this is the house that i built.

So, it’s been a week.  I have spent the days analyzing the race, the events that led up to the race, and ultimately, as I’ve always been taught…what part I did have in this, um, debacle.

There are no excuses for my epic fail at San Luis Obispo.  For the first time in a really long time, I owned this training plan, and have no one except myself to look toward to fix it for the next one, which is, by the way, Tucson Marathon in December of this year.  In that vein, I tried to look at the reasons my race turned out as it did…as a way of accurately assess the situation.

  1. There were two medical situations that happened that were out of my control.  About 8 weeks ago, I got a sinus infection that lasted a week, or 40 miles.  A week before the marathon, my foot was jacked.  I couldn’t walk.  My doctor told me not to run, and to get an X-Ray, which of course showed nothing, and now it’s just sore, but I may or may not get the MRI this week.  This is not an excuse.  However, it’s a reason.
  2. I was under some emotional distress of a personal nature by the time I toed the line at 6am last Sunday.  Nauseous, sad, scared…and by mile 4, I realized that none of those feelings would change anything, so I had a choice.  Bail or ask for guidance from my Higher Power…so I did.  Ask for help.  A fellow marathoner told me she was amazed I even got to the start line to begin with…
  3. At mile 11, I asked a runner who was coming back from the loop how far the turn around was.  Up until that time, my splits were good.  I was on pace for what I thought was a possible PR for sure, but I gave away my mental game at that moment.  I gave it to the guy who said, “It’s a half mile.”  It turned out to be 1.5 miles.  This is an excuse that I used for awhile…but I gave someone else the power.  Irritated with myself.
  4. Here’s a definite situation.  I thought I had run consistent 12:04 splits, and when I got home and uploaded the data, the Garmin said something like 12:35ish for 5 miles.  I seriously thought I was at my target pace, when in fact, much much slower.  So, two things need to happen.  I don’t know if it was a fluke, because it’s never happened, so I will be starting to pay real close attention to this.  It’s possible that I was so out of it that I simply wasn’t paying attention…but, I don’t know what happened.
  5. Mental Training.  I love the Hanson plan, and will continue to use it, but I think in addition, I need to journal, or do some mental/emotional training.  Must train my brain and my heart, because as you know, my legs were beyond ready.  They were perfectly ready.  I think it’s like one of those disaster trainings we have in the Red Cross.  I should have been prepared for anything…and, I wasn’t.
  6. Other people on the course.  Here is the joker in the deck.  You can never prepare for the people or things that will trigger you.  There was the girl I’ve run with before with her non-stop talking.  I put my head down, because I couldn’t engage in a conversation.  The team mentality.  I’m just not a part of the team when it comes to race day.  I subscribe to different training, and I feel self-centered and paranoid as I envision the conversations they are having.  I will say it was great to see my mentor at mile 15.  She was the reason I started team.  There was a man on the team that I ran with for 5 or 6 miles who was hurting.  I think I got sucked into that energy as well.  I allowed this to own my head.  My fault, completely.

My nutrition was perfect.  For the first time, I ran with my own Clif Shots and water.  I could have eaten more the day before…as I had water, some pasta, some desserts, and went to bed with very little in my stomach.  I’m happy with how I planned my bathroom breaks.  I had enough where-with-all to pack wipes, etc.  There were many many good elements here.

I had no excuse not to start the race.  I knew that not only would I start, but I would finish.  However, I knew that morning it would be ugly.  And, it was.  It definitely was not my day.  There are no excuses.  There are only reasons and plans to repair.

It’s like a hurricane comes and rips up the ground.  I can sit around and blame the hurricane, but that doesn’t help me right the foundation any faster.  Just fix it.  We can talk about the weather later, and how I could have or should have better prepared.  Meanwhile, the house needs to be re-built.

Not to be melodramatic

Not to be melodramatic or anything.

But, San Luis was hard.

You can look it up.

I did 6:15 or 6:16 or something.

Second to the worst PW.

I wrote a long, wordy post.

Then deleted it.

I have an MRI next week.

There are some marathons

that you never speak of again.

San Luis Obispo is that one for me.

At some point I will be able to be full

of metaphor & meaning.

But, not today.

SLO Marathon Race Report: Everything Hurts

The last 24 hours have been a whirlwind. From an emotional upheaval and shock and dismay, to the marathon and the trip home…I would have to say that yes. Everything hurts.

This last week, my foot hurt so bad, that I stayed off of it for 5 days, babied it, wrapped it, iced it…so that come race day, it would be in perfect shape. I had an X-Ray, and the doctor told me not to run the marathon…which, of course, I ignored. Never ask a Non-Runner what to do. Had I called my Orthopedic Surgeon, the UltraRunner in 105 heat, he would have said to run! (We are having an MRI next week)

By the time last night came, though…my foot was the last thing on my mind. I was completely blindsided with an emotional pain that I simply did not care. In fact, I went to the Inspiration Dinner with my TNT teammates, and sat there. Stunned. I ate, but barely. I drank and drank water. I watched as all the Leukemia Survivors and Honorees were splashed across the screen. My Grandpa. I talked with teammates, but barely.

