2 Weeks Out

In two weeks, I’ll toe the line again for a half marathon.  The same race I’ve run so many times, and my comeback from last summer’s injury.  I’ve been patiently crossing off the workouts, and noticed today that there are so many S’s on this page.  A month ago, I had a 10 day illness that had me crazed from not being about to train.  Two days ago, I woke with a similar scratchy throat feeling.

So.  I’m 2 weeks out.  Only one more long run of 9 miles on Wednesday coming up, but I can’t shake that same feeling.  I could have done more.  I could have trained harder.  These thoughts are followed by the notion that you cannot go back.  You simply have to show up on race day with what you have.

The hay is in the barn, but it’s sort of wobbly, stacked funny.  I’m not sure if all the pistons will be firing correctly on that morning, but there is simply nothing to do about it now, except…go forward.  I’m excited, no matter how the race comes out, because last summer, I was begging the gods for just one more chance.  You have no idea how much you want to run…when you can’t.

Hay_Barn

Runner’s Joy

tumblr_lyfsyoKdZs1r7il5qo1_500The familiar places of a runner:  The burn in your lungs when you attack a hill, the sheer exhaustion at the end of your last speedwork sprint, the calves that need rubbing later on in the day.  These are the things that I chase, and even though I am nowhere near where I was when I was training for my first marathon, I still embrace the pains and exhaustion, and actually enjoy them in a sick way.

Today, I ran 4 miles, 2 @ a tempo, fast pace.  A pace I easily could have sliced off a year or two ago, and today found myself working VERY hard to complete the task.  Enough about the stress fracture already.  I have babied the foot, and taken good care of myself.  I have lost some weight, and am within that 10 pounds again of my last race day, though I have decided to get near 20 off of me by the time I toe the line in March.

This starts week 4, and the thing that I love about runners the best, is that all of you…you know the thrill of feeling this tired.  And so.  You simply understand why I keep up this silly sport.

Week 4 of 12…and here we go.

Thinner. Stronger. Older. Wiser.

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Today ends the first week of training for the Modesto Half Marathon.  Not having run more than 3 miles since about May of 2012, I was eager to get started.  I posted this plan a week or so ago, and just laid low.  On Sunday night, I realized that the plan I laid out actually started that day, so I laced up and went out for 2 miles in the cold.

This plan is different for me because I’m employing weights 3x a week, instead of my usual 6 days of Hanson running.  I lifted on Monday, Thursday and will tomorrow, because I’m after that elusive pull up.  Right now I can hang comfortably for 8 seconds.  I can do 3 assisted pull-ups.

For week 1, I ran 9 miles total.  I ran a long run of 4 on Wednesday, and my foot is fine.  I felt really good, but very slow and sluggish today.  I’m slowly (emphasize slowly) trying to take off the 8% of the weight I gained since my race weight day back in May.  (That’s 14 pounds).  Currently, I have 3 off already.  I gained a few here and there, then got the cast and boot …and there went 5 more.  At the holidays, 5 more came back on with unrestrained eating …So.  That is the quest.

Today as I was running, I was struggling.  I have no idea why, after a great run on Wednesday.  I credit my 4 other bloggy gal pals who have enthusiastically joined a weight loss challenge with spurring me on to better my body.  We are currently putting up our Thinspiration pictures, and a theme is emerging.  It’s not enough to be thin as I was when I raced in May.  It’s more important to be strong.  Thinner, stronger, older, wiser.

Thus ends Week 1.

Diva Half Marathon Race Report

Pink.  Boas.  Tiaras.  Tutus.  Roses.  This was just some of the schwag you got when you ran Divas San Francisco today.  I usually am not one who goes after that kind of a race.  However, several months ago, my Gal Pal #1 and I bought bibs for this race.  Last week, I sold my bib and decided not to run, thinking it wouldn’t be a good idea to run a half 2 weeks after a full.  Lo and behold, i end up with a bib anyway.  It’s like I was supposed to be out there today for some reason.

Gal Pal number #1 and I hook up this week when she asks if she can pick me up and take me with her to the hotel…Gal Pal #2 gets my bib…and the universe starts in motion for today’s race.

We drive over to the race yesterday.   Now, here’s the misleading part.  This race is not in San Francisco, it’s in Burlingame.  The race touts itself as “you’re only steps away from beautiful bay views”…One of the first misnomers of the weekend.  We check into the hotel, and start non-talk talking and laughing that ended only 24 hours later.  Not once did we turn on the tv.  Just talk, talk, talk…including a speaker phone call from another friend of ours where, we…talk.

Dinner consisted of a Mexican restaurant that featured the weirdest karaoke songs.  Plus, we didn’t connect the inflated tequila bottles and insane noise with Cinco de Mayo.  We both had enchiladas and broken chips, and tried to figure out where the start line was.  We wandered into something known as Prime Time, and after that bizarre experience, headed home to look for chocolate, which was not to be.

