I will no longer be posting anything here — please visit www.traceb.com instead. Thanks!
I will no longer be posting anything here — please visit www.traceb.com instead. Thanks!
I can’t believe that every single year I find something new that I love about running. After coming back from nearly a 10 year break from competing, I fell in love with the marathon distance. Shortly after that, I fell in love with track, which by the way, is something I hated in high school and college. I knew that I also wanted to get into ultra marathons (anything longer than a marathon) after reaching some short(er) distance goals first. What I love about ultras is the opportunity to be out in nature, breathing in crisp cool air, rugged and challenging terrain, and of course, not having to worry about getting hit by a car.
A few weeks ago I went to REI and bought a Camelbak and Peanut Butter GU (YUM) because I wanted to start hiking and trail running on the weekend. It might seem silly but that stupid pack really got me excited and moving in that direction to finally get out there. My friend Ashley, who also had an infatuation with the marathon had recently switched to running ultras and was hiking nearly every weekend at Mt. Wilson, so I asked if I could join her the next time she was headed out there. Although I had become somewhat familiar with this trail, seeing her check-in every weekend on Yelp and noticing that it took several hours to complete, made me anxious to challenge myself in a new way. We agreed on the weekend and headed out really early, around 6am, stopping by on our way out. Duh. We were definitely on a mission, and I was glad that Ashley had let me join her. Read the rest of this entry »
Wow, I don’t even know where to start since so much has happened lately. I guess I will start by saying that I had been planning to return to school and keep my resolution to finish everything I start (and not start things that I may not want to finish) and had registered for classes in Orange County at a junior college with only two classes needed to complete my AA. My plans following this completion would be to go back to the university and focus on what I really love: athletics.
Surf City Marathon was less than a month away and I began having serious talks with my coach Sylvia. I remember her being really honest with me and asking me to ask myself if I was ready. We began these talks after I began to get frustrated with injuries that seem to haunt me during marathon training. One particular conversation left me sad for an entire day, she said that maybe we should even consider focusing on shorter distances including the 5,000m or 10,000 for the upcoming track season. Although I had been talking about running track after Surf City, I was in a bad place that day and I just kinda blurted out, “I am too slow to run a 5k or 10k, I am only decent at the marathon!” Boy, did that make her frustrated, considering I just had a pretty good summer season of 5ks and even nearly breaking 18:00 at Cypress. It was her next few sentences that made me rethink everything, especially when she said, “this marathon is controlling your life.” Wow, she was right in a way. All I could ever see or appreciate was the damn marathon. I wanted to (and still do) want to break 3:00:00 so badly that I simply put on my blinders to any other running competitions. How ridiculous…I love running and running was becoming my worst enemy.
A few days later while I was picking up some things at a random place in Fullerton, a gentlemen came up to me and asked which events I run. I was wearing a USA T&F backpack that my therapist had given me after returning from the Pan American Games. I simply responded, “10,000m and 5,000m but I am about to run a marathon in less than a month and haven’t competed in track since Bakersfield College (BC) back in 1999.” We exchanged a few words and I gave him my card and found out he was the head throw coach at Cerritos College. A few days later I was contacted by the head distance coach John Gold Goldman at Cerritos College and he was interested in me joining the team for a season of track.
What?! Really? Me? I am 32 years old and I don’t even think I have any eligibility left since I red-shirted my freshman year at CSU, Sacramento (1997-98) and even ran XC and track at Bakersfield College. At this point I was really confused. School started at Cerritos nearly the next week and I was already set at the other school in Orange County. Long story short, all this started happening at the same time I was conversing with my coach about stepping back from the marathon to get in a good track season as an unattached runner, getting my ass kicked and gaining some really good experience and hopefully a few PRs. I thought long and hard over the weekend, my coach told me she would support me no matter what I decided but to think it through. Without a lot of time waste, I consulted with my close friends and boyfriend and the consensus was to go for it. I met with my potential new coach at the school, we had tracers ran on my transcripts and before I knew it, I was all cleared to run (kind of). Lucky for me, I was eligible simply for the fact that I only ran one season of track at BC and had somehow managed to complete an additional 24 units since my last season of competition over 10 years ago! Weird. Luck. Whatever!
The hardest part about making this decision quite honestly was leaving my coach. I feel like I learned so much from her and we figured out how to work like a team. I really grew as an athlete and a competitor and most importantly, found a new respect for the sport that I hold so dear. The easiest part however, was knowing that I was given another opportunity to complete something that I left behind so long ago. Seriously, who can honestly say that they have had another opportunity after such a long break? I did have my doubts and even called my new coach to tell him that I kind of felt like I was in shock, going to practice again with college athletes much (much, much) younger than me. I told him I wasn’t sure I was making the right decision and asked if I could think about it over the weekend to make sure. I also asked him, “What’s in it for me?” I mean really, why would I do this? He was really honest and told me that he wouldn’t go through all this to get me on the team if it wouldn’t benefit Cerritos as well and we agreed that the plan would be to get picked up for a Division II school (I don’t have any Division I eligibility left since I redshirted at a Division I school previously) which should be very possible if I could run like I had this past summer.
Finally, after committing, I was almost in when I failed my school physical due to a detected hear murmur. I told my boyfriend, this is all too coincidental — either I was called to run and get back in school, or I was called to find out about this so-called heart condition. A week later, after getting an EKG and Echocardiogram, and probably a good amount of money later (still waiting for the bills), I was finally given the green light and tomorrow will be my first race at Mt. Sac running the 5,000m. I really don’t feel race ready but it is still early in the season. My goals are simple: Break 18:00 in the 5,000m and try to run a 36:00 10,000m and hopefully go to the Stanford Invitational again and state finals!
When I start to get uncomfortable with my decision I just remind myself that I have the opportunity to finish what I started, I get to do what I love, and most of all, according to my new coach, “It’s only 4-1/2 months of (my) life.”
That’s right, it’s been nearly 12 years, what’s 4-1/2 months?
So all of my friends have been messaging me like crazy wondering what is going on. I know…I have been avoiding you all because I didn’t want to tell you anything until I had firm plans. Anyway, Surf City passed and I purposely didn’t run since something else came up. Will update you about that later…Right now I am in the middle of updating this blog — I couldn’t stand looking at it anymore! Right now the theme looks different and it will continue to look different as I have more time to update it. I found out today that teammates are visiting my site and sharing with everyone — I find that funny and I hope they find what they are looking for. If you know me, you know I am an open book and can ask me anything. Anyway, will update you soon.
Coach and I had finally settled on my next marathon which was 12 weeks away from race day. It was my job to find a couple half marathons and a 5K to run before the big race. I decided to run the Santa to the Sea half in Oxnard, a very small, fast course just about an hour away. I knew a lot of friends who have raced it and who would be running this year so I was pretty excited. As race day approached, I quickly realized I wasn’t in race shape as I was finding myself struggling with my shorter tempo run (4-5 miles @ 6:40 pace) and coach told me to use this race as a tempo training run, “…and maybe surprise yourself.”
As I toed the starting line, with 7 full weeks of base training under my belt, I felt relieved that I wouldn’t be hitting the wall somewhere out there on the course but also full of stress because my Garmin wasn’t catching a signal and I was very rushed to get to the starting line. My plan was to run with my friends Radell and Mike who would be pace leaders for the 1:30:00 group. I figured I would do my best to stay with them and pick-up later if I felt good.
At the start of the race, I stayed with them and early on I was able to count the females in front of me as they made their way around a right turn: 13th place. No big deal, only a training run. Early on I felt I would be disappointed if I didn’t pick up my pace and show a little more effort so I started to focus on the runners in front of me, trying to catch them one at a time.
By the time my Garmin got reception, I found myself near mile 4 and quickly hit the lap button so I could at least start to check my mile splits. Mile 4 was WAY off and I found myself reaching mile 5 way before my watch did. I was feeling really good and comfortable, opting to listen to my ipod thinking it would help distract me from negative thoughts and block out any potential hard breathing.
By the time I got to mile 11, I had passed 8 women and there was a blonde girl in front of us that was pretty consistent and nearly out of reach. I felt very strong, mad at myself for all the negative thoughts and self-doubt as I turned into the finish line and noticing I better speed up if I wanted to break 1:27:00. Wow, I couldn’t believe it — just this February I ran a balls out race to run 1:26:18. I quickly called my coach who congratulated me and told me to continue running so I could get in 18 for the day. Overall I was the 5th women and 5th in my age group. Some pretty good gals out there with the winner coming in at 1:14:00.
Time to focus, time to tough it out mentally.
Finish Time: 1:26:57
Yesterday’s Santa to the Sea Half Marathon closed out my 7th week of running including my first 50-mile week in a very long time. These past weeks have been very trying and roller coaster-like. It was interesting to see my fitness level upon my return, which was much better than I had anticipated and I was elated, but then my mental fitness seemed to suffer more and more as the weeks progressed.
I mentioned in my last post that I had one small hiccup in my training since coming back. That small hiccup was me diving for the bouquet at a wedding (wearing 5″ heels) that send me crashing to the ground, giving a crotch peep show for all in front of me. Oh my gosh, what was I thinking? I would never go for the bouquet but my boyfriend’s brother Greg urged me on so I thought what the heck. I did not end up catching the bouquet, I caught a single rose (meaning someone is off the hook) and I hurt my ankle. I have to take three days off from running to make sure everything was OK and on the fourth day, I ran without a problem. Thank goodness! It’s pretty tough being a runner since you sometimes have to give up small luxuries like high heels – stilettos specifically. I can’t completely rid myself of them because sometimes a girl needs to feel sexy and shoes sure do help.
Anyway, on a related note, I came across this headline: Brides race for prizes in Serbia
What? Are you kidding me? I always tell my friends about the race, or actually a dash with women wearing high heels and then I find this! This race is actually safer since you wear whatever shoes you want and potentially take home the designer dress you wear if you qualify for prizes. Pretty good way to save some money if you ask me!
Hooray, I am running again! Four weeks of running with once a small hiccup and I am elated. Wow, I was out for 12 weeks and that felt like forever. Any day that I am unable to run truly feels like too long. My first week back I was shocked to see how all the aqua running and spinning kept me fit. Of course I knew it would help to some extent but you know how you sometimes can’t really tell if something really works but you have to assume? Like when your foot hurts and you decide to buy new running shoes and when you test them out, your foot doesn’t don’t hurt anymore? Obviously you think the shoes did the trick but did you consider that you had taken a small break or did you count the numerous times you iced? Well, I make those kind of assumptions all the time but with this recent experience, I finally have proof, no doubt in my mind.
By the end of my first week back I already had upset my coach. She sent my workouts and for my long run on Sunday, she wasn’t specific about my pace – she simply said, “9 miles 7:30 or faster”. Well, to me it was an opportunity to see what I could do without getting in trouble. During that run I kept peeking at my pace and thinking there must be a mistake, there is now way I just ran a 6:36 sixth mile. By the end of the run, I had averaged a 6:56 pace and couldn’t have been happier. Well, that was until my coach found out! Coach was very upset, acknowledging that she wasn’t very specific but happy to see where my current fitness level is. Since then, I get numerous text messages from her telling me to be patient so I don’t get injured again. You got it coach!
I am hoping my progress reports will continue to be good – cross training will continue to be a part of my program (for life) and I will be spending the next few days planning my 2012 race schedule.
Thank goodness October is here — August and September felt like the longest months of my life! I had been meaning to post about a few personal issues lately that really pulled on my heartstrings but I just didn’t have the energy to go back there and relive that whole ordeal. I kept thinking about it and finally I thought that I should just get it out of the way since in some respects, those dreadful experiences did in some weird force me to reconsider some of the choices I made and to reevaluate what’s important.
It all started with the final couple of weeks of my young cousin’s life. He was battling cancer and me not being so close to my family, I observed the progress over Facebook. Me being the worrier that I am, decided that I should probably schedule a few appointments just to make sure I was OK. Read the rest of this entry »
So after returning from Yosemite, I thought I would try running again, assuming my foot would let me. The first week 10/03-10/9 went really good. I ran four times that week without pain. Then this past week we added a few more runs/miles that really proved I was getting better. On Monday I was supposed to run 5 miles at 8:00 pace but I was so focused on my foot that I ended up running a little too fast, around 7:30 pace. Coach wasn’t too happy about that but I felt a little better knowing that all this cross training did help keep me in shape considering that was a pretty easy run. I did promise that I would pay more attention moving forward. Besides running, I was also able to get some aquarunning intervals in too, which I am starting to long for (what the heck is wrong with me?).
I also discovered something really interesting last week too, my foot pain went away but the tightness in my calf was still there and by the second run that week, I felt it move up to my hamstring and lower back on the same side. I am hoping that this is the reason I was having pain in the first place because to me, it seems a lot more manageable. I tried to get on the foam roller a little more often and definitely need to incorporate some massages into my schedule. I have to admit though, this whole running life is very expensive, from gear, gym/pool fees, physical therapy, supplements and now maybe massages? Somethings have to suffer and I just don’t know which things to cut first.
Anyway, I hope I have a post next week discussing further running progress — my fingers are crossed!
Another solid week of training down in the books and really enjoying the variety of workouts, especially the swimming. This week ended with a weekend hiking trip in Yosemite that had me and my friends scaling up and down Half Dome, unbelievably beautiful and scary at the same time. Being in a place like that really clears your head and mind of frivolous concerns of city life and allows you to regroup and reset priorities. I get so excited every time I recall this trip but the details will have to be on a different post later.