I went to bed, after putting everything out on the chair. I talked with my bestie about the race plan. I had a 3am wakeup call. I cried. I was in shock.

At 3am, the alarm went off, and I methodically put everything on, made my oatmeal, got it all together. Went down to the lobby with the team. Again. Silence. Eating, drinking coffee, water. Got on the bus. Quiet.

We had been told that it was going to be hot hot hot…yet, the weather prediction was 72 at the highest, and 48 for the first 3 hours of the day. I was freezing. And quiet. I huddled with others in the corners of San Luis Obispo High School, and tried to get warm. I peed on the side of the track (sorry SLO, I don’t do porta-potties)…and they called the runners to the starting line. I was still stunned.

There were only 800 marathoners. It took seconds to cross the start line. That’s it.

Mile 1-4: I could only do a 12:02 pace for these miles, and was shooting for a 5:15 marathon. I’ll give you the heads up: I finished an hour later than my PR hope. I ran really slowly, and stayed on pace. However, I was nauseous. I was hurting at mile .35, thinking my foot was hurting, or my head or something. But. It was my heart.

At Mile 4, I asked God to come into my race. I realized that whether I was sad or happy, it would not change the turn of events. So, I asked God in, and He really did carry me. Miles 4-11 were wonderful. I thought there were a few hills, and I ran them all. In fact, I didn’t really stop running until Mile 11. I asked a guy where the turn-around was, and he said a half mile. 1.5 miles later, I realized I gave away my power. I should never have asked, because that’s when my mental game changed.

At Mile 12, I started slowing down. I was taking Clif Shots every 4 miles. For the first time ever, I brought my own water…not because it was a “Green Marathon”, but because it takes me a quarter of a mile to take a Clif Shot, then water…and so, I can’t rely on the volunteer stations.

Let me say right here. The volunteers were amazing. The race tables were well stocked. Great support, and great cheer. Loved it. And. The weather. Let’s say how great it was to run in overcast cool & windy conditions for 4+ hours. The sun peeked out at 11:30 or so, and it was never bad.

Hills. It’s pretty bad when you can’t see the top of a hill because it’s overcast. The hills. This course was advertised as “gradual rolling hills”…which was so wrong, let me say right now. This was a HILLY course, and very challenging and demanding. Hill after hill after hill. There were only a few flat spots…and I do mean a few.

From Mile 12-15, I watched my PR slip away. My quads were screaming at me. My shoulders ached from the constant up and down of the hills. At Mile 15, I saw my coach, and I was still clipping along. Miles 16-18 I saw my pace slip down into a scary place…one that I was struggling to keep. The hills kept coming. At Mile 18, I had a foot pain…the right foot…and took off my shoes to see the biggest blister on my toe. First Aid came, and I slapped on two bandages. I had already peed and pooped on the course several times. In fact, by mile 18, I tried to urinate, but I couldn’t, but needed to. I was full of fluid and Clif Shots and oranges, but apparently, my body needed it all.

I was pretty much alone. Me, and the volunteers. Families also came out to the course. It was lovely. There was never a wall. It was all hard. From Mile 19-Mile 24 there was just. Hills. We turned on a trail, but then I was completely alone. It seemed all flat…and then, a cruel overpass that wound round and round until it traversed the freeway and train tracks. I could barely make that…it slayed me. But. I kept going.

There I was. Alone. I had been fighting crying for several miles. And I said to myself, I can cry at the end. Only at the end.

I moved very slowly for the next 2 miles. I barely made headway. At this point, there was no PR, no sub-6, and no nothing. At mile 26, I was on a very flat part of the course. The teenage volunteers were TOTALLY screaming me in. They were amazing. And one said, just go under the underpass, then go by that fence. Up there. When I saw at Mile 26 that there was a hill, I couldn’t take it.

I hit the high point of the hill, and I started bawling. Like, I could not stop. Snot coming down my face. I stopped and bent over. I finally understood that when you’re done, you’re done. I simply could not do the .2 left of the race. I was hysterical. People on the side cheered. I was wailing at this point. It was the worse feeling I have ever experienced on an emotional level.

I started shuffling again. I wanted to walk off the course. I kept going. I think that some people came on the course with me, and I continued to cry. They were yelling “Grandpa Eddy”, because I ran with his name on my shirt. The announcer came off the tower and came down with me. Then the race director. And I couldn’t move.

Something like 6:15. Something like that.

I hurt. I hurt all over. My hair hurts. My quads hurt. I drove home 3.5 hours, and still was in stunned mode.

I had amazing training, and I will do the same for my next attempt, but there are a few things I need to accept:

  1. No matter how you train, there are just some things you can’t prepare for on race day.
  2. My body hurts, not only because it’s a marathon, but because I’m 53 years old.
  3. I typically have the same experience on marathons. I accept that I walk. Walk and run.