This morning, Gal Pal 2 & 3 drove in to Burlingame, and we all started prepping for this race.

My foot was jacked from the pre-marathon injury two weeks ago, but Gal Pal 2 also was injured.  We had agreed to run it together.  Run or walk, whatever.

Mile 1-5 were pretty much bliss at 11:30 pace.  I felt trained, and was starting to connect to some redemption from the race I had pinned my hopes on the week beforehand.  I hopped onto the side at 5.5, and went to the bathroom, losing my last pair of Dollar Store gloves to the task at hand.  We turned around at mile 6.5, and started the second half on the hottest and most uneven pavement there was.

At Mile 8, she started singing  PayPhone by Maroon 5 which has been my personal go-to song of late.  She and Ali both know…this is my anthem right now.  She starts singing, and I try to make my music louder.  She starts, and I start.  Talking.  To anyone around me.  On why that’s my theme song.  On the emotional redemption I need on this course today.  She and I run, walk, run.  It passes.

Then, the water stations are filling water out of garbage cans, there is no Gatorade, and did I mention it was hot?

We finished the race in under 3 hours, which was the goal.  around 13:00 minute mile.  The initial quick pace was hampered by the jacked up foot aching, and then all of a sudden a knee snap, and a quad muscle that flings out into the universe.  Me.  Limping, but running.  So yeah.  There’s another half marathon in the books.

But.  I will tell you.  These lady’s races aren’t really for me.  I could have gagged with the amount of perfume, the massive sea of pink, the tutus and jewels.  It’s really not me.  I’m more of a road race without frills kind of girl.  I want the race organizers to spend money on more volunteer stations, more drink, maybe some nutrition.  They are now pandering to the chicks who run.  Lots of fun, but less aura of a challenge than, say…Fresno Half Marathon.  Like Rock N Roll and even NIKE, these type of races are becoming machines.  Big money makers, with…no prize money for the winners today?  (I haven’t checked, just heard this.)

So.  We drive home.  I’m in Compression Socks and drinking ice water.  Tired.

I turn on a movie I DVR’d a few weeks ago.  The Bodyguard.  Given that the weekend Whitney Houston died, I was busy rebuilding something broken, which is now broken again…this may not be my best choice for the night.

However, I had a lovely time this weekend.  Lots of good talk, good friendship, healing tender mercies, new surprises…and yeah.  Left some angst on the course.

 

My Princess Race

I ran on Wednesday, for the first time since the marathon.  I was in bliss.  I absolutely know that running is in my blood now.  Even though I bonked in San Luis, I know what went wrong, and why…and I know how to fix it.

On Monday, I put my sweet Princess to sleep.  I have missed her every single day.  Chet is quiet…his co-dependent barks are no longer.  I finally spoke to her vet this morning, and she was glad that the other doctor did it, because she was attached to Princess.  She said I did the right thing, that Princess had a bad cancer in a bad place.  And, that it was okay.

However, I am bereft.  It took all week to even forgive myself.  I was simply not okay.  I laid in bed looking out at the pool, seeing her happy little run and bark and remembering what a great dog she was.  And then, I remembered…I have another great dog right here.  Chet and I went for our first big walk in a long time…the boys usually take them…but he and I walked about a half mile or more last night.  He was thrilled.  He gets the good bed, the extra treats, and more head rubs.  He knows I’m sad.  He is my constant companion in the mornings.

In the last three days, I’ve had more friends in my life show up for me in ways I couldn’t have asked for.  From chats at midnight, to long recovery-laced talks during the day, to signing up for 5Ks and looking for half marathons.  I’m blessed to be sober, and also to be able to tell my group how screwed up I was.  From texts to emails to word games to phone calls…I am completely grateful.

Which brings me to the title of this post.

I got a Diva bib and sold it.  Then got another one from a very special gal pal.  Then another gal pal texted that she was driving through and wanted to pick me up…offered me her hotel room.  Last week at this time, I was in a hole.  This week I head to San Francisco to run a half marathon.  I ran 5 miles this morning at HMPace, and it was fabulous.  I’m planning on taking my time in SF, and really.  I just want to hang with the girls.

This race gives you a tiara.  A boa.  A medal.  Champagne (gotta remember not to grab that one).  It’s out and back, pancake flat, and clearly caters to the foo foo girls runners.  It’s not even called an Expo.  It’s a Health & Fitness Boutique.  I think these people have the lock on the pink thing.  I think it’s a hoot, since I generally look like a boy sans makeup and matching outfits.