Here is what my training looked like for the week:
Monday – Rest
Tuesday – Spin (1 hour with 5×4:00 standing climbs, 2 min. recovery)
Wednesday – Swim (1 hour with 250 yd kick board and 600 yd aquarunning)
Thursday – Elliptical/Weights (1 hour elliptical plus full body weights)
Friday – Swim (1 hour 20 min. aquarunning with 4×6:00 repeats and 3 min recovery)
Saturday – Hike (Upper Yosemite Falls – ~9 miles from Curry Village)
Sunday – Half Dome (~19 miles from Curry Village)
Ending the weekend with all this crazy hiking, I felt exhausted yet refreshed at the same time because I didn’t experience any foot issues. I hope this is a major sign of my recovery. Running starts on Monday, but at a reasonable comeback rate. Hooray!
Today got to Woollett Aquatics Center and found out they had an event going on so had to go to Northwood instead. This Aquarunning session was soooo tough. 20:00 warm-up followed by 3×9:00 (hard) repeats with 4:00 recovery. This will look like cake tomorrow when I have to run in pool for 1:45:00! Ahh…the benefits of being injured – NOT!
I know when you read the title of this blog, you are probably thinking of the internet acronym that we sometimes use while texting or commenting electronically but this is ROLF, a physical therapy technique invented by Ida Rolf which is basically soft tissue manipulation, or a way to reorganize connective tissue (this is totally new to me but there is a lot of online info available).
I had the pleasure of experiencing Rolfing this past Tuesday during track practice and let me tell you, it was no laughing matter. My coach had arranged this session for me because you may or may not know that I have not attempted to run one time since the ET Midnight Half Marathon August 13th (that story/update to come). I dropped out of the race around mile 6, leaving my victory for someone else and have been limping every since. Read the rest of this entry »
It seems like the summer came and went while I was still blinking. Well, technically it is still summer but we are already in August and the time is flying by! I guess running-wise summer was dedicated to speed training and mastering the 5K, a race I have managed to avoid for nearly a decade.
I started training with my coach in early February after running a balls-out (see race post here) 1:26 half at Surf City. At that point she was living in Vegas and our training was more virtual — phone, emails and text messages. She knew my only goal was to run sub-3 (2:59:59) and after several discussions and a few workouts under my belt, we decided we would get me through LA Marathon (only 6 weeks away) and then focus on that goal. Before long I found myself injured the week of the marathon by either freak massage accident or some other weird and unexplained anomaly. My training went on hold for 8 weeks before we started training again, this time she had moved to Los Angeles to train with our group and we started at a much slower and easier rate to ensure my injury stayed away!
As soon as we had established a base and felt safe that I had recovered, my coach met me at the track to see what I could do. I dreaded this day and I was not surprised that this track workout would kick my butt. It was tough, at least for me: 1600 (5:48), 1200 (5:48p), 800 (5:24p) and 400 (:78s). Coach ran directly in front of me and I just had to shadow her and not pay attention to my watch. The first 1600 felt great and I was excited upon hearing my split the next two were torturous because my coach got out ahead of me, really far, and since I was instructed to not look at my watch, I had assumed that I was hitting the wall only to find out that I was on pace and she had just darted ahead. After the 1200, I just hunched over and I swear to this day that my eyes wanted to roll and stick to the back of my head. By then I knew the hard part was over and I just had to get in the last shorter repeats.
As dreadful as that day was, it was also a new chapter in my running “life” or whatever you want to call it because I discovered that I always had the potential to run faster but never really challenged myself in a way to see how fast I could go because I was a marathon runner — marathoners don’t have speed right? In my own training programs (Hal Higdon modified), I did nearly every run at my marathon pace 7:30 and during track my mile splits were mid 6:00’s and I thought that was borderline too fast. (Just writing that last line makes me cringe to think of all the mistakes I was making trying to train myself.) It was also great for my coach to see this so she could give me workouts that would help me improve and reach more realistic goals, one of which would be breaking 18:00 during the summer since we had some time before marathon training would begin.
Soon enough our small group of 4-5 runners were meeting every week for track and long runs. I found these run to be invaluable because we were able to push together (or me rather, me chase) and of course bond. Everything seems a little easier with very inspiring and motivating people around you.
We started training in early May and I ran one 5K per month from June to August running a 19:11 (Magic Shoe ), 16:59 (Every Child Matters – short course and very disappointing), 18:32 (Northgate Downtown Anaheim), 18:04 (City of Cypress) and finally 18:18 (Pride of the Valley).
I was devastated when I caught a severe cold just a few days before Pride of the Valley because this was the last 5K coach was going to let me run this year and also because this is a FAST PR course — I should have no problem breaking 18:00! As I always say, you can never predict what will happen in a marathon but now I firmly believe that rings true for most competitions with so many factors leading up to the race and of course during. I crossed that last 5K finish line a little disappointed at first but then I realized I was so happy to say that I am really an 18-something minute 5K runner — sick or not! My day got so much better that evening when I received a few text messages from coach: You still ran well. If you weren’t sick you would have gotten a PR no doubt, to be able to do what you did today, I am proud of you. You and I will run a 5K together so you can go under 18. I was so excited — one more chance! Hooray, there is still hope! :D
Time: 18:04, 2nd W, 1st in AG. Click HERE for complete results.
Feeling super excited after my last race performance at the 30th Annual City of Cypress 5K. My goal for the day was to try and reach an 18:10 time but after disastrous morning up to the race start, I just hoped to finish without jumping into a porta-potty along the course. I guess mentally everything seemed to be going wrong even though it wasn’t SUCH a big deal that I had waited forever in the port-potty line only to jump in and realize there wasn’t any toilet paper (so didn’t use it) and after that I didn’t have any time left for warming-up. I did a few strides before I found my coach and teammates at the starting line. I simply went up to my coach and told her, “Tell me I am going to be fine even though I didn’t warm up.” She simply hugged me, gave me this kind smile and look directly in my eye and told me to get in a few more strides and I would be fine. I felt better but was still worried about my stomach that was still making all kinds of crazy noises!
This venue hosted both a 5K and 10K with cash prizes available for the 10K winners. I always expect fast competition at these events and I don’t mind getting my butt kicked if it could possibly mean faster race times for me. As you can see from the first line of this post, I took second overall in the 5K but because the both races started simultaneously, with the looping the 5K twice, I was surprised (pleasantly) when my boyfriend told me I was the second woman finisher behind my coach – SCORE! I remembered there at least a few gals in front of me as I headed down the dreadfully long mile finish but it made sense that they had kept going around for the second loop. Geez, they were pretty darn good. I only had enough fuel in me to get to the shoot before I hunched over in exhaustion.
Anyway, I just planned on consistent 5:52 splits to get me to that 18:10 but as soon as the gun went off, and I am noticing this in every 5K that I am running, EVERYONE takes off like a bat out of hell. Seriously, I glanced at my watch and we were running 5:36 and there were tons of runners in front going even faster (even kids)! It seems really fast but when you are in the race momentum, it really doesn’t seem that crazy until you pay for it later when you hit the wall. I made the hardest effort to slow down to stay on MY target pace and found myself right on at the first mile mark. A little after the mile marker, we turned right into a residential area and I totally got sidetracked, my mind was wandering all over the place. It was a good thing I caught that quickly enough to avoid losing precious seconds during that mile. My teammate Radell was near me at the point where I jumped back on pace and told me to hold my pace and not push it just yet. I was grateful for that although I knew I was only making up for the seconds I had just lost.
It seems that we had a few more turns in a residential area before we hit the final mile stretch and I was feeling pretty good. I kept glancing at my watch to check my average pace and knew I was right around my goal but I had to keep pushing if I was going to make it. By this time Radell had pushed ahead of me and I just kept my sights on him and down the road searching for the finish line balloon banner. The final stretch was pretty uncomfortable and I started to question my strength when I realized that this mile seemed so long! Thankfully I had adjusted my bezel settings earlier to see my overall time and I realized I was going to finish faster than 18:10 (no way!) and before I knew it, I was staring down the timer that was still showing under 18:00. I just kicked and kept my eye on it, finishing in 18:04. So close to breaking 18:00 and for a split second I questioned myself as to why I started to give up when I was so close but then I remembered that I had achieved my goal and to “always be grateful.”
Overall a great race venue that I would definitely race again.
Here’s to breaking 18:00 (next time)…
I promised myself that today, my day off from exercising that I would do two things — work on a craft project and post on my page. I finished the craft, (see photo below) and I am in the middle of typing my post now so I’m happy about that. Seems like two things that aren’t really that complicated to squeeze into my schedule but I have been so crazy busy lately that I rarely get to do the other things that I love. It seems that my weekdays leave me only enough time to get a run in after work and not much else. Weekends aren’t much better because I typically have a long run on Sunday which means I am prisoner on Saturday to reserve any energy I have for it and then after the run on Sunday, I am completely wiped out for the rest of the day. Complete party pooper. Grandma. Whatever. It probably sounds like I am complaining but really, I do enjoy my running and I know that I have to endure this schedule (temporarily) if I really want to break 3:00:00 in November. It all comes down to how badly I want to achieve it. I am so lucky to have such wonderful people in my life that support me, especially Dom. Poor guy (or lucky guy) rarely hears from me during the week and only gets to see me like one, maybe two nights throughout the whole week.
This weekend a group of us are going to see Journey, last year we saw a cover band at the OC Fair and had a lot of fun, can’t imagine how awesome this will be. The concert will be on Saturday night and that morning I will be running the City of Cypress 5K. Thank goodness the race is before the concert or that would be an event killer. Let’s just see how Sunday’s run goes — I probably will call in sick. Coach, don’t read this.
Anyway, training has been going exceptionally well. I am really excited to see what the future holds. I was just messaging someone today about how I am afraid to celebrate my current training after what happened to me the week before LA Marathon. I guess I shouldn’t be so afraid but I do know that anything can happen from now until November until I cross that finish line I can’t really celebrate. Coach has been so great, her training programs are extremely good (and even more difficult) and I can literally see and feel the difference. My running mates, especially Radell have been very motivating and encouraging and I know that they are also contributing to my improvements. I would suggest to anyone who wants to improve — run with people that are gonna push you. Don’t get discouraged if you are not the fastest, in fact I am practically the turtle on the team. At first it kinda sucks, especially when you have to chase people around the track and during tempos but at the end of the day, you get so strong physically and mentally and it helps you as a competitor.
For my race this weekend I have a goal (of course) to try and beat my last time of 18:32. I want to shoot for a 5:52 pace and try to finish around 18:10. Every time I get nervous or doubtful, I just think about the hard workouts that have prepared me for this moment. I’d say of all the workouts I had in the last two weeks the one that hurt the most was a two mile repeat (two of them) at Griffith Park. I nearly gave up and I wanted to cry (or at least I told myself that I would cry when it was over). By the time the workout was done, I had accomplished it. Yeah I was off during my last repeat but I did it and I was so happy that I didn’t give in to my weakness. Looking forward to the race and testing my training.
I ran across this great quote the other day and it really hit home – hope you enjoy it:
“The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show us how badly we want something.” -Randy Pausch
Hope everyone is running happy and healthy!
Wow. A Snails Pace really represented this past weekend in the 12th Northgate Downtown Anaheim 5K. Actually, this race attracted A LOT of fast runners in general, very impressive. Loved it! I ran an 18:32 and was the 9th female finisher, 3rd in age group and 41 out of 1231. The winning F finished in 17:19 while the winning M time was 15:03 — talk about crazy fast!
Click HERE for full results.
Anyway, I really wanted to run another race after leaving my last 5K race uncertain of my real time since the course was cut short (2.85 miles). I asked my coach if I could give it a shot and she was more than happy to re-work out my schedule for the week so I could squeeze it in. I was really excited to see her show up to the event along with two other teammates Radell and Bill. My boyfriend also decided to be spectator instead of racing so he could support me and act as photographer (thank you Goose).
Now I don’t really know how to set goals for this type of short race right now but I am going to see if eventually I can break 18:00 this year. For this race, I figured I would try to hit a 5:52 pace to finish around an 18:10. The only stern direction I got from my coach was that I make sure I don’t go out too fast. Noted. She didn’t have to really convince me though, these races are exhausting and the last thing I want to do is hit the wall too early.
Anyway, during my typical pre-track/race warm-up, I was feeling fatigued but once the race started, I was just fine. As the gun went off, I tried to keep an eye on my watch to check my pace. It’s not easy to stay on any kind of pace when you are training faster than you are used to and have to stare at your watch just to make sure you are where you need to be. I tend to find myself looking at it a little too much during races, track and tempos and I actually wear the watch with the bezel at the back of my wrist so I can inconspicuously view it without notice.
I came through the first mile around 5:53 (perfect) and started to feel tired around halfway. To my surprise my coach was waiting for me at the two mile mark ready to run me in to the finish and keep me on pace. She had started the race with us to do her own personal time trial for two miles and boy was she was flying! As I saw her I was both happy and worried that I wouldn’t be able to keep up my pace. Luckily she didn’t say much, she just stayed right in front of me hoping I’d try to shadow as I do during track practice. Mentally that helped, it was a common feeling and although I was slowing down, and my arms again felt like dead weight and I knew I might be in trouble when a woman who had been only a few feet in front of me until about 2.5, started to get further ahead without any sort of struggle on my end to prevent it.
I managed to hang on and run the last two miles in 6:03 and 6:05 and was extremely happy to see the finish line and remembered what my coach told me when I had finished: BE PATIENT AND ALWAYS GRATEFUL.
Twenty more days until the next one. I don’t want to think about hitting a goal just yet, I just want to training hard and smart and let my legs carry to the finish.
The past week has been dreadfully long and pretty painful for more reasons than I will elaborate publicly. Doing everything in my power to dig deep and not slumber into that bat cave that I currently long for.
Running-wise, another solid week! Five weeks in and I am feeling very strong mentally and physically. I am also taking note of the change of my energy while 5K training (compared to mary training). So much more energy, so much more time on my hands – can’t complain, gotta enjoy it while I can. Had a few good runs in this week – most notably track (see workout here), the Every Child Matters 5K (see workout here) and today’s long run (see workout here). Just keeping all my fingers and toes crossed that they will continue to get better all the while avoiding injuries.