I trained alone. I planned my own training plan. I ran alone. I took all my own waters and Clif Shots. I relied on nobody. No one ran me in. And now. I’m sleeping.

Everything hurts, but the bug bit me 5 marathons ago, and I’m sure I will be back. Right now, it’s enchiladas and chocolate milk.

By the way. My foot is fine.

i’m eating spaghetti at midnight.


yesterday, i woke with a slightly achy left foot.  on the top.  i had been noticing it a last few days, and it has been increasingly uncomfortable.  i could run with the foot, but i couldn’t walk.  i ran 5 miles, and was fine.  i feel good.  i’m ready for sunday.

then.  today, i woke with a limp so pronounced i could barely walk.  i posted a quick shout out to runners last night who all said, rest rest rest.

okay, so i’m tapering.  rest is fine.  i have the fitness, and i’m fine.  but i have a marathon in 4 days.

i went to the doctor.

who sent me to the radiologist for an x-ray.

who sent a wet read to the doctor…

and before i hear from him tomorrow, i’m reminded of his last words:  if there is no stress fracture on the x-ray, then we need to get an m.r.i.

this would be such a cruel joke.  seriously.  what happened?

so.  i sit hear with a bowl of spaghetti.  a wrapped and iced ankle.  perplexed at this turn of events.

The Hay Is In The Barn.

It’s pretty close now.  One week, and the madness that is taper has sort of subsided.  I ran all my runs this week in the wind and the rain and on the treadmill.  The only mild problem is that I have a muscle in my quad that is speaking to me.  Also, the knees.

But, this is no time to question, or even to wonder what I can do about these things.

I have endured.  I am ready.  One more week of smallish runs, an 8 mile tempo tomorrow.

The hay is in the barn.

It’s The Socks

It’s the socks.

All this time, the numbing on my feet that I thought was due to the shoes?  It was the socks.

Today, I had an 8 mile LSD on tap, and threw on my Wright Socks, stuffed down in the bottom of the drawer, there.  I had several other running socks.  Tons of pairs.  I remember I bought the Wright Socks a few years ago, and loved the double layer of blister protection it offered.  However, I run so many days in a row, I pull out pair after pair, and I simply forget about how good they are.

The last several weeks, I’ve had to run through a toe-numbing around mile 3.  Well, today, that just never happened.

I threw on those socks, and headed out for the run.  At mile 5 it started pouring, and went on that way for the next 3 miles.  But I never got the numbing…the kind that makes me run on my toes.

I thank the socks, and listen up Wright Socks:  You’re going to San Luis Obispo.

There’s A Run In Here Somewhere.

It’s starting, though I’m trying to keep it at bay.  I may be going a little crazy.

Last night, I swore I had a sore throat.  I bought two huge bottles of Vitamin C today, as if the extra bottle would ensure I am not going to get sick.

Today, I woke up ready to run a little 6 miler.  The Hanson taper is steep and short and swift.  You are running every day, but shorter and shorter, right up until race day.

I put on my shoes, and felt it.  The ledge.  I have many posts about my shoes and how I run, but the best one was right after NIKE, when I photographed the horror of my shoe ledges.  They are 45 degree angled heels.  And, they were what I wore during NIKE.  It was ugly, but I didn’t know it.

So this morning, I suddenly went into problem solving mode.  I have at least 50 miles to run on these 250 mile shoes.  300 miles + a marathon on ledges.  That simply won’t do.   Luckily, I call Fleet Feet, and they have NIKE ZOOM Structure in stock.  They have 15s, which are $105.  I am bummed, because I didn’t plan on this expense.  I drive there, and luckily for me, they have the 14s.  Just one, in my size.  10.5  I paid $69.95 and went on my way.

You know how you never get around to running that 6?  That was me.  My sweet Row came driving up to see me, and we shot the breeze for another hour.  I bought a protein/energy bar, and went on my way to the market, where I dropped coin for groceries for teens who eat a TON of stuff.  I bought the Reese’s Easter Eggs for $.50,  and finally got home.  Both boys were off with friends, so another hour was eaten up with putting away groceries, etc.

I ate one of the eggs for a wee bit of energy, and finally, around 1:30 I took the new Nikes out for their 6 miler.  It felt good.  Different.  Can’t tell you how discouraged it feels to run a little slower, but I’m really concentrating on marathon pace for this race.  This 6 miler took forever it seemed, me…chewing over the events of the day in my head.  It was cloudy, and I had a little wind, but I finally ran over the catwalk and got home.

I’ve been diagnosed with ADHD.  I thought everyone’s head worked like mine.  Couple ADHD with Taper Madness with weather 10 days out of rain in San Luis Obispo, and all of my fears are starting to push up into my consciousness.

Just took some Vitamin C.  Breathing.  Meditating.  Looking for that space in my mind that believes I can do a 5:15 marathon.  It’s there, and I intend to find it the next 12 days.