Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Race Report: Alki Beach Run 5k

One of the benefits of being at the peak of fitness for your own body, is that you can really kill on shorter races.

My friend, Holly, and I signed up for the Alki Beach Run 5k last Sunday, and it was a blast! The weather was perfect, the route was a flat out and back along the water, and I knew this was going to be the 5k that I broke the 30 minute barrier.

I know I've been getting faster, I can feel it. I've been running with Brie in the mornings, and she's much faster than I, but I've been able to keep up with her. I've also had some surprisingly fast first halves of my long runs... but I've really been looking to do a timed race again.

The announcer starts by saying, if you run 5-6 minute miles you should be up front. If you run 7-8 minute miles you can be back by him, and the walkers will be in the back...

hahaha... oh alright, I'll go behind the stroller brigade...

The first mile went so fast! I finished it in 9:44. Having the garmin made it so much easier to keep my pace. I was able to look down and notice when I was slowing, and counteract it. Mile 2 was a little more difficult as the sun came out, and I was over dressed for the heat. There was this tall, thin blonde runner in front of me. I had to work hard to keep up with her, but I knew that if I did I would meet my goal.

The last mile was so great! I know I could have pushed harder at the end. We were coming to mile 2.5 and I wanted to kick it up, but decided to wait until I was closer to the finish line.

A quarter of a mile later I ran as hard as I could, and finished... 28:30!

Here's our photo on the beach :)

Even though I'm really excited with this new PR, I know I could have done even better!

I would love to do a 10k, so I'm keeping my eyes peeled for the perfect one!

The marathon is less than a week away... I'm so excited! :)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

New Choooos :)

Well, sort of new. After forgetting my beloved Brooks Adrenaline GTS 8's when I went to Vancouver for the Half Marathon, I had been running in the Asics I picked up from the Running Room.

The Asics were fine. During the Vancouver half I noticed a foot pain I had never experienced before. I was ready to dismiss the Asics to being gym shoes, or maybe used for tennis. But I took them out on a few more runs and found them to work just fine!

Until about two months ago.

I started getting that same pain in my foot. Usually I would get it post mile 7, and it would go away in my ice bath. Then when I did my 20-mile run, I had to foot pain for a week and a half afterward. I kept running on it, of course, because I'm ridiculous.

So after the scare of this pain being a stress fracture, I figured I'd bring back my old Brooks just to see how they felt. And I ran 11 miles in them, pain free!

Yesterday I ran out and got a new pair of my oldies but goodies. They were practically glowing in the dark this morning :) I need to run them through a few puddles or something before the marathon.

I really feel ready to this... is that strange?

(Yes, this is a post about my shoes... whatcha gonna do?)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Real Runners do it in the rain

I woke up Saturday morning to Deb calling to confirm our meeting spot, as she was pulling into her parking spot.

Shit! My alarm didn't go off.

I raced out the door and pulled into the parking spot next to Deb 20 minutes later. It's a good thing I had set out all of my stuff the night before.

This was my first chance to use my garmin forerunner... and it was AWESOME! (screen cap below)

Deb and I began our 11-mile run on Alki, and it was raining steadily. The air was crisp and fresh and reminded me how excited I was to be running in cool weather again. The course we were running was going to be mostly flat, there was a slight incline around mile 5. (I did this exact run for my 12-miler a while back). There's also this beautiful area that looks like it could easily be a small harbor on the east coast (especially the fog).

I really finished strong for this one. It was awesome to finish 11-miles and feel like I had just ran 5. AND, my foot didn't hurt at all. (I had switched back to my old shoes for this run, so I think that's the answer).

The photo on the left is from when we were done. We were soaked. I brought us some dry jackets to change into and we got our post-run coffee and yogurt/chocolate milk.

I'm really enjoying tapering. It's so awesome to see how much long runs and speed work effect your shorter distances (and it's amazing that I consider 11 miles a shorter run now...). Deb also snapped this photo of me, but she said I didn't look miserable enough. :)

The race is two weeks away and I'm feeling pretty prepared, and frankly, excited.

I'm really in the mood to watch marathon movies and get all pumped up. Matt and I saw Run Fatboy Run in the theater a looooong time ago and it just came out on DVD. I'm also dying for Spirit of the Marathon to be released. Unfortunately that won't be until October 7.

Perhaps I'll have to watch all the Prefontaine movies for the time being... :)


In other news, my Garmin is the bomb.com:

Deb also recommended this website/program where I can upload my runs and analyze them. I can not only see my pace, heart rate, and exact distance, but it also tracks the weather, elevation and laps.

I'm going to set it so that I get an alert at every mile. And for some reason it showed that my heart rate was 100 the entire time. I'm guessing there was interference from Deb's heart rate monitor. I'll be trying it out in the morning on my own to see what I come up with. I'm so excited.

I really shouldn't have waited so long to buy it! It's reinvigorated my love for running again. That and the abundance of running buddies I've finally found. It figures I would be getting excited about running a couple of weeks before I'm scheduled to take a break.

Also, the group that I trained with for the half marathon has started up again. They are training for the Seattle Half Marathon. I'm thinking about doing the long runs with the new group. I think I could really help some of the gals while they are training. Plus, now that I've gotten faster I could possibly run with a couple of different pace groups. We'll see... I ran into Heather from our group at breakfast this morning and she said that a couple of gals from our group were already running with them... hopefully they wouldn't mind my dropping in.

Anyway, a good weekend in the world of running. I also cheered on Holly and Alex and the Kirkland triathalon this morning. It looked incredibly challenging and fun...

Something for next year?

Friday, September 19, 2008

Taper Time!