I ran that 5K yesterday and really, it wasn’t 5K, it was about 2.85 miles, nearly a quarter mile short! I found that rather disappointing because I am so eager to see where I will land at the finish line so I can determine a really 5K goal moving forward. I crossed the line at 16:59, first female and rather pissed off. I was really annoyed when on camera I was asked to say my name, finishing place and time because I wanted to throw that “but” in there right after saying, “Hi, my name is Tracy Bowling, I was the first female finisher with a time of 16:59.” Kind of felt like I was lying…oh well, not my fault. I know it is safe to say I would have ran low 18′s and that pushes my goal to break 18:00 this year. This is much easier than a mary just simply due to statistics – I can race a 5K every weekend and get lots of practice and experience without taking a major toll on my body. I guess we will just have to keep plugging away at it, I say “we” because my coach is 100% in to help make all my running goals realistic.
Not much else to say…I am typing from bed while I procrastinate packing my bags for NYC tonight. All work I am afraid, and a little play that will surely equal one nice run in Central Park. Oh, I can’t forget hitting up all my favorite bead stores and restaurants!! I seriously LOVE New York.
PS – RIP Remy. He must have been visiting because I had never met him or any other rat for that matter at my place before. Apparently he had such a wild fiesta while I was away, gorging on my Tostitos chips, that he decided to stay permanently. He only lasted two days here before the exterminator caught him. Gross right? Well I only tell you so you won’t ever ask to stay at my place when you have a marathon in my area… JK
First of all, I can’t even believe I can focus long enough to put this post up. I just applied a clay mask and my face is literally pulsating and it is not even completely dry! If you want to try an amazing facial mask, you have to try this — at least for the experience: Aztec Secret’s Indian Healing Clay. My friend Chris told me about it and I told my BF’s sisters about it and we all love it. I picked it up from Whole Foods (I told you this store takes all my money!) for like $6-7 bucks plus $3 for the apple cider vinegar that you need to mix in with powder. I neglect my face a little too often, opting to spend $100 on new running shoes rather than getting a facial. This mask kind of makes me feel better about buying the shoes and only paying $7 for this facial.
ANYWAY, today I had a great track workout with my coach. We did a ladder-type workout and it was THE hardest run in a long time. Coach decided to come to my workout to critique my form and to see what I can do. She actually ran with me – I had to stay on her shoulder, right behind her. As I mentioned before, my arms feel like lead and today was no exception. The first 1600 felt good – 5:40 splits. All the others were hard but I hit my marks. I get so frustrated when I do these kind of workouts where I am on the verge of missing my marks. These shorter distances make me experience a pain like I have not ever felt – it is not easy for me to want to get back out there on the track or in a 5K but I know that I have to do it if I want to get faster. (Stop being a puss Trace!) Coach was glad she was able to run with me – she said I am faster than she thought and she is no longer going to take it easy on me. I know I will have my work cut out for me. Glad this workout is over and a little excited to think I am heading towards a full recovery.
A few exciting things came my way today: I registered for the SF half marathon in July and I got some new running shoes! I am excited about SF since last year I had to cancel my participation because of my stress fracture. This year I have a lot of friends running either the full or half and we love getting together for these types of events so it should be a blast. I have no idea what my timed goal should be – how fast can I prep for a mary? It is only 10 weeks away and I hear it is NOT a course for a PR …I guess I should talk to coach.
I also headed to Runnergy during my lunch break to pick up another pair of shoes. I did just buy a pair of Saucony Grid Flex this past weekend but I bought them with the intention to race in or wear to the track. I still needed a pair of trainers badly because I don’t like the Mizuno Wave Riders (14) at all. I absolutely fell in love with the 13s and when they came out with a new model, I gladly swooped up a pair. Unfortunately they didn’t grow on me and I have never experience so many blisters and feet issues. I scoured the internet, checked local running stores and even had Runnergy call Mizuno direct to find the 13s – and there aren’t any size 9′s anywhere in this country. I thought this might be a good opportunity to try out a different type of shoe with similar features but maybe lighten the shoe up a bit and go with something a little less heavy and bulky. Up until the Wave Riders, I was mistakenly wearing shoes with too much stability when I needed a more neutral shoe. I have been wanting to try the KSWISS – they have some nice shoes and I tried on the Blade Light (I think) and the Adidas Adizero Boston 2s before deciding to go with Adidas. I not only liked the obnoxious color, I loved how light they were. I was able to test them out today during my track workout and loved them. I am hoping to wear them during my normal training runs and then find a good pair of flats for the track. After that I won’t buy anymore shoes for a while (although I still want KSWISS). I totally got hooked up too – Jeff (the owner) gave me a pretty good discount and I love that I can totally ransack the place when trying on a million pairs of shoes all the while feeling comfortable telling him that the color of my shoe is almost important as it’s technical features.
Anyway, I have to get this mask off my face…my pores can’t possibly shrink anymore and I am tired of smelling vinegar. You should still try it out though…
Another week down in the books – Week #3! Finished this week up with a 5K race in Corona del Mar. The race wasn’t a real race for me – a good training run to get an idea of my fitness and to test my hip since my injury. My coach mentioned this race and I was excited to register and got our group of women (including coach) to register not only as individuals, as a team. I get excited over things like that and I always like running with people I know so it sounded like a good plan. As for myself, I didn’t have any great plans or expectations…just run. The plan was to run 6:20 pace and if I am feeling up to it, pick it up. Nothing too special to report, I felt great and ran a 19:12 (6:11 pace). The only thing that did bother me and always bothers me are my heavy arms. They feel like lead during most and I need to figure something out because it is really annoying! Overall a great day for all – coach came in to finish first (W) running a 17:32 and we finished second overall as a team. NEXT TIME!
I am all about counting when it comes to my training – I count the months, weeks, days, miles…everything! Every time I trained for a mary or any other special occasion, I have always counted: Week 1 of 18, Day 23 of 60 for example. I don’t really want to do that anymore because when it gets to the wire, well, I haven’t had much luck making it to that final day. :) But it’s me and I can’t help it! …And it does help. Kinda keeps me on track and focused. Well, I am at it again and I guess it is safe to say this is my THIRD week back officially!
Week two by far has been the most challenging, ending the week with 46 miles and falling short during my tempo run. I was so frustrated that day – how is it that right before my marathon I ran the last 4 miles of a 22-mile run at 6:40 pace but I could not run 4 miles at 7:00 pace? Fortunately my long run ending that week was a 10-miler and I hit my targets perfectly — I had to focus, but I did it. YES
Week 3 (last week) was a bit easier – only 36 miles but I had a track workout on Tuesday and finished the week with a 12-miler, averaging around 7:28 per mile. Nothing this week (including my track/tempo) was as challenging as my long run. That run was hard because I ran near my home and I get bored running the same loops year after year, not to mention I was alone. Cardio-wise, it was a little tough and I had to work to make up for my slow starting miles. I finished the workout beaming with excitement and ready to really focus on something in the near future. IT’S ABOUT TIME.
Right now I am really excited to run with my coach and four of her other athletes this weekend for the Magic Shoe 5K. We are registering as a team and hopefully we can win as an all Female team. I will most definitely be the weakest link but I don’t care – I am gonna push through just like I did at Surf City in February. It’s only the start of my speed-like runs and I know I will get better as I get more speed runs in. I have no idea what I will run a 5K in – 20 minutes? IDK! Don’t quote me on this!
I have also been very conscious with my diet. I love food. I love anything that is thick and bread-y — like carrot cake with cream cheese frosting, double-singles animal style with chopped chiles, maple donuts, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, etc. I am NOT letting myself over-indulge at this point. I do eat them, just not as often. I noticed a slight change in my tummy and butt (I do the daily butt-squeeze-in-the-mirror-test), specifically cellulite and although I ALWAYS have it, it was really, really dimply and I didn’t like it — especially with bikini season coming up! It’s been a few weeks and I notice there aren’t as many dimples so I am OK with what is there, it is what it is and I do like my butt and wouldn’t want it any other way! ;)
At my last doctor’s visit, my coach told me to get my ph levels checked – TOTAL FAIL! I have since then purchased litmus paper (arriving on Thursday via my boyfriend) and daily testing will be in effect. Having said this, I try to eat many more fruits and veggies and I don’t forget to take my minerals. And as always, I have a new obsession (actually two) — Green SuperFood Powder (specifically the Lemon Lime flavor) from Amazing Grass that I drink once daily. I have been trying the individual packets, testing all the brands and flavors and this one I can actually stir in with 8oz of water and not heave. Before I found this one, I would stir the powder in with only a little water and down it like a shot (minus the lime and salt).
Also, I am happy that I FINALLY found the Perfect Foods Bar! I remember when I spectated at the San Diego RnR marathon last year (11 months ago!), I ate all my friend’s sample bars. They were sooooo good – I don’t even know how to explain it but the peanut flavored bars literally fell apart in my mouth. My friend said I could get them at Whole Foods and I made it my mission to get some. Sadly enough I didn’t really pay attention to the brand because I thought I would find them easily and only a week ago I found them! I never looked in the cold raw food section of the market and that is where they were the whole time! I only found them when I noticed this woman dump two whole cases into her cart. As she left the aisle I hurried over to see what I was missing – gold mine! Anyway, these bars a soooooo good – did I already say that? Well, I bought my own bars and have been eating one everyday although I fight myself not to have two per day as they are kind of high in calories. They just taste like peanut butter blended with honey…
I found both of these things at Whole Foods. Typically I try to stay away from this store because I want to buy everything — from Toms shoes, to organic skin care items, to vitamins and of course really unique food items. I decided that even though I get half the food for twice the price (compared to Trader Joes), I am only going to shop here. Doesn’t make sense to you but I justified it like this: When I go to Trader Joes, I buy random stuff that gets tossed in the trash week after week. Shopping at Whole Foods puts me on a budget and I make sure to get what I really want and need. Plus, I always love their stuff!
Anyway, all this talk about the grocery store is getting me hungry, I have to eat! And one last thing, don’t act like you don’t do the butt-squeeze-in-the-mirror-test…
Yep, the first one in who knows how long. Hopefully I will be able to eliminate some of the long overdue items from my task list including laundry, budgeting, cooking, organizing and even listing some items for sale on Craigslist (Twilight Series books – anyone?) I also want to read some more books on my Kindle — I am in the middle of two: The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty and 50 Self-Help Classics (think Deepak Chopra, Ralph Waldo Emerson, etc.). Complete opposites, I know but I love them both!
Tonight (Friday) started pretty good, I took a little nap after work before heading out the door for a 7 mile run. The runs are getting easier but I am a little annoyed that I am not in the same shape that I was when I got injured. I am making progress though and that is all that matters. Also excited to get a run in with my coach and a friend from LARR on Sunday. I think we are going to get in 12 miles at Griffith Park and hopefully I can hang with them. Coach said we are going to run MY pace – we shall see about that!
Alright, I am out for the night. Going to open my $4.95 cent wine that I picked up from World Market. They had this sale – $4.95 regularly $14.95 . Sounded pretty darn good…now I have to find out.
I am so happy to say that this is my third week running – hooray! I still can’t believe it. The setback really felt like it took forever! My first week back was pretty laid back, mostly test runs and by that Sunday, coach let me race the 9 mile run at Big Sur. It was more like a training run – nothing fast to brag about (Click here for a quick recap). Last week was my second real week back and I got in around 46 miles, pilates and one spin class. This week I feel much stronger than last and I was exhausting myself just worrying about how much fitness I lost in six weeks. Right now I am just trying to focus on staying healthy and I am not really talking marathons at this point.
I spoke to my coach today and she told me to start thinking of some goals and (short) races so we can get me on track. I have been very curious how quickly I can run a 5k because right before my injury while training for a marathon, I would have bet that I could run around 18:00 because I was consistently running good tempo and hard track workouts. Now anything in the 19:00 range seems scary. I know that these short races will also help me improve in the mary so I am willing to do them even though they are way more painful than 26.2.
Besides running, I haven’t been up to much — well except stockpiling new gear. I have a problem, I know. But I am really excited about the two newest purchases which include Oakley sunglasses and little 6oz bottle that I can add to my favorite running belt (click here for my marathon must-haves). I have wanted running glasses forever but I am not a fan of anything masculine on me. As it is, when I am deep in training, I kind of get a complex that I look like a boy. Note: I ALWAYS wear earrings, pink and I never race without my Mac Fluidline eyeliner! Say what you want but I love being a woman… Anyway, I have already wore them in a few of my runs and they are awesome. LOVE them. Problem is that I found out I can buy different colored lenses to switch things up a bit and I really shouldn’t buy anything else. The belt bottles are really cool because they are small and I don’t like to carry things when I run. Last time I ran with my coach, she wouldn’t let me run with my huge bottle because she said it would mess up my running form and she carried for me (after first pouring out some liquid so it wouldn’t be too heavy). Thanks coach! I never liked fuel belts because they look really dorky (sorry, they do) and they bounce around a lot. I think when I add the bottle or two to it, it will look exactly like one but I don’t care anymore. As long as it works – right?
Anyway, as always, THANK YOU for all the kind words of encouragement!!!!
My Boston race experience was not what I expected and it went something like this:
Start. Run for 40 minutes. Walk. Walk. Walk. Walk. *Smile* (camera). Bar stop. Walk. Walk. Run (there’s another camera). Walk. *Kiss* (Wellesley) Walk. *Smile* (camera). Walk. Walk. Walk. *complain* Walk. Walk some more and finally, FINISH! Read the rest of this entry »
Boston is literally just around the corner and I just decided last week that I would suck up all my anger and frustration and just go and enjoy my time there without running. This was a hard decision but like everything in life, time makes you less sensitive and eventually you realize that whatever you are going through will not last forever. So there.
