the results tent and realized what a strong race I had really run. These are the stats they gave me:

5k split: 30:50 (9:57 pace)
10k split: 1:01:28 (9:55 pace)
15k split: 1:31:45 (9:52 pace)
13.1 time: 2:09:52 (9:55 pace)

Also interesting is that they gave me my rank at each split, which went from 1215 to 1190 to 1115 to 1070, which means I DID race smart. My last two miles were each over 10, so I slowed down a little, but not too much in the overall scheme of things.

I feel awesome about that race - way better than I've felt about a race in a long, long time. And I'm back to feeling awesome about marathon training and marathon running. And that foot? I realized after a while that while fatigue was setting in and the normal legs-hating-me-after-all-those-hills was in full effect, my foot barely had a whimper about what I was doing to it. The big huge blister on my left foot was way angrier than my peroneal tendon, which is fine by me.

Awesome awesome awesome. I'm gonna enjoy this high for a while, and then maybe I'll get around to updating my recent training reports for ya'll. I know you've missed them.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

absence makes the heart grow fonder

I'm still around! Between work, training, and the foot injury, I've been struggling a little recently and have been seriously low on time and energy. I think I'm about to be able to change it, though.

Last week, I took a whole week off from running and I'm sticking with the doctor-recommended 5-7 miles for runs this week. I think I'm doing well enough that I can conservatively run a half marathon this weekend and then get back into training, as long as I'm smart about it. I see the doc for a follow-up tomorrow. Sunday it was beautiful and I may have overcompensated for my lack of running by biking 40 (non-flat) miles. That turned out to be a few days worth of energy suck and soreness.

Plus, work has been insanely stressful lately. I may have gotten into a situation at work about a month ago that left superiors questioning my dedication and work ethic. I made a mistake, but I think it was a silly situation blown way out of proportion. Anyway, I've been on a mission to redeem myself by going above and beyond at work. I think I have definitely been successful at that, but I've been spreading myself awfully thin and knocking my life out of balance. So, I've reset some boundaries at work, and my immediate supervisor was able to support and vouch for me, so that will be a little better. (As much better as it gets when one works in mental health!)

I'm trying to put things back into balance and I cut a few workouts this week. I've been tired. Daylight savings time hasn't helped. My husband pointed out last night that I wear myself out during the day and as soon as I hit the couch to watch tv at night, I crash. He's right. I need to rebalance some things.

Although I do have one more commitment now, but it's worth throwing another ball in to juggle. The local running store is starting a program called From Sit to Fit. It's pretty similar to couch to 5k, but in a way fun group environment. They want to start them in various neighborhoods/suburbs all over Cincinnati, and they're starting in my area! So I put in my application to be a coach, and I was accepted!! I am WAY excited about this. The head coach of my group is one of the Pig group coaches, whom I've ran with several times, and she's great. Plus, I've had this thought lately about trying to make a career out of mental health AND exercise, and this will be a good step in that journey. So, despite my already busy life, could I say no??? Nope.

So I'm gearing up for the next month and a half to be crazy, but hopefully amazing.

Right now, I'm taking advantage of a LITTLE bit of down time before I go to an easy-paced yoga class, to stretch out the remaining effects of too much, too soon on the bike. Tomorrow, a quick swim (maybe) to get the blood flowing to the injured foot. Saturday, rest. Sunday, half marathon. Next week, back to your regularly scheduled programming.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

grumbly foot

I still owe ya'll a race report, but....

It's not my achilles. Once it calmed down, I was able to figure out where the pain was coming from (as opposed to an all-over heel pain that I assumed was the achilles). I went to the running store's free injury clinic tonight, and a podiatrist informed me that it's actually the peroneal tendon, which was my best guess as well.

I feel like I know more about the lower leg anatomy than a med school student.

Anyway, he SAYS it's something he sees all the time and it's relatively fixable by adjusting some things in my shoes (heel lifts and cork to lift up my midfoot a bit) and I'll be fine for the Pig, and to keep runs to 5-7 miles for right this second. I also am not allowed to go shoeless in my house anymore, which makes me sad. I HATE SHOES.

I want to be optimistic and I'm trying to enjoy a little extra downtime (and it really is just a little, since I'm still swimming and biking) but part of me can't really be optimistic because my foot hurts. And I don't know when it won't hurt. And I don't much like it.

The good news is that I've discovered KT tape's less pretty, more durable cousin: leukotape. It holds up a million times better and seems to be making a difference.

I wonder if I'll ever have a marathon training cycle where I'll be able to actually follow a training plan without injury derailing it.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

achilles heel....we all have 'em

...literally and figuratively. And right now, mine just happens to be both.

It's been a little sore for about a week, but not debilitatingly so, and I chalked it up to adjusting to shoes with a lower heel drop. Monday, I tried breaking in my new mirages, which have an even lower heel drop, which I LOVE.

Except my achilles got a little worse. Then I ran again, and it got a little worse - I had a slight limp the next morning, although it went away pretty quickly. So I skipped my next planned run, but I did run the 10k I had on the schedule yesterday. I went back to wearing the triumphs, and ran it pretty conservatively. It wasn't bad until about mile 5, when a minor annoyance started feeling like someone was pinching my heel.

Yesterday I was limping. Today, not as much. I plan to take a break from running and focus on the cross-training for a few days at least. Honestly, it's going to be a good week to do it. I have extra work responsibilities and I'm going to a concert with the husband on Wednesday, so I'd have to skip the group run anyway. I was thinking I wouldn't have time to get in all my training without driving myself crazy.

I'd like to do the 15 miler next Saturday, and run it slowly, because I do want to get the long runs in. I am also willing to be smart about it. Unlike last year at this time, when pain made me think "how do I manage to run with this", it's making me realize I need to NOT run right now.

BUT...I am freaking out a little. It was this time last year when I was knocked out of Pig training. That same 10k was my last successful run until May. I use "successful" lightly because I crossed the finish line crying from pain, and pain does NOT make me cry. That night, I literally could not walk. This time, I'll admit, it's not NEARLY that bad. And it's obviously tendon and not bone.

I'm still freaking out a little just because of the timing. I am icing, stretching, going to put a heel lift in my shoe, trying everything I can to help make this thing GO THE EFF AWAY.

The bonus in all of this: a conservatively run 10k was still a PR. Race report to come.