Tomorrow morning I'll be running 11 miles with Deb, at Alki. I'm really looking forward to it. I haven't run at Alki in months. Although it'll probably be cold and possibly drizzly... I'm looking forward to running in the cold again.

The absolute nutso thing is that the marathon is 15 days away. When I started that ticker thing I was around 120 days away... when it got to 90 it was surreal... now that it's so close!


As a follow-up, I did get my bone scan, and I was injected with radiator fluid...

jk, radiation fluid

which has been giving me awful headaches. I have to drink water to flush it out of my system, and as a result I've been drinking around 12-16 glasses a day...

I'll have a follow-up call with my doc today.

My bone scan didn't show any extra activity near the painful part of my foot, so my technologist mentioned that it was probably muscular.

Randomly, I picked up "Northwest Competitor" magazine at the doctor's office because there was an article about the "Young Guns of ultra-marathonning," and the article mentioned one of the dudes had a neuroma in his foot because he had doubled his mileage from 130 miles a week to 260 in like two weeks... or something ridiculous...

BUT... I looked up neuroma, and it sounds really similar to the foot pain I'm experiencing!

I'm going to ask for a referral to a sports medicine doctor, just so that I have one in my back pocket :)


AND in the most exciting news of all...

My Garmin Forerunner 305 showed up last night!!!

I really should have bought this sooner, it's so amazing. It tracks your heart rate, pace, time, ties your shoes, gives you water, and carries you when you're too tired to run anymore....

OK, well the first three things are true. I charged it last night atnd I'm dying to try it out, but I really shouldn't run today with a long run on the horizon tomorrow.

I'll post a full report after I take it out for a spin! :)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

3 weeks... and an hour and a half...

The Portland Marathon is exactly three weeks from today...


These next three weeks it's going to be crucial that I listen to my body.

The first time I felt it was at the Vancouver Half. A slight pain in my right foot that radiated up into my ankle. I thought it was the shoes I had purchased the night before.

It went away, although I would get the pain occasionally even when I wasn't running.

I noticed it again this last month or two. It seemed to only show up post mile 7, or when I ran on uneven surfaces. And usually it went away before the end of the run and wouldn't bother me afterward.

Then I did my fist 20-miler. My foot hurt by the end, but no worse than before... only it didn't go away. It continued to hurt, and I continued to run on it. I cut down my mileage, started icing it on non-running days, and it finally went away a week and a half later.

I did see my doctor and she set me up with an appointment for a bone scan next week to be sure it's not a stress fracture. If it's a stress fracture, that means 6 weeks no running... at my discretion...

Today I have my final 20-miler beginning in about an hour. I need to be smart. I'm probably doing closer to 17 instead, and I plan to really take it easy on my foot, at the first sign of pain.

Wish me luck!


Update from 7:25 this a.m.... I wised up and I'm not running 20 miles this morning. I don't want to risk really injuring my foot today. I'm going to wait until I get my bone scan done on Wednesday before I make any decisions... And I'll hit the stationary bike at the gym until then.

I was putting an ace bandage on this morning and trying to loosen my shoelaces so my foot would comfortably fit in my shoe and I thought, "this is a bad idea..."

So Kelli and I are going to swing by the farmers market instead... time to hit the shower...

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Time flies...

So... how in the heck is it Mid September already?!!?

I've had so many things to say and no time to get them on the blog! Well here's a quick recap of what's been going on in my world for the last month and a half:

In Life:

- I'm getting promoted at work! Nothing feels better than knowing you're kicking ass at work, but now the never-ended flow of work has started to appear on my plate. (Like working everyday after work, and through the weekend, and still having to do an all-nighter yesterday... sigh...)

Which really explains my lack of internet presence lately. I'm ALWAYS on my computer, but the second I don't have to, I won't... I'll try to be better about responding to emails and updating sites, and someday making a facebook account.

In Running:
I have successfully completed my 16, 18, and 20-mile training runs... and they were every bit as painful as they sound! Thanks to some encouragement from Alison, I have started taking ice baths afterward. Which are also just as painful as they sound. But they make a huge difference! The first 30 seconds is miserable, then it's just a matter of holding still.

Holly rode her bike for three grueling hours with me on my 16-mile run. And I'm excited to see her compete in the Kirkland Triathlon next weekend!

Sarah was wonderful enough to meet me along the trail and run a 3 mile and 2 mile section of my 20-miler. I don't know if I could have done it without her! And we've been doing wednesday runs, which have also been a tremendous help.

Brie was awesome and ran a relatively scary route with me the other morning. It's getting dark so early already!

I have my final 20-miler coming up this weekend. Kelli has graciously volunteered to ride her bike from Seattle to Redhook Brewery with me. Any takers on running the last three miles?

I'll be running the weekend after next with Deb, who is taking the Philly Marathon by storm in November.

And of course, my wonderful Matt has been continuing his encouragement and support by picking me up from the run I couldn't finish, and the runs I did, then taking me to starbucks for chocolate milk immediately afterward. He has also been to person to announce to all of our friends how far I've run the morning before we do anything.

I guess I'm just feeling very grateful for all my friends and family and how supportive they have been while I'm trying to accomplish this major feat. I've had to give up a lot of my social life for long solitary runs. Even though through running I've had the opportunity for a lot of self-reflection, personal development, and success... I'm ready to get this fucker over with! :)

So thanks everybody!

More to come soon! Stay tuned for blog posts on:
-The end of my first year of running
-The Garmin 305
-Gear that I love
-The last 20 before the big day
-Is that lump on my foot a bone spur?
-What the hell do you do after you've run a marathon...?