I had recently asked all you if you thought I could still wear all the Boston gear I bought without actually racing and the overall consensus was “YES.” I qualified to run it and I deserve to wear it proudly. I dare you to say something mean. I loved reading everyone’s opinions and it was obvious that we are all very passionate about that opinion too. I finally decided that I would return all the stuff (jacket and two pair of shorts) I purchased since I ordered them online through adidas.com. When I went to grab the stuff to package, I realized I ripped off the tag of one pair of shorts so I guess I am keeping those – I must have been excited when I tried them on or something. I think I made the right decision – I will have an extra $100 in my account PLUS I am going to get a long sleeve race shirt when I pick up my bib anyway. That turned out well.
Now that I know I am not running and no longer have to worry about “resting” before the race, mind has shifted to all the things I want to do while in Boston. Besides visiting my long lost cousin for a few days, I want to be a tourist and have been accumulating a long list of things to do. I am just starting to put the list together and I would love to get your suggestions! I will be flying out on Friday morning and returning Tuesday night.
Now it’s time for me to pack. I hate packing more than anything else. I don’t know why but I think I don’t like having to commit to what I am gonna wear. I like to have all the options in my closet available and that can’t happen – at least not with all these increased bag-check rates. Today I bought my very first suitcase simply because I hate packing and usually just toss stuff into duffle bags and head out. Nothing too expensive and I think it is bright enough to immediately recognize when coming around the conveyor belt. Right?
Also, I am trading my LA Marathon racing shirt to a fellow DM’r (Michael P.) from Singapore. He is swapping me for a racing singlet – really excited to get this singlet and glad to get rid of that dreadful race shirt! Michael – I will ship it out tomorrow!
Anyway, I have so many things and have to get offline soon. I am so excited for everyone that is racing on Monday and look forward to hearing everyone’s stories. I am sure I will have my own to tell and can’t wait to get there.
I’m back! Ha – back to blogging, not running. Here is a quick update to my current non-running situation: Rest. Rest. And more rest. That is about all I am doing in the running department. Believe it or not, I feel great when I am not running – no aches, no pains. It is when I try to run again or after therapy that I am sore for a few days after. Last doctors appointment I just tried to get to the bottom of this issue and discussed this in length with my doctor. I told him that I can put all these races and non-running days behind me but I need a reason and I need to know I am going to be OK. Not knowing is driving me nuts. I mean, I thought I would have been running by now but I can’t. I tried running last week (see purple watch photo) and got in nearly 2 minutes in before I called it a day. Nothing too painful but just not ready to go on. I brought up the MRI and he said that it won’t really help to get an MRI because of where I am having issues and that it won’t really show anything. He did suggest an x-ray which I actually forgot about until now. *eep* At the end of the day he told me NOT to worry, I am improving a lot but I need more rest. My injury is more severe than we had anticipated and of course LA didn’t help. My left sacroiliac joint is jammed and my pelvis is not moving well. For the first time in weeks I was able to hear a popping noise in that area while stretching – the good popping, don’t worry. I felt a lot of relief with that little noise believe it or not. All in all I am trying to stay healthy and not planning any races just yet. One thing at a time right?
During this down time I have been occupying my time with pilates at Yogaworks. I bought a Groupon and I am really enjoying it. I go only twice a week so far but this week I am going to step on the gas a little and do more cardio so I don’t feel like I am running out of gas! I have also gone to the gym and have lifted some (light) weights along with some minor cardio. None of these things seem to bother my condition and doc said I can continue to do anything as long as it doesn’t cause pain. The other day at the gym I was kind of surprised to see all my muscles I was when I was lifting weights – I haven’t been to the gym in such a long time but all this running really toned my arms, quads and even abs. I got sad for a second when I thought that all my hard work was about to go down the drain from this little break but then I got over it really fast the next time I was at pilates and my abs were burning from all those abs exercises. I realized that I had started getting into yoga a while back and then backed off for some reason – I probably ran out of time or something but now I am liking it again and hope to continue in this direction. I picked up these cute seamless bras and shorts perfect for yoga/pilates — very comfortable. I realized I didn’t really have any workout gear besides running and I had bought one bra before and really loved it. Super comfy and really cute – only $10-15 depending on style.
Anyway, about to head out soon – going to take my first ballet lesson every with Jen L. I am really excited. I always wanted to take classes when I was very young but I wasn’t allowed to. This should be pretty funny and I will ask her to record a portion of it for giggles. And now I have an excuse to wear legwarmers! YES!
Thanks for all your nice messages and words of encouragement and please run some miles for me too!
I am taking two weeks completely off with zero running. It’s the only right thing to do right now. Taking baby running steps is only taking me back a few more and getting me nowhere. Boston is for the most part not happening unless miraculously something happens and changes in the other direction.
Coach and I discussed this and decided to put it out of my mind and not attempt to make it up (right away) by running a different so soon. Step one is to get better and the next step is setting shorter-termed goals with shorter distances.
Boston is not completely out of my mind though and I didn’t tell my coach this. Boston is a dream we all have as marathoners. I realized that I will hate every moment running Boston if I am not going to run it fast. Maybe you don’t agree but I will never forget the moment during LA when I stopped and how I felt as the slower pace groups passed me. I wasn’t tired at all – I was trapped in this injured body and couldn’t do anything to change that. Heartbreaking. I can’t imagine running Boston just to finish and still crack a smile and enjoy the amazing experience of being there. Everyone is telling me how positive I am – I don’t feel that way all the time. I have these up and down bouts of emotion that are driving me crazy. Like super crazy. I will run Boston if I think it is safe and I am not injured…it is the only way. So if I do, I do, and if I don’t then I don’t. It is not the end of the world (although it feels like it in some weird way). I can always cancel my hotel, get a credit for my Virgin Airlines flight, sell my Redsox tix and sell or trade all the Boston gear that I already bought if necessary. That last part is funny and I will never buy race branded gear before I get to that starting line! So if you are running Boston and I don’t, I have some nice Boston gear in a size small that I am willing to barter with. J
Anyway, for now get better. Then train for 5ks and 10ks. Get some PRs and then do some half marys. My next marathon will be in November. Well, I hope that I will be able to run a marathon in November. I am starting to learn that with marathons whether training for them or during the races themselves, are so unpredictable – anything can happen.
Sometimes I actually do think a little clearly during this whole fiasco and I do think that increasing those shorter distances will only improve my marathon time and maybe that is what I should have done first. Don’t know but I am up for it. Don’t tell me I told you so. I am constantly beating myself up as it is trying to figure out what happened.
I am not gonna lie. I am so frustrated. I am in soooo much pain. Something happened to me, don’t know when, don’t know how. Seems like I might have a slipped disc or an issue with my sciatic. Not sure if that is good news compared to thinking I had some problem with my butt. Whatever it is, it is one of the most painful things I have experienced! Thankfully, I am started to feel better today – still in a lot of pain but walking with less of a limp.
Following the race on Sunday, I went back to the doctor (chiro) on Tuesday for some more adjustments and a lot of prodding to figure out where and the heck I really hurt. Oddly enough, I can’t quite pinpoint it. We did some pretty intensive Active Release treatment, Class-4 Laser and Ultrasound and that left me quite exhausted. The only real information I left with was to rest for a week.
In speaking to my coach I told her what was going on in my mind. For the most part, and in truth, I am ready to deal with the fact that I might or might not run Boston. Do I really, really care? No, not really. I want this sub-3 and if Boston will delay that then I’d rather wait. Our hopes are high, I am resting/recovering, trying not to eat the whole refrigerator and enjoy some long deserved time off. More than anything I am frustrated. For one, I listened, learned and was patient and yet this had to happen right around showtime. Right now I am not talking Boston, I am going no matter what, but I don’t want to talk about it too much and consume my mind with what-ifs. Deep down though, I want it.
Anyway, enough about running. It is definitely not my life (although it does make it a little funner)!
So, I moved about a month ago to a new place and I haven’t really had time to settle into my new space. Yesterday I unpacked one of the last two boxes and I started thinking about my next project. I simply cannot not do anything, I have to keep busy and I have to have a plan or I will go crazy. Something to work on I know… This past weekend I told my boyfriend that I wanted to refresh my Spanish speaking skills. I have a lot of friends that speak a lot of Spanish and I think it would be nice to converse with them in a language that I love and lost while studying Hebrew. Now when I speak Spanish, I accidentally say certain things in Hebrew – all in the same sentence! My friends are probably thinking, “That is not Spanish, what the heck is she saying!” I don’t bother to mention it is another language…I probably should so they won’t think my Spanish is super horrible. HAHA. I am not fluent in Hebrew though – I know about 500-700 Hebrew words and phrases and my accent is pretty incredible. One day I hope to know several languages, I find them so interesting. Anyway, I look forward to this – it’s also an excuse to bust out my note cards, markers, pens, and notebooks. I love all that stuff.
Besides that, I am going to continue to work on the running group logo/website and of course some sort of craft project. I will keep you posted…I KNOW you are so interested in that. JK
What a crazy marathon! I knew that going into the race there was a chance that I might have that pain that I had been complaining the week before the race. I tried to stay positive but that could only get me so far.
I had so many crazy experiences in one race – it would take me forever to get it all out in this post so I will just get to the point. First, I’d like to say thanks to everyone that encouraged me before/during/after the race. This was by far one of the worst race experiences both mentally and physically. This makes the stress fracture pain seem like a joke.
The evening before the race my coach called me and told me not to attempt a 3-hour marathon dealing with these crazy forecasted weather conditions and the recent pains I had been experiencing. “No problem coach.” LOL The plan was to run sub-7 until the half and then pick up gradually. The sub-7 plan was perfect up until a little past the half – I felt like I was in great shape. The pain in my hip/butt/back hurt from the first step and unfortunately I knew that it was a matter of how long I could endure it.
The morning weather conditions kind of threw me off a little. It was chilly, not too cold and I made a last minute decision to leave my warm Nike jacket in bag-check because I knew that on a whim I would throw it on the street when I felt a little too warm and I don’t really want to give up a jacket that I have held onto for 10 years. Luckily a friend brought me a long sleeve top and a rain poncho to use and stay warm. I can’t thank her enough because looking back, the poncho was one of the only things that kept me semi-protected from the rain and wind. Thanks Ashley! XO
After the hill at 1st and Grand, a lot of runners began to strip themselves of their warm clothes and ponchos which makes sense just getting over that hill and feeling a little heated. I also took of my poncho but I heard a guy say, “I’d hold on to that if I were you,” so I balled it up and tucked it into my waistband. Smart move, good advice! Around mile 5 it started pouring and I put it back on and never took it off again during the race.
Around mile 13 I decided that I needed to ease off the gas and walk to avoid any additional injuries but I couldn’t stop immediately (I have to admit). It was so humiliating to stop in front of cheering spectators – I felt like a total quitter. I slowed my pace for an additional 3 miles before I realized that I shouldn’t do that so I took my first walking step at around mile 17 just passed the Concern Foundation booth. Immediately as I stopped, I let out a crybaby kind of cry and someone was there immediately to comfort me – my boyfriend. He was running 7:30 splits and was able to catch me as I fell off after 13. He was very concerned and didn’t want to leave me. I sort of sucked in my cry and asked how he felt, he said he was feeling great so I told him to leave and chase that PR. I later found out that he felt so bad and couldn’t get over leaving me. There was nothing he could have done for me at that point and I had no idea what was in store for me later.
When I stopped, I really thought that a 10-mile walk wouldn’t be that bad but I soon realized that was not the case because I was not moving very well and the cold temperatures were making me completely stiff all over. Once I hit Santa Monica near Century City, I was barely moving. I could barely shuffle and finally, I could barely walk.
Getting into the VA Hospital area, I realized that 5 miles would take me about 2.5 hours at the rate I was going and I literally stopped kneeled over and cried. I stopped three or four times and finally, upon realizing that the huge tent around the corner was NOT a medical tent, I thought I was going to hyperventilate. I was so cold and shivering – my jaw was about to lock, I had bitten the heck out of my tongue with my molars from all the chattering, my back was tightening up (lower back and in between my shoulders) when Jon Li from LA Roadrunners caught up to me and walked with me for what seemed like ¾’s of a mile. He couldn’t have helped me at a more critical time, really. I had nothing in me; I couldn’t see a way out of this disaster. He helped push me forward and helped me get my breathing under control, literally walking me through breathing steps all the way to San Vicente. Before he left, I had to tell him that I was OK and that I would make it to the finish. I can’t thank him enough. Thank you Jon!
The rain never died down and although I only had four miles by the time I was on San Vicente, I wasn’t really getting anywhere. I must have looked like a zombie. I could only put one foot right in front of the other, I didn’t look around, or ahead, I just looked down now stopping every 100 meters or so to regroup. Around mile 22, I saw a Whole Foods market so I headed over there and got under the awning. I asked a spectator if I could use his phone and I called my boyfriend assuming he had finished and could rescue me. I left the Whole Foods before I realized that could have bought a sweatshirt to try and stay warm. A little later I spotted a Lululemon and I was in a zone to get in that store. I asked a guy to help me get inside and I just handed the clerk my credit card and asked her to help get me something warm. I ended up leaving with a $106.00 sweatshirt and again was on my way. I remember leaving excited and then immediately disappointed to find myself freezing again. I couldn’t believe that I made it that far without it!
My breaking point happened when I spotted a big mile marker realizing it was NOT mile 25 but mile 24! Oh no! I was completely demoralized. Mentally I thought I could go the last 1.2 miles and everyone kept trying to encourage me by saying, “you can do it, you are almost there…” I heard it so much that I lost track of my distance and I knew that there was no way I could push at that slow pace for the remaining distance. A woman had noticed me stopping and attempting to go again without much success and asked me to consider sitting in a cop car to get warm. As I finally agreed to this, some gentlemen approached the car and invited me into his home with his family. They had been watching the marathon all morning and by this time, the clock on my watch indicated that I had been out there for nearly 5 hours! Almost immediately after noticing this, the watch battery died.