But.  This race?  This race is for Princess.  It’s only fitting that I get all the trappings for her…for the two mismatched owner and dog team…not really Pink girls, not girls who would have pink boas.  Except this weekend.  I run each mile for her.

1 year Ago

lake merced SF
Image by mioi via Flickr

1 year ago I became a marathoner. 

I ran my first full marathon in San Francisco, at the Nike Women’s Marathon.  I remember driving into that city.  So confident, so assured.  You can read my race report here

And, in that year, many things have changed, and yet stayed the same.  I have long hair.  I have run another marathon.  I have run lots of half marathons, and smaller 10k and 5ks.  But the fact remains:

One year ago, I became a marathoner. 

My life changed when I lined up in the corral.  With my Mom and sons watching, with elbow to elbow running for 6 miles at least.  When chasing up the long hill.  When I got to the park.  When I got to Lake Merced. 

But mostly, my life changed the day I ran across that mat.  I was 50 years old.  Yet, I was like Seabiscuit.  I didn’t really *know* I was 50.  I just trained like everyone else.  I remember when my TNT Mentor came up to me at mile 23, and asked me when I knew I would finish the marathon.  I told him I knew at Mile 6.  And I did.

Tomorrow, I go back to the Nike Women’s Marathon to run the half.  And, even though I have run many other races in many other places, I still cannot wait to stand in Union Square in pitch dark…to feel the pulse of the crowd, and see the Niketown Wall.  To be with friends.  To again pound the pavement.

Because it was there, in that city that I became a marathoner.  1 Year ago.  When I decided that the marathon was the distance for me.  And I ran in LA, and I will run in DC in a few weeks…to see if it is still the distance for me.

But for now, I will walk around Union Square and savor the joy and the heartache and the sweat and the tears that gave me the ride of my life.

The Marathon.

Midnight Half Marathon #2 Cheer Report

By Richard Wheeler (Zephyris) 2007.
Image via Wikipedia

Last year I ran the Modesto Midnight Half Marathon, and blogged about it here.  I swore that I would never run it again, and I didn’t.  However, last night was Year 2, and I wanted to go and support Row in her quest for domination on the course.  Plus, I really wanted to see how things improved…Yes, wanted to see if the Fleet Feet people listened to last year’s cacophony of voices crying for a more decent race.

Good and Bad.  Highlights and Lowlights, just like last year.

Remember when your mother said to not run in traffic?  in the dark?  with no light?  Well, apparently the Race Directors of this race did not listen to this advice. 

Highlight #1 :  It was a bright, big moon.  That’s it.

Lowlight #1 :  The race director kept saying on the microphone at the beginning of the race:  This is a night time race.  It’s very dark.  Be safe!  Be safe!  Be safe!  …as if that was his disclaimer to the dangers of a race like this. 

Highlight #2:  Nicurnmama and I eat at the fabulous Fuzio, and please do have the Firecracker Pork Fusilli dish…to DIE for!! Plus, the Giants were losing on the telly, so I was very pleased.

Lowlight #2:  Darkness.  Not only darkness, but in my mind, danger.  Here is Laura in front of the Copper Creek Housing Development sign.  Literally that was the only light on the long stretch of road in Modesto.  There were 4 people sitting in chairs in front, but not an aid or water station to be seen.

Highlight #3:  It was so inspirational to get out there with jingle bells, and high fiving runners as they came by.  We had our sign, and were waiting for Row.  The runners, as usual, are always happy and grateful to see you.  They say thank you, and you feel like you have a purpose, a reason for being out there.  And I see these people, and I’m so grateful to be there, just like all the times YOU have been there for me.

Lowlights:::

  • The rest of this will not be pretty.  There is a girl who runs by with a bloody nose, like all over her hands and arms and needs something, anything.  Thank God a man standing there had a Kleenex.  But, being overly helpless, I just ran up to catch up with her to give her the Kleenex.  Her complaint:  Where is everyone?  I need help! 
  • The runners are running with traffic.  A few cones here and there.  WITH TRAFFIC.  No lanes are blocked off.  They are running next to cars.  So freaking dangerous, I was in a panic.  A report was that a runner was down up ahead, but that’s not because he got hit probably.  My chief complaint:  Where was the race volunteer group? 
  • As we head back to the finish, cars and traffic are stopped everywhere and runners are being directed diagonally across the street to run on the sidewalks on the opposite side.  We just hung our jingle bells outside the car and yelled, and supported.  But, it was a cluster.

It’s always good to support a friend.  I had a blast.  But for Race #3, get off the roads.  Add more, not less aid/water stations.  It’s dark.  It’s midnight.  You’re in the club scene, Modesto.  You’re having runners run through the party animals and smokers and club goers…with virtually no support on the side of the roads.

Last year’s grade: F

This year: D- 

Congrats to Row for a PR!!!