Once inside, I was offered dry clothes, breakfast pizza, water, hot tea and coffee. I shyly said no to most offers as I felt I was intruding enough already. Slowly but surely I started to relax and my nightmare turned into a very pleasant moment of appreciation from their generosity. They really saved my day. At that point, I was no longer upset or disappointed, I was so thankful. It was a touching moment for me. I called my boyfriend again and waited for him and my friends to come get me. As I waited I enjoyed my coffee, watched part of Superman and was handed a laptop so I could read about the men’s winner who had ran an unbelievable record time.
Once I was picked up, the day continued with post race celebrations at the Viceroy hotel. It was nice to see Angel (Happy Birthday) and Adrian before my group settled down for the evening with nice food, drinks and better conversations. It was nice to be together again.
I can’t say thank you enough – I received so many emails, texts and voicemails yesterday and today. Shame on me for not posting or updating sooner but I felt like I was hit by a bus this morning when I woke up. I shouldn’t have gone to work but I did and I think that helped get me through the day, staying focused and distracted. Thanks to Janese for bringing me a change of clothes including the blanket that was used as a sarong!
My workout scheduled for today was to walk for 20 minutes and managed to get in .68 miles. Tomorrow I go back for PT with the chiropractor and I think I still have enough time for Boston. Oddly enough, I am excited about LA Marathon next year after this year’s experience and running a smart half. I really feel confident and less stressed about those hills. It wasn’t as bad as it was last year, assuming it was from staying reserved early in the race.
Click here for my Garmin splits.
Interesting quote from Wesley Korir after finishing the race:
Two-time defending champion Wesley Korir, who had set the race record of 2:08:24 in 2009, finished fourth in 2:13:23. He said his legs gave out at the 21st mile. ”First of all, I’d like to thank God that I’m still alive,” said Korir, smiling. “I thought it was the end of my life.”
Glad to know us “average” runners weren’t the only ones thinking this way!
Congratulations to Dom, Jen L., Jen F., Paul, Adrian, Angel, Ashley, Teresa, Maria and everyone else who finished and powered through!
I can’t believe how crazy things seem to get! I had a billion things to do today and I didn’t get any real food in me until around 3:00 pm – talk about feeling super aggravated! The first stop was the expo to pick up my bib. Dom and I quickly navigated around there rather quickly after picking up some LA Marathon gear before heading over to the USATF booth to renew my membership (I think being a member is a good way to support one of the sports I love). We had to leave rather quickly because Dom needed to study for an exam and I still needed to see my doctor one last time before the race. We checked into the hotel and I left Dom to head to the Westside to see my doc.
I can’t even describe what kind of day I had today. It was so bad on so many levels but at the end of the day I tried and tried to focus on being positive and here I am typing this without stress…YAY
Literally I woke up this morning barely able to walk. My left butt cheek felt like it was being kicked with every step I took. Talk about pain! I started the day knowing I had to chance being seen by my coach’s doctor with such short notice. I already had a back up plan of seeing another doctor if that didn’t come through. I really wanted to go to her coach since he works with a lot of athletes (he is a chiropractor). It wasn’t until about 2 pm that he got back to me and told me I would have to meet him at his house for treatment. Once there, he did several test and immediately found that my left foot and ankle were jammed and that the extreme pain I was feeling would need to be treated with with an Active Release massage. My left pelvis (just left to the sacrum) was not very mobile – kind of jammed too. That butt pain could possibly be the sciatic but my I was adjusted and I was also treated with a Class 4 laser and then taped. I left feeling a little better but I have a lot of confidence in what he did and what he will do again on Sat. when I see him. I also know that I can’t control everything that is going on. Preparing for the best…and doing the least until race day.
Today I could finally get the carbs back in me so I did it at lunch because I was about to keel over with external pain and internal emotional roller coasters. It felt like I could not have one more thing weigh me down without puking, crying or both! I sat at the table for lunch and I wasn’t hungry at all yet I knew I had to get some food in me so I forced the food down brown rice, breaded and fried salmon with a salad. Not sure if I ever felt down and out of energy from depletion (except during track when I was only able to run two of the 3 x 1 mile splits at 5:52 before deciding against the final one) and I don’t recall feeling the boost. I think all the distractions of pre-race jitters and then the pain completely removed any thoughts about it away from me. If you ask me if it was hard, the answer now would be no – it actually was the easiest part of these 20 weeks!
I have to say that I have so many supporters. I am so lucky! I guess my jitters were a little too obvious yesterday because someone brought me a gift that looked like it had peaches in it and told me that it was supposed to be a post-race gift but it looked like I needed it much sooner. It was a gift box from Whole Foods with all kinds of relaxing stuff that I should probably use ASAP.
Anyway, my BF came up to stay with me until the race to help me and I really appreciate and need it! I am so lucky to be surrounded by all of you who constantly remind me that life gets in the way, running is not everything but yet you do everything to help make that running experience amazing as ever! THANKS AGAIN!
Two full more days of hope…
So this week I thought I would really worry about carb-depleting but that is not really bothering me too much. I am surprised, really. Anyway, yesterday I had a track workout – I needed to run three one mile repeats at a pace faster than 6:00 per mile and I was only able to get through one. I think I may have been able to do it but mentally I couldn’t force myself to do it. I am really, really distracted and it is weighing me down. After the workout I spoke to my coach and she told me that I really need to relax because worrying and stressing over this race will in turn exhaust me of valuable energy. I also told her I wasn’t so sure I liked the idea of having V run with me for the first half to help keep me on pace. I don’t think I am ready for that just yet and I have my Garmin to keep me on track. I wouldn’t mind having someone for the second half of the race but oh well. Luckily she was very understanding and told me it was completely up to me – this is MY race, whatever I want. I will let her know by Friday but right now I don’t think I will have V run with me (even though that is a VERY nice gesture). I felt really good after speaking to her and today I felt just fine. Sometimes a little pep talk is all you need.
This is the third day of this diet and I am not only staying away from carbs, I am staying away from most junk that I would normally eat like pastries, candy, Dr. Pepper, etc. I think that is a good thing – sometimes I get carried away and eat so much crap and then make an excuse that I can do that since I run so many miles…BLAH BLAH. Yesterday at track I was speaking to L and I told her that I can’t wait to eat carbs to that I could have a donut. She laughed and said that was actually fat and not a carb. We had a good laugh but I really can’t wait to have one! I am a donut fanatic!
I am still deciding on what I am going to wear and a few more possibilities have crept in which now include a cute running skirt I picked up at Gap Body and the Concern Foundation (click here for more info) racing singlet. I didn’t really want to be branded but I may just pick these two items and be done with it already. I bought a pair of Nike and Mizuno shorts too and I have already ran in both and still wasn’t definite that I loved them enough to race in them.
I also have a new annoying pain in my left butt-cheek – surely related to the sore calf, etc. I believe it is my piriformis muscle. I think I am just really tense and need more stretching. I am going to get ANOTHER massage tomorrow and have that area worked on. There will be a lot of foam rolling going on in my room later. I wore a few Salonpas patches on my butt and I think it is really helping today. Anyway, hopefully it will be OK and I will get to rest after LA for a bit which will be a big help too.
Excited to meet some friends at Buca Di Beppo on Friday so we can all share our racing experiences leading up to the race including any fears and excitement. It seems like we have been training forever and the day is FINALLY upon us! It will be nice to know we are ALL going through this together.
Lastly, I won’t be able to post my detailed workouts anymore on Dalymile but I will still be around and will still stay in touch. I will try to update my blog regularly and would be happy to let you know when a new one is posted. If you want to be notified, please send me an email to trace@traceraces. Also, if you were following my training and are interested in hiring a coach, let me know. My coach is awesome and always available.
The countdown begins. It seems like that timer has been ticking in my head for quite some time and it is exhausting. I keep trying to analyze why I am such a freakazoid about this race and no matter what excuse I find I guess it is just because I expect a lot from me. I wouldn’t try for a 3:00:00 marathon in 2011 if I didn’t think I had it in me, I am just nervous. The biggest reason that I feel anxious about it unlike last year when I was doing the 12/12 is because I didn’t have any pressure and if I had a bad race, I could try again the next month. If I learned anything, I don’t want to run just any marathon anymore, they need to be pretty darn important to put my life and body on that schedule. Besides doing LA and Boston in March and April, I won’t get near another until November (more to come about this later) but will instead work on my speed and try to get some quicker PRs in 10ks and 5ks. I have yet to discuss this part with my coach but I am sure she will agree since she didn’t even want me to run Boston so close after LA. Boston was a go this year no matter what anyone said. I want this experience and I don’t know where I will want to be in 2012.
Today my coach and I more or less finalized my race day plans. I say more or less because I have THE plan (Plan A) and then I have Plan B and C. She was adamant about having other plans ready because she said you can’t every really predict race conditions. My goal for 2011 is to break 3:00:00 but I don’t really know when and where it will happen. In the reality of things, it is a big leap to jump from 3:16:16 to 2:59:59 so I have to be ready to do it or do it later this year. Right now I also don’t think taking 8 seconds off 7:00 miles will be hard but that again is not really that easy when you start doing the math. With that said, I have been waiting to hear the verdict of what my racing plans will be and now I know. Plan A for the first half of the race will include 7:00 splits and try to make my move from there, picking it up gradually. Gradually. This pace for the entire distance will put me at 3:03:00 so any amount of seconds per mile will get that time down even further. Plan B and C I don’t even want to get into and I am not trying to think about them because I don’t want to immediately jump into another plan in the race when and if I start feeling bad. I am afraid that when the going gets tough I might tell myself it is OK to go there because in a way they are part of the plan. Must not go there unless I absolutely need to. I will be doing my typical track workout warm-up which includes a two mile jog, specific drills and 6×100 strides to get my heart rate up. I will also have my training partner run with me for the first half so I don’t have to think about my times or splits, I will just have to decide what to do once I am at the half. Additionally, knowing the dreadful course, especially at the beginning I asked what happens if 7:00 seems to fast? Basically it is up to me to slow down a little knowing I have a lot of time to make it up but I don’t like the sound of making up too much time. I have enjoyed almost all my previous marys because I trained at MRP and didn’t think they were too hard. I hope I say that after Sunday. Let’s see.
I know going into the race anything can happen and you can bet that no matter what happens, I will be proud of myself. I can’t imagine anything worse than what happened at OC marathon last year and even that wasn’t so bad (pain and mental-wise). Like most of you have said, trust your training, think positive and just go with it. Thank you for all your advice, support and motivation – I owe you a big thank you!
As I mentioned earlier, my calf spasm went away – woot woot! Unfortunately after my run my foot hurt like a mofo! I needed a foot adjustment bad – you know that feeling where your foot needs to pop but it won’t? That kind of pain. I went to the chiropractor today and got adjusted. He immediately noticed my let was jammed and my left leg was having some major issues that he “fixed” by popping all kinds of stuff (neck, hip, feet). I also asked for Cold Laser Therapy which is just some red light that sends waves through the infected area and does something that I don’t entirely believe in. At this point, I am willing to believe it to get through the week and on the starting line with positive thoughts. Whatever works right?
I am also almost through a complete day of carb depleting and in my opinion it hasn’t been a big deal. Today I ate two hard-boiled eggs, banana, a slice of Muenster cheese and coconut water (breakfast), Beef/veggie stir-fry (lunch), Fage yogurt, almonds (snacks), salmon and squash (dinner). I am eating one apple, orange and yogurt a day for some sort of balance. I can also enjoy my Starbuck’s drink in the morning – thank goodness I asked about that instead of assuming I can’t have it! Happy Trace. I just spent $100 on some random food that will help me get to Thursday when I can finally have carbs (brown rice), yay! I am really loving that coconut water – it has more potassium than a banana and is a great electrolyte drink. I need to stay hydrated this week – super important. It is quite possible that I don’t have that starving feeling because I am actually hydrating. Let’s see how I feel tomorrow at the track when I have to run 3×1 mile at 5:50 pace…hahah
Speaking of money, I am spending way too much lately. I have gotten three massages in two weeks, got new shoes, spent over $100 on some running clothes that I may or may not wear on race day (not including the $150 I spent on the Boston gear), booked a hotel in my home town, spent $75 at the chiropractor and so much more on crap I can’t even list. Way to go Trace, good thing you work hard for your money! Oh, but don’t think I don’t have that extra $100 tucked in my pocket for an LA Marathon jacket – that is a must. When I am 80 years old wearing it, I will feel so cool!
Anyway, time to think positive, time to relax and time to believe in myself.
Geez, I am on a roll with my blogging – let’s see how long I can keep this up? The truth is that I always have things to blog about but I get lazy and then the moment passes.
First of all, I have been experiencing a weird feeling on my left calf. I didn’t think too much of it until yesterday when I noticed it was significantly more painful. I iced last night, slept with compression socks and then iced again this morning but the pain was still there and I was really, really worried. I called my coach who immediately told me to get a deep tissue sports massage so I left work early to get worked on. The massage was sooo painful! Almost immediately I was told that it was a muscle spasm. We spent one full hour just working on my gastrocnemius muscle and it just wouldn’t let up. Of course I am all worried because the timing is so bad! My coach thinks I am dehydrated and depleted of minerals – she is probably right though because even though I am working my ass off with all this training, I am totally neglecting my normal diet. I don’t drink enough water and my bf is always telling me to drink more. Last week I had major headaches and my tongue felt really weird and dry and then I remembered that I hadn’t had much to drink over the past few days. Crazy huh? True. Also, I am putting in around 45 hours a week in at work and always short on time. It is rare that I have anything decent for breakfast and dinner (lately anyway). I eat a good lunch but then I just fall asleep with an empty stomach. Heck, when I eat at home, I do it standing up. Regardless of what is going on with my calf, my habits must change! I am going to try to prepare my meals on Sunday for the week ahead. Let’s just hope this spasm thing goes away ASAP! I took today off and am going to rest tomorrow too. Fingers crossed!!!
OK…enough thinking about that! I finally got my Boston Marathon stuff! So excited! I assume I shouldn’t wear it until Boston – right? I am a little disappointed with the shorts, I ordered a small and they seem a little snug. I think I need to try them on again to make sure I am not crazy. Either way, the colors rock – lime green is one of my faves (behind grass green and then neon pink)!
I sort of had a breakdown four weeks ago after my long run with TCLA (Track Club LA). We ran 21 miles of the LA Marathon course and although it was helpful to get reacquainted with the course, I instead felt like it discouraged me more than ever. I know that if I hadn’t made my commitment to help raise funds for the Concern Foundation, I would reconsider running it at all. Click here to read my post workout re-cap (or complaint). The actual run itself wasn’t that bad. I guess I was just so unsure of myself that everything around the race seemed that way.
That day was just the icing on the cake as one would say and I was a wreck. I guess I had been second-guessing all my training recently. I see the improvement and I won’t deny that, but I have basically been following a Hal Higdon program (which I love and strongly recommend) that I customized for myself in hopes of running a sub-3 marathon in 2011. Partly knowing that I was responsible for my stress fracture last year and also realizing that for the past 16 weeks running had been on the forefront of all my priorities (in front of work, social, etc.), I was afraid that I could cause another sidelining injury by making another rookie mistake. I also realized I should maximize the time that I was already putting in. That makes sense, right?
I was fortunate enough to meet my friend Adrian last year training with LA Roadrunners (LARR). Embarrassingly enough, I happened to be the one who blurted out loud, “What’s that?” while realizing simultaneously time that this thing I was referring to was actually a tether (shoestring) that was being used to guide Adrian, a blind runner during our run. Oh man, I wanted to crawl into a hole and die. A few runners looked at me but didn’t say anything, knowing I realized the answer to my question.
I will be honest and say that this was not the only time I would want to crawl into that hole…like a few weeks ago at the track when I asked him why was wearing two different shoes.
I am still feeling the effects from last weekend’s festivities — mostly good memories but also a lot of fatigue.
Before I begin this tutorial-like post, I’d like to say that this taping method has worked great for me in helping with Plantar Fasciitis (PF) and Iliotibial Band (Friction) Syndrome (ITBS). Obviously I am not a doctor but this method was taught to me by my doctor and a few of my friends have used this method and liked it.
My blog has been pretty dull lately and that is simply because I am SO busy! I guess that is much better than having a boring life right? Anyway, I can’t believe that we are only 6 weeks away from LA Marathon! Seriously, can you believe it? With that in mind, it is time to prepare for other things…
Every marathon I run has to be meticulously planned – yes, things happen and I will tweak things here and there but overall there is a lot of time spent on just planning the darn thing – far more than the training schedule. This marathon (LA Marathon) kicked off with a 20-week training plan, and most recently I have been experiencing with gels since my stomach is acting all sorts of funky lately. Seriously, it is making weird noises as I type! With only a short amount of time and plenty to do including Surf City Half, Los Angeles Chinatown Firecracker 10k, a move to a new apartment, testing out my new racing shoes and purchasing my new outfit (say what you will but I can’t race in the same thing twice), I really don’t have much time for else. The next point of attack is making a list of things that I cannot be without the morning of the race. As silly as it sounds, there is no need to stress yourself out at the last minute since you already have so much on your mind. Give yourself a little break and prepare ahead of time.
Having said this, I thought I would put my simple list of 5 things I can’t do without on race day but that list quickly turned into 7!
Here are the things you won’t catch me without at LA Marathon:
1. ROAD ID ANKLET ID (www.roadid.com) – Seriously, this is one of the most important things I depend on whenever I am running and you should look into getting one too. Better safe than sorry!
Wow. Time flies. We all know this and all say this but man, that’s the truth! I don’t have anything interesting to report since the last three weeks have been a blur with crazy holiday schedules and horrible weather (horrible for California that is) – my training has been anything but steller.
The funny thing about running is that so much of it is mental. Just when you think you are going to run slow for slacking off, you are able to do amazingly well and run much faster than you thought. I would say that how our body thanks us for rest. You know how awful you feel during a taper? You feel guilty for slacking and preparing for a race and then everything turns out fine. I am banking on this rest or tapering experience to push me through the next weeks of training in an attempt to stay positive for slacking so much recently.
On another note, this weekend LARR (LA Roadrunners) will be meeting at Dodger Stadium, we will be running 2 loops around the stadium as well as the LA 5K course through Elysian Park. I personally need this “hill training” as I rarely have an opportunity to get any trail running into my schedule.
Click here to see the 5K course.
Anyway, I hope everyone is great at the start of the new year. Thank you for all the motivation and encouragement. A special thank you to the recent messages I received from random individuals who gave training advice and encouragement – all of it is appreciated!
Week 5 treated me very well which could be from a combination of things including yoga, chiropractic visits and plenty of rest. Maybe too much rest – my mileage is still considerably low but I am blaming that on the early setting sun (think safety first). I will continue to add a few extra miles to my recovery days and try to wake up earlier to pull off longer runs during the week. Good luck to me. The pain I was experiencing previously is almost completely gone and this week there isn’t a pain to complain about. Let’s see how long that lasts.
The real highlight of my week was Sunday, the California International Marathon Relay. I had been anticipating this race for quite some time looking forward to meeting my partner Maryam G. whom I met on Dailymile last year. We both made commitments to run this race together but both experienced major injuries that kept us guessing if we would ever actually make it to the starting line. Fortunately, we were good to go on race day and removed any and all pressures to perform well, we just wanted to finish healthy.
My portion of the relay included Legs 1 and 2 totaling 13.5 miles. It was really nice showing up to the race with only about 1 minute before the gun went off and not stressing about it at all. My plan was to run quickly but not to the point of exhaustion. As the gun went off I found myself between the 3:10 and 3:15 pace groups. Since I didn’t care so much about running the race competitively, I didn’t care that I was completely boxed in and around mile 3, I felt pretty warm and decided to park myself in front of the 3:10 pace group and stay ahead the rest of the way. It was during the first two miles of the race that I realized we had perfect race conditions – cool temperatures unlike last year where the temperature was 22 degrees at the start with headwinds almost the entire way. Unfortunately my calves felt like they were on fire, very, very tight but I managed to finish without any problems. Immediately after my run, I jumped into my car and headed to mile 26 so I could cheer on my teammates other running friends as they headed into the finish. This was my favorite part of the day, to see the expressions of joy, happiness, exhaustion and fatigue on the faces of the runners as they gave their all to finish the race. I’ll admit I can be very tough physically but as soon as I take note in other’s emotion, it’s almost like it rolls off of them and into me. Almost immediately I experienced bouts of joy and tears, so much so that I missed my team and other friends as they passed by. I only managed to see one pass by, noting he had reached his goal of running under 3:15 – way to go Cameron!
Running a relay during the actual marathon race did have me feeling a little uneasy. I almost felt guilty since I was only running a little more than half while they would run the entire distance of the marathon. At times I felt bad when runners who were noticeably running the full (they didn’t have to wear a Lindsay Lohan type of apparatus around their ankle) pulled up next to me to run by my side. I worried they may pace with me, not realizing I was only running a portion and become discouraged knowing that. I was happy to finally reach the exchange point, I was mentally warped from all the hills I encountered during my legs – I hadn’t really noticed them last year when I ran the full. Seriously, I am either weak and need more hills or they were tough. Still can’t decide but I would say I am weak and need hill training so the next time I run there, I can call them small speed bumps.
Anyway, here is what happened this week:
WEEK 5 OF 20
Total Mileage: 26.54
Cross Training: Yoga
Monday – Recovery Run (4 mi)
Tuesday – Track (6 mi total including warm-up and cool-down), chiropractor
The workout: 1 x 2,000m, 1 x 1,600m, 1 x 1,200m
2,000m – 8:01 (6:24 pace)
1,600m – 6:11
1,200m – 4:17 (5:42 pace)
Wednesday – Recovery Run (3.14 mi), chiropractor
Thursday – Yoga
Friday – Rest day (0 mi)
Saturday – Travelling (0 mi)
Sunday – Long Run (13.46 mi)
California International Marathon Relay – 2010
1:35:49 (7:07 avg)
Garmin Stats: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/59008892
Weeks 3 and 4 were like day and night – I ended Week 3 a little concerned about a pain I was feeling in my butt/hip area (to be discussed in a later blog) while I ended Week 4 feeling very strong, confident and recharged for another tough week ahead.
As I have discussed previously, I am following one of Hal Higdon’s marathon training program which is an 18-week program. Technically this is the end of my fourth week of training but only the end of my second week of Hal’s training schedule. I needed a few weeks of light running before I got deep into training just coming back from an injury. I can really feel a difference with my strength and speed so early in my training compared to the final weeks of training right before I fractured my foot – I am much stronger and faster. Definitely don’t have my endurance back, 14 miles being my longest run so far. I would definitely say the running break (down time) really gave my body enough rest and ample time to recover. The funny thing is that even though I know this, I still fight myself on my recovery days. It doesn’t make any sense for me to know that they are important yet I feel guilty running so slowly.
Anyway, here is what happened this week:
WEEK 4 OF 20
Total Mileage: 34:26
Cross Training: None (no time!)
Garmin Statistics: click here
Monday – Recovery Run (3.14 mi)
Tuesday – Track (5.01 mi total including warm-up and cool-down).
The workout: 1 x 4,800m
19:34 (6:36, 6:38, 6:21)
Wednesday – No time to run! (0 mi)
Thursday – Tempo (6.2 mi)
Long Beach Turkey Trot
42:25 (6:50, 7:06, 7:10, 6:52, 6:51, 6:51 :43)
Friday – Rest day (0 mi)
Saturday – Pace Run (6 mi)
42:58 (7:09 avg)
Sunday – Long Run (14 mi)
1:51:09 (7:56 avg)
As I mentioned, it was a really good week, hard but good. No real issues with butt/hip this week. Next week I hope to add 2-3 more miles to my weekly total.
Week 2 started out without a hitch following a strong Sunday run until I pushed it too far during Yin Yoga on Wednesday. This mistake really put a damper on the rest of week’s training and carried all the way through Week 3. Not really sure what I did, but it is no secret that I am not flexible at all and maybe pulled/irritated my hip (or IT Band). I focused most of my energy on stretching, icing and taking care of this issue to prevent further injury.
Going into Week 3 I decided I would try Bikram, determined to work on my flexibility core, but quickly realized that Bikram would be great for me if I didn’t have another sport to consider. I loved the class and the difficulty but it was a little too strenuous for me (a runner). I also skipped Tuesday’s track workout, assuming it wouldn’t be the best idea to do a speed workout feeling tight and scared. By mid week I was a complete grouch – moody and emotional without really knowing why. I guess it could be the change in weather, the upcoming holiday blues or the fact that my period decided to show up again. My hip got progressively better and I began running again just making sure to take it easy and really listen to my body. The week ended with a long 11 mile run in the rain – just what I needed to stay sane.
I feel good going into Week4.
Happy to say that Week 1 ended on a high note, feeling healthy and on the right track. I will admit that I felt lazy and didn’t really want to put in the miles but after each run, I felt happy and could no longer remember why I was so lazy in the first place. For the most part, I had a tough week – mentally and physically exhausted and I now appreciate and understand the need for recovery runs. This week also ended a dreadfully long period (no, not the thing at the end of a sentence) – menstruating for 10+ days really made me weak and tired. Because of this, I started taking an iron supplement (Bifera) and Loestrin 24, a birth control pill that will allow me to have lighter shorter periods. Hopefully that will help. I also opted to not wear my new pair of running orthotics, they ruin me mentally and I prefer taping my feet which is just a preventative measure for PF and ITB.
Luckily I had two people running with me all week that helped push me every step of the way – thank you Chris and Dom for all the encouragement (and guilt trips).
Monday – Easy recovery run (3 mi)
Tuesday – Track (5 mi.) – 2 x 1600 (6:24, 6:14); 1 x 800 (3:06)
Wednesday – Recovery run (3 mi)
Thursday – Pilates (instead of tempo run – see Sat)
Friday – Rest
Saturday – Tempo Run (6 miles – 20 min. easy, 10 min hard followed by cool down)
Sunday – Long run (9 mi)
Weight: 127.5 lbs
Following Tuesday’s track workout, I was feeling really sluggish on Wednesday and happy I only needed to get in a few miles before calling it a night. By Thursday I didn’t think I could make it through the day, (I swear it was my period) so I instead went to pilates – just the pick-me-up I needed. Saturday’s run reminded me to push through aggravation and less than ideal running conditions. Sunday simply told me I am a runner again, I CAN do this (it also helped watching Shalane finish the marathon – so inspiring and adorable).
I can’t believe this is already my fourth week back! It is also my last do-whatever-I-want-when-I-want-because-I-said-so and it was MUCH harder to push myself out the door than I expected. I am kind of surprised by this considering I was counting the months/weeks/days/hours/minutes until I would be at it again but then again I have had 5 months off from running!
For me it’s torturous coming back and starting all over from the beginning – and from the beginning I mean everything from getting more rest at night, re-adjusting my diet, low mileage, slow pace and getting used to my training program (Hal Higdon, my hero). The last three weeks I have managed to run around 15 miles a week without a problem. This week will be more like 20.
I am trying to mix it up this season so I can be more of a balanced runner by consistently incorporating pilates/yoga (yoga is tough for me since I can barely touch my toes without pulling something), light strength training, track and REST (somehow I will squeeze that one in)!
Next week will be Week 1 of Hal Higdon’s Advanced II training schedule – I used it for CIM and it was perfect. I don’t follow it religiously, especially since I have certain types of workouts on certain days (track is on Tuesday and pilates is on Thursday for example) and I’ll adjust it and modify it while following the basics.
Below is a snippet of the program. If you want more info, just click on the hyperlink above and you can actually get a detailed description of each workout by clicking on the week number.
Thanks to everyone for all the positive words of encouragement – below is the proof! XOXO
I never thought I would run a marathon, let alone Boston. It seems like an immediate goal for most marathoners and I too had that in mind after hearing so much about it. Boston. Boston. Boston. Blah blah blah. Happy to say I qualified December ’09, but unfortunately it was just a few weeks after registration closed (I had no idea before I even finished the race that it was sold out). At the time I was disappointed because Boston 2011 seemed light-years away. Well as most of us adults know, time doesn’t slack – it speeds by, almost too fast, and I found myself already looking into hotel accommodations (booked!) and flights (still need to do) before registration even opened. I had read somewhere that Boston was expected to sell out well before NY (11/07/10) so not wanting to wait another whole year, I set a few alarms, Google calendar reminders and even someone else’s alarm to make sure I was up at 0600 on the 18th to register.
Scurrying to my computer, I immediately felt the lag of the website and upon filling out required fields on the registration page and hitting submit, I was taken back to the registration page again. I repeated this process over ten times before stomping my (healthy) foot on the floor and heading out the door to work. At work I had the same issue until finally I tried with Safari and got in – Phew!
So now I am in – well, they still have to verify my qualifying race and time and I don’t expect that to be an issue. Heck, I don’t even know if I will make it to the starting line that day – I could get injured again or something but I am still excited…qualify for Boston…CHECK! This excitement lasted only one whole day because as luck would have it, I receive this lovely email from Marathon Tours:
“We are sorry to hear that Boston online entry had closed out online before you had time to register. As the official travel agency for the Boston marathon we are working to secure race entry to the 2011 Boston Marathon for clients who have a name on a pre-existing hotel reservation with us for the2011 year prior to October 18, 2011 and who are currently qualified to participate in the race.”
Talk about a low blow, I already imagined how much I wold hate Heartbreak Hill and I could now understand the frustration of many other runners who qualified for 2011 but couldn’t get in because the race sold out in less than 8 hours – really, really sad. I immediately called Marathon Tours and was informed that the webmaster had sent out the email too soon and it was supposed to say, “If you were unable to register…” THANK YOU running Gods, I will just pretend I never got that that email – I am still in (I hope).
What really excites me more than anything is that I will be able to see my cousin Amy who lives with her family in Millbury. We are nearly the same age and only met once when we were five years old (we didn’t get along very well that ONE time) and have a lot of things in common, one of them happens to be running. She is excited to have me in town and we can finally catch up on life and each other. This is the exact reason I will be in Boston regardless if I race or not.
You could only whisper it. Anything more than a whisper, and it would vanish – it was so fragile.
These are the words of Marcus Aurelius speaking to Maximus in Gladiator. Silly maybe, but this what always pops up in my mind whenever I’m asked about my goals or how my running is coming along. I find myself almost afraid to speak about my future running plans or cheerfully say that my foot is all better because as satisfied as I was with my race performances before the fracture, I still feel like a failure. More than that, I couldn’t do the one simple thing in life that I really enjoy. I also hated the fact that I proved so many doubters right (or at least they thought they were right) – that I was going to get injured. At the end of the day though, they may or may not have been right but that is another blog to come, I hope. It has also been a tough road coming back with several foot pain scares that dragged my 12-week forced vacation from running to nearly 18. I’m going chance it today and say I feel great. Very confident that everything is and will continue to be OK. I feel very strong physically and mentally — I am just in a happy place and that makes this slow starting journey much easier.
Right now I am starting my second week of running – sporadic running, no particular program for the first 4 weeks. Just getting a feel for where I am now and establishing a base so I can begin a real 18-week marathon training program that will land me at the starting line of LA Marathon next year.
My goals now are much different than before, I want to focus on a timed goal instead of how many I can cram into my schedule in one year. I remember when I decided to do CIM – my first real marathon, I was very strict with my training program after nearly a 10 year break from competitive running (dear God I am old). I had to prove to myself that I was indeed a decent runner – running (jogging) 3 – 5 miles every so often while wearing cotton sweats and tee shirt wasn’t cutting it. I had even told myself if I did horribly, I would just continue running for the fun of it and not worry about my times anymore.
Having said all this, I think I am back but just not ready to tell you that my next goal is 2:59:59. Yep – true. Maybe impossible but I won’t know if I don’t try and I have 6 months of training to prepare. I’d say that is plenty of time. Someone told me last night not to worry about failing because the ones that love me will never think less of me if I fail and the ones who judge me are the ones I shouldn’t care about anyway. I think he was right – thank you for putting that into perspective.
Thank you to all my running friends (some posted below) that kept me sane until this point – I owe you big time!
Last month I finally decided to try my foot with running again and it was disastrous. Yes, I was a little stir-crazy and I charged out the gates with 32 miles in the books by the end of week ONE (don’t even ask about the pace as you will surely call me stupid). That was a very short week let me tell you, because I could barely finish my last run that week due to a very familiar pain in the exact same spot I had incurred the fracture (notice I use the word ‘incurred’). Days following that last run I was limping and felt hopeless. I felt as everyday passed, my running goals were passing by and that really got me down. It’s no secret I like to exaggerate everything in life (including running goals) so I spewed out nonsense about not running for the rest of the year to make sure I was healthy. That spew out of my mouth quickly became something I wish I never said because I am not a doctor and if I could run sooner than that, I would want to. I ended up taking an additional month off, bringing me to today with 20 weeks off since my injury. Once I finally had enough guts to see my doctor, I had a good feeling everything would be OK. When I felt the pain last month I avoided seeing him because I was scared to find out what COULD be wrong – it was one thing for me to say I WANTED to take the rest of the year off, but to actually hear it from the doctor is another thing.
It has been quite sometime since I have visited my own site. Perhaps I have avoided it because the injury feels so fresh (literally), or maybe I was too embarrassed to admit defeat. Whatever the reason, I feel like it is time to face it and move forward. From the moment I fractured my foot and until now, my emotions have been up and down – a real life roller coaster. Today I decided I would just come home from work, take a shower and sit in front of my computer and let it all out. And as if it isn’t hard enough to do this, I thought I would make it more interesting by indulging on Wild Habanero Cheetos all while trying not to stain my white keyboard and rub my eyes (I guess if it happens, it will be well worth it – kind of like my 12/12 goal).
It has been near 18 weeks since my injury and I am not anymore ready to run than I would have been during week 6. I speak of this experience as a roller coaster and if you’ve never been to Magic Mountain you may not understand what I am talking about. I kind of thought this injury would be like similar to Freefall – I would just close my eyes, raise my arms in submission and just FALL, it would be over relatively quickly. Unfortunately this ride seemed more like Revolution – a longer ride with several unsuspecting turns, 360s and I kept my eyes open the entire time trying to predict the next path (run) until it finally stopped and I ended up with a migraine AND foot pain.
I am sure I could keep going on about these feel-sorry-for-me stories but that really isn’t my intention. As awful as I feel sometimes, I have had some pretty amazing things happen to me. Maybe they happened because I wasn’t so focused on running – who knows…
Just a few days ago I received an email from a friend of a friend who was trying to achieve the same goal and unfortunately fractured her femur during her third race. Such a simple email from someone going through something similar – someone who didn’t even have to take the time to contact me. Sometimes it is easy to forget how sometimes a few simple words of encouragement can affect a person. Fortunately for me, I experienced several words of encouragement by many other runners and although I am probably a little too emotional, they weigh equally on my heart and memory – THANK YOU.
Overall: 75 out of 1495
Women: 10 out of 544
F 30-34: 3 out of 72
Click Here for Elevation Map
5 of 12…THE END
This marathon weekend was really great – close to home, lots of friends, great weather and zero pressure. I was happy that I had decided to ditch Avenue of the Giants Marathon to run this race instead.
It’s April – mid April and I can’t believe it. Already one marathon a month since December and already finished with 4 of my 12 marathons for this year!
This month’s race took me to the Nevada desert – Lovell Canyon, outside of Henderson off the 215 near Red Rock. This of course was a B Event, but let me tell you, this was not a race for the weak of heart or anyone looking for another race to bring them closer to Marathon Maniac status. To give you an idea of the race challenges, check out the ever-so-clever (and beautiful) copy printed on our tech tees from the race:
“The rolling hills of the Desert Canyon road…
to discover the depths of my soul & to climb to new heights of possibility.”
This past week of training was rather difficult for me – a great week now doubt, it just didn’t come easy. It followed a very short running week (totaling 11 miles – immediately following LA Marathon) and plenty of rest. It was time to increase my mileage while still not over-do it. The plan was to run between 35-39 miles, a track workout and to finally wear my orthotics so I can build up my mileage in them and ultimately be able to wear them during a marathon. I finished the week with 34.71 including the ever-dreaded track workout and even incorporated a 13.1 race into it. The orthotics are not yet my friends and have caused the pain from PF to return…
Workout Schedule: 03/29 -04/04
Monday – 6M
Tuesday – Track*:
1 x 1600m, 1 x 1200m, 1 x 800m, 1 x 1200m with 400m recovery jog. All intervals at slightly faster than 5K pace with 400m recovery jog.
Wednesday – 6M
Thursday – 6M race pace (7:15); light weights
Friday – Rest
Saturday – 6M
Sunday – 8M + mat pilates
*Track Club LA workout
I Can Think Clearly Now…
I haven’t stopped smiling since mile 23 of this race. I am extremely happy for so many reasons but mostly because this race is now behind me and no longer controlling me.
The 41 days following Surf City to the day of the race, I encountered every obstacle possible including a nearly three week break from running (or working out) due to a painful right IT band to almost walking and crying at mile 20. Mentally I was a wreck, completely exhausted, doubting my ability and already forecasting a slow race performance. When all was said and done and I crossed the finish line (injury free – YAY!), I was very happy with both the race results and performance even though it was an A Event without a PR.
In retrospect, and finally being able to think clearly and logically, I realized that I could have really jeopardized my performance simply for letting my mind control me during these 41 days. It wouldn’t have mattered if Steve Prefontaine took me by the hand and set me on the bleacher stairs to give me a pep talk, I just wouldn’t have believed him; I was beyond help. The good news is that I can learn from this mistake and remember, exactly read from one spectator sign during the course: “TRUST YOUR TRAINING.”
I know, I know. Where have I been (at least I am asking myself that)? Well I took off a few weeks from running to get completely rested from Surf City and you know what? My knee is better! Yay! In all honesty, I am a little nervous — only 11 days until LA Marathon. It is so weird for me to be nervous since I haven’t felt like this since I competed in high school. This break was really difficult for me, I wanted nothing more than to to put on my trainers and RUN! At least I am back…
Besides not running, a lot of great things have happened and I will share that soon!
11 days have already passed since Surf City — I can’t believe it! Time really flies, and before you know it, it will be my dreadful birthday, then Christmas – geez! Since my last race, I haven’t done much of anything physically; my knee still hurts and I’ve been very busy with so many other things including work, friends and of course preparing for LA Marathon (will post about this later). While I am actually enjoying my time off from running, I have sort of become a Worry Wart. That worries me (see, I told you) more than anything because once I get these negative thoughts in my head, it is so hard to get them out. I know my training and race performance will suffer simply because I might push myself physically harder to avoid feeling any sort of loss and also because I will start to doubt myself and what I am doing. It’s getting pretty exhausting, continually talking myself out of all this negativity BUT I am doing it!
Another month. Another marathon.
I am happy to have this race behind me because as you know, one of the obvious challenges of running one marathon per month is the amount of rest I get in between races – hardly any. This race however, was 42 days away from my next race, LA Marathon (LAM) which will be the longest break I’ll have all year. The timing couldn’t be better (duh, rest is always needed) since LAM is one of my two A Events, and as I mentioned in an earlier post, I am experiencing some sort of pain around my right knee (IT maybe?). I will definitely utilize this rest to focus on getting healthy.
We had a rainy week leading up to the race and I was relieved to find that it wasn’t going to rain on race day. Rain on race day is disastrous for me since I have plantar fasciitis and tape my feet – I worry that wet feet equals ripped skin and a lot of pain. I also don’t want my hair and make-up to get all messed up, go ahead roll your eyes, but remember Brightroom does post race pictures publicly… It was raining quite heavily when I arrived to the expo on Saturday to pick up my bib – raining enough to flood the floors from the leaky tented/tarped makeshift roofs. It was nearly impossible to keep my feet dry so I got in and out as fast as I could.
I just finished an easy four mile run after taking a few days off. My right knee is nagging me since Carlsbad — nothing painful, just annoying and out of place. It felt really good to get out there and clear my mind and I didn’t feel any discomfort until the last half mile of the run. I will continue to ice, stretch and just take it easy for my race on Sunday. Keep reminding myself it’s a B Event, and I just need to be ready for LA.
Why I run.
I don’t like when people ask me why I run. Actually, I don’t like when people ask me why I run when they say it with a look of disgust on their face. Couple that with, “I wish I was as skinny as you,” and I officially lose all interest in that person.
Running has always been something that I did. Why? I never wanted to ask myself that question. I just did it and I do it. And if ever there has been something steady and constant in my life, I would say it’s running. Why question something that has always been my shoulder to cry on?
I hesitated posting about this because it’s such a sensitive subject for me. And maybe I shouldn’t be so agitated when I am asked that question, but I know, deep down, it has been my cover for deep-rooted issues and pain and I’d rather avoid that… Well, tonight, not really doing much of anything except catching up on all my magazine subscriptions, I came across the “The Father Lode,” an article in this month’s issue of Runner’s World. I read it once and I cried. I read it again and cried. And then I read it again and decided I would open up a little. Of course my story is different, but I can relate to it on so many levels and so I will slowly share (part of) my story with you.
Did I grab everything?
I have always considered myself a simple runner. The only things I ever needed for any run or race were a watch, sports bra, shorts that don’t climb and shoes. I wish I could say that was still the case but it isn’t, in fact I literally have to take time each day and prepare my running bag for the next scheduled workout: outfit, shoes, tape for my PF, Garmin watch/heart rate monitor (not to mention I have to charge this the night before), ipod, sunblock and recovery drink. (Sometimes the preparation actually takes longer than the run itself!) While I would love to reduce the amount of things I need, I don’t want to be without any of them, especially the watch and shoes.
I knew from Day 1 that Carlsbad would be an amazing race/experience. The whole experience was surreal – not a moment of anxiety, everything happened so perfectly. I am glad this would be the opening race of my year-long adventure.
I heard about this BEAUTIFUL course from a few friends and I was eager to add it to my list of marathons this year. I was rather disappointed (just like Boston) to find the race sold out when I tried to register, yet surprised to find that you can race if another registered runner will transfer their bib on to you for an additional $20 transfer fee (unlike Boston). Excited, I hopped over to the Carlsbad Marathon FB page to post my interest for a bib. So many people were posting all over the place looking for one and my chances looked grim. I continued posting every 4 hours or so (so my post would remain at the top of the list) and was contacted the next day by someone who couldn’t make it to the race. I got in and I was elated (thanks Mike and Hudson)!
Since I had categorized this race as a B Event in my 12 Marathons. 12 Months. post, I had put less emphasis on this race completely. This was a totally different experience, compared to CIM, like the pressure to PR, not to mention the list of things I shouldn’t have done: going to bed VERY late two nights before the event, throwing random items into my race day bag, showing up to the start line with 3 minutes before the race and even making phone calls during the race! Those were bad decisions and I am lucky that nothing went wrong, anyone of those things could have very well prevented me from running well or accomplishing my goal… Lesson learned.
My friend Janel R. and I arrived to Carlsbad the day before, and immediately headed to the expo. I was hoping to find some racing gear and a 26.2 sticker for my back car window. I only found the sticker but I was happy to run into my new friend Dane Rauschenberg – he had a booth and was signing copies of one of his books, See Dane Run. I hopped over there for a quick chat and of course to snap a photo (and I totally forgot to pick up one of his books). He was pleasant as ever and his gregarious personality radiated across the hall. I look forward to getting to know him better as he such an inspiration for runners of all goals. After the expo, I checked into the hotel, went to Dick’s Sporting Goods to find something to wear and then headed out to Vigalucci’s for dinner. Dinner was funny to say the least – I normally wouldn’t drink, but again, disregarding my focus for the race, I had a couple glasses of wine in addition to two pasta dinners (I was hungry). The hospitality at this place was a great addition to the yummy food.
Dane and me at the expo.
Race morning went very well — I slept like a baby. I think the wine idea will become my pre-race tradition but I will make sure to limit myself to one glass. The 6am start time wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, it was a little odd to run the first few miles in the dark but totally worth it when we were able to catch the sunrise while running parallel to the ocean on Carlsbad Blvd – so beautiful. This was a peaceful run – running next to crashing waves and tons of running space; I had a lot of time to think about things and clear my head.
When I contacted my friends that were eagerly awaiting my results, the first thing they said was, “so much for a B Event!” As I had mentioned earlier, this race was considered a B Event, a race that is ran smart and conservatively, mostly to avoid injuries, but mainly so I can focus on my two A Events later in the year. I did reference approximate goal times but my way of categorizing the races have more to do with a level of pushing myself physically and mentally – the time will speak for itself. Today I didn’t set a timed goal, of course I used my Garmin, and yes I PR’d, but I ran according to how my body felt. I felt great, the only thing that annoyed me was a tight knee – it never seemed to warm-up and I’ll have to consider wearing capris during my next cold race. I will definitely be back next year!
Joining the Los Angeles Roadrunners (LARR) has been a great experience. I will never forget the first morning I got to the parking area which is at the Westminster Elementary School in Venice – hundreds of runners everywhere. Seriously. Tons of runners. All ages. All levels. I figured it was about time that I start running with a group of people – I was really tired of training alone and I needed the camaraderie and competitive push.
I joined late (officially started September 12th and I joined October 17th) – during the 10th week of my 18 week CIM training schedule but made sure to keep my focus on CIM until that race was over and then look towards LA Marathon later.
LARR is the official LA Marathon training program that meets for 27 weeks – every Saturday, our only group run and our longest run of that week. The great thing about this organization is that you never have to worry about running alone, there are over 20 pace groups and you are constantly reminded why we are so lucky to live in LA: views of the ocean from Santa Monica all the way to the Marina, beautiful weather, and home course advantage (we regularly run the last few miles of the race during this run).
The morning of my first group run I didn’t really know which group to run with – I was thinking Group 3 or 4 because I hadn’t yet run CIM and I was kind of scared that I would fall off during the run. At the last second I decided on Group 3 (8:30 pace). I thought this was a fun group but I kept running into the heels of the runners in front of me and knew I should be in Group 2 if I wasn’t such a wuss. Finally, a little persuasion from a close friend (the same friend who pushes himself so hard, he barfs), I joined Group 2. The difference between each group is 30 seconds. It may not seem like much, but it is a big deal when you get deep into your mileage towards the end of the season and right before the race. It was exciting to change groups not only for the challenge of working towards a faster marathon, but for the new friends I met (small group of us communicate regularly and share our workouts, goals and even look towards each other for motivation encouragement). I started consulting with a few friends about moving again *gasp* and they were all for it. It finally sunk in when I told my friend Janel R. that I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to keep up with their 7:25 pace (marathon goal pace 3:15). I would be the only woman and if I couldn’t hang, it would be obvious. She didn’t hesitate to remind me that I had given her similar advice when she decided to change groups. I couldn’t be a hypocrite, and I knew that if I didn’t at least try, I would never know what could have been. It was New Year’s Eve when I finally decided that I would do it no matter how scared I was. As soon as I got back home that morning, I called my friend Frank P. (also a Group 2 runner) and told him I was doing it. He was very supportive and we chatted about it for a while including our own separate goals (his also includes triathalons). The words were officially spoken and I had to do it. My last email about this decision was to Phil, our Group 2 pace leader letting him know that I wanted to do this and I wanted his opinion (blessing). He of course, was very positive and suggested that I try it out. He reminded me that LARR is the perfect place to try out different groups. The night before my first run with the group, I made sure to get plenty of rest, I prepared as if it were a marathon. Right before my run, I saw Frank and asked him to join me for this run and he did. (I think Group 1 was always his group, he just didn’t know it until after that run.) To date, I have only ran with this group twice – a 14 and 15-miler (the last two runs). The first five miles are kind of challenging but after that it just feels right. The funniest thing about this whole (stupid) group dilemma is that after my first run with this group, they decided to split the group into two – a 7:25 group and a 7:10 group (does that mean there is a Group 0?). This made perfect sense since there are some REALLY fast runners in the 7:25 group and I was wondering myself why they didn’t have a Group 0. Still, just when I thought I was getting there… Oh well, I will consider that my new challenge. JOKING. I wouldn’t call myself a Group 1 runner (yet)…it is too early (or too late in the season) to find out.
To say the least, I am happy with my decision, not really worried now about failing or falling off anymore because at the end of the day, I want to remind myself that I gave it all I had.
Splits from my last two Group 1 workouts (Garmin Forerunner 405):
Click here to visit the LA Roadrunners website.
Last Saturday during our 16 miler with LARR, I overheard (eavesdropped) another runner talking about his friend who according to his Garmin (watch), had burned over 80,000 calories. My curiosity got the best of me and when I got home, I had to check my own stats. To my surprise, I had just hit 100,000 calories since March 29, 2009. I am not neecessarily proud of that, and I never count them. (I was actually happier to discover that just yesterday, I hit the 1,000 mile mark in training!) Seeing that number was really weird and hard to fathom so I did some comparisons with some items that although I like (love), I eat in moderation…well, except for the Starbucks.
Suddenly I hear the ticking clock – only 10 days until my first marathon of 2010!
I delayed posting about my upcoming races because I was trying to finalize my race calendar while determining which of my 12 marathons will be considered “A Events” (to be discussed later).
I almost have my entire race calendar penned but I am still searching for a California marathon for the months of August and September. I may change my she dule as I find more interesting races, but I won’t deviate from my goal of 12 marathons in 12 months.
I look back at 2009 with a feeling of growth — personally, spiritually, physically and professionally. I know that running has contributed significantly to all these areas, making me a better me to both myself and others.
It was when I decided to take my training up a notch, and not settle for that same boring loop at Balboa Park day after day, year after year, that I immediately accrued all kinds of plans and goals. Before I knew it, the year was over, I was happy and truly loving all the people in my life. I even managed to get in two half’s and ultimately, my only real running goal, California International Marathon (CIM).
All the hype surrounding that marathon – the training programs, new friends, PR’s…EVERYTHING, gave me the courage and motivation to push myself further to run 12 marathons in 2010. At that point, I couldn’t want it more and I knew I might regret verbally expressing that goal to others without thinking it through, but I didn’t care. I felt invincible. That’s what the marathon does to you (or to me), and I loved it, and now I need it.
So here I am. I know my goal is achievable — it won’t be a “run” in the park, I’ll have to race according to how I feel, avoid injuries and most importantly, I will have to keep my ego in check. Not the ego you may be thinking of, I am talking about the ego that tells me to run faster when I know I shouldn’t, or the ego that keeps reminding me that I shouldn’t do such a thing if it’s going to prevent me from going after a PR. I have to remember that at the end of the day, this is my goal, my race, the only one I am competing against is me.
2010 is going to be amazing and I can’t wait to share my experiences with you.
This morning’s run in Santa Monica with the LA Roadrunners was a little shorter than I expected. I am not 100% recovered from CIM, so I ran 12 of the 16 miles with Group 2 before catching up with Janel R. (see photo below) for a post-run ocean soak. I started feeling tightness around my right IT band around mile 9 (at my knee) so it was a good idea to come in early and ice my legs.
11.46 miles 1:35 8:17 pace
Sometimes I feel like people really do too much for me. Today I was surprised when my good friend gave me some special gifts for the holiday. Besides feeling a little overwhelmed, a part of me thought I must be a running freak or something — let me tell you what I got:
This person knows me so well — the tape was definitely needed. I have been using some other cheap stuff to tape my arches (plantar) and I didn’t really want pay $12 for a roll! The cheap stuff I use has worked surprisingly well but using this stuff feels like putting on new socks. Do you know what I mean?
The books, well I’m excited to have them and I can’t wait to read them. I have to first finish The Vampire Chronicles and I am only on the second of 7 (The Vampire Lestat).
Leading up to my marathon, I watched a lot of running movies and videos including Spirit of the Marathon and this was on my list. I know someone who plans on running Badwater so Running on the Sun was definitely next on my list.
The gift card — well I am a Jamba Juice and Robek’s Juice junkie. I already used the card and enjoyed my Berry Topper.
Seriously, that was so nice, but I would have been happy with a card (well, a running card). JK
Wow. It feels light a lot of pressure has been taken off my chest since finishing CIM. Until yesterday, that was my only focus and I was a anxious trying to understand what it would be like, what would happen and so on. Now I can put the focus on LA and relax…a little.
I would have to first say thanks to all of you who gave me marathon tips — they really helped!
I went into the race confident; I was proud of my training and I really spent a lot of time preparing for the race. This preparation also included an understanding that anything can happen in a marathon no matter how you prepare. I wasn’t nervous like I normally would be in a competition, but I did think on occasion what it would be like when I got past mile 20 (since that was the longest distance I covered in training).
The night before I prepared all my gear for the morning so I could wake up early to actually enjoy my breakfast and stay focused instead of worrying about my lost socks or my Garmin being charged. When I went to get on the bus that took us to the course, I couldn’t find the bus ticket that I purchased the day before at the expo – I was so scared but luckily, they never checked. Race time was 7 and our bus arrive a little after six. It was FREEZING — I am talking 28 degrees with wind! There was only enough time for one port-a-potty break before it was show time. I downed one Gu and was off.
My original goal for this race was 3:40 and I knew that I could run faster since most of my long runs were just over 8:00 pace, but I knew a part of that thinking was my ego so I decided to start near the 3:35 pace group. I must mention that three months ago I had changed most of my PW’s for various personal accounts that included something to do with my really deep-down goal of 3:30. That reminder kept pulling at me…3:30, 3:30, it would be so nice if I could just run 3:30… After three miles I decided to change groups and ran near the 3:30 pace group. This pace was really comfortable and for the longest time the combined average pace was 8:01. I ran with them until mile 10. I decided then, that the race was starting to feel like a normal training day, so I threw off my sweatshirt picked it up. I knew that every time I picked it up, there was a chance I could hit the wall, but I wasn’t laboring at all — I was so relaxed, looking straight ahead and I kept saying, “please legs, be nice to Tracy.” After I left them, I didn’t think about my finishing time whatsoever, I just looked at my pace and tried to stay between 7:40 and 7:45. By mile 20 I decided that again I would pick it up and try to stay around 7:30 pace. I was waiting for my legs to get tired but luckily they never did. I just tried to catch any woman I saw in front of me and tried not to get passed by anyone. I was smiling (at least in my mind) when I made the last turn to the women’s side of the chute. I couldn’t wait to see my friends that had traveled so far to see me.
Let me make one thing clear — I know this was a fast course. Carlsbad, LA, Big Sur or any other race could be a totally different experience. For me, I am most excited that I didn’t hit the wall, cramp-up or injure myself. That was enough for me to feel accomplished.
Here is what I think helped me the most:
Oh, and I cannot forget my sweet friend Janel who ran the relay, not to mention Emory who drove from Los Angeles and Asi who drove from San Francisco to watch me run.