01 January 2013

Happy New Year!

The New Year is a time of goal setting.  I've decided to put that off a bit.

What I prefer sharing is the New Year Wish.  We attach so much hope and promise to a brand new calendar.  It's fascinating human behavior when you think about it.  So are most customs.

I've been writing New Year's Wishes since New Year's Eve 2009.  Inspired by Neil Gaiman, these little sentences are my favorite things to write.  Here they are from years past.

A New Year's Wish: May your 2010 be filled with opportunities for the sort of travel that makes you re-see yourself, people who love the real you, good blogs, quality scripted programming for TV that isn't prematurely cancelled, wisdom, cupcakes, cocktails, the wisdom to say no to both the cupcakes and the cocktails when needed. And I hope if any of this is photographed you look fabulous.

A New Year’s Wish For You: May your 2011 be filled with opportunity, absurdity, discovery, gastronomy, mixology, and the resiliency to handle it all.

A New Year’s Wish For You: May your 2012 be filled with surprising moments with strangers that reaffirm your faith in humanity, the sorts of challenges that reveal your inner moxie, and the courage to act out of character every once in a while. And if you have children, I hope that they pipe down. And if they don’t pipe down, I hope you have a sense of humor.

And this year's:


30 November 2012

Rain of Biblical Proportions

I was prepared to run in rain.

Then I looked at the forecast, and I saw hours of HEAVY rain and wind.

I don't think that I want to run.

12 November 2012

Commence Taper

I made it to the tapering point.

This is cause for celebration as this has been a difficult training season for me.  Multiple times during the training I told myself that this third marathon is probably going to be my last one.

But yesterday I had my final 20 mile training run of the season.  I still hate Gu and Honey Stinger and all that fueling crap, but I didn't hate the 20 miler.  In fact, it was easy.  I was blessed with excellent podcast entertainment, perfect running weather, and the promise of an extra day off from work the next day.  I've also finally learned how to probably prepare for long runs.  Eat more food and drink more water the day before.

My legs still hurt after 20 miles of running, but today I feel great.

Maybe I'm not ready to retire from marathons after all; maybe a marathon free 2013 is the way to go.

For now I am going to enjoy my half-marathon next weekend and the rest of my taper.  I'm going to practice thinking positive thoughts.  I also going to look forward to running my third marathon on December 2.  And the required food pig out that must precede it!

16 September 2012

My Aching Body

I've had a rough 2012 running wise.

The IT issues, hip pain, and lower back pain that I have been fighting lately has been discouraging.  I have been quiet about it because I didn't want to admit how worried I have been.  I didn't have health insurance for two months, so I couldn't go see a doctor about the issues.  I could have afforded the initial visit, but if the doctor wanted any tests done to take a peek inside, I would not have been able to afford that.  Then I would have to live with the knowledge that something is wrong in my leg and that the doctor wants a peek.  I couldn't handle it.

I ended up paying to see a chiropractor and paying out of pocket.  My rationale was that a chiropractor would more than likely be physically active himself and well-versed in all the ways that a runner like me can screw up my body.  The chiropractor did his work by moving my body is strange pretzelesque ways.  When he could not elicit pain with certain movement, he declared me probably stress fracture free and probably piriformis syndrome free. Since I couldn't afford x-rays, I decided to trust the nice running chiropractor.  The man declared that runners batter their lower back with the repeated movement.  This is was the first time that I heard this one.  Usually the cry is "You'll destroy your knees!"  Guess what. My knees are awesome.  This may have been standard chiro back adjustment promotion.  Whatever. The heated massage thing convinced me that it wasn't all that bad. He also declared that I have falling arches and gave me shoe inserts, which I have been using since he gave them to me.  He also badmouthed my professional ballet flats as bad for me, but conceded that at least I am not wearing heels.

Three weeks later, the aches and pains are nearly gone.  Fourteen miles today and not issues other than the standard aches and pains that happens when one runs for 14 miles.  In fact this week, my weekly mileage hit a new high for this year.

It's been a bad year.

But I am hopeful that things are turning around.  I'm getting older.  This means more icing and stretching.  This means more responsibility.

On Tuesday, I was slammed with work.  I believe that I stopped working at 11:15 pm that night.  I had to skip my training run.  I was very close to calling off the marathon in December.  Then on Wednesday, I was determined to run my seven miles if only to decompress from all the work that I have been doing.  After hitting the zen mode in that run, I decided that I probably could handle the marathon training after all.

And I did.  This week I ran Wednesday-Sunday.  Every damn day.

And I am ready to do it again next week.  Nearly every damn day.  Rest is, after all, an important part of training.

07 August 2012

Let's Hope It's All in My Mind

I'm wondering something.

My right IT band and hip have been bothering me off and on.  I know that it bothered me back in June because I got a sports massage on June 15.  But I don't know how long it has bothered me exactly.  I'm quite bad at keeping details in my training log.

I'm wondering if I did the right thing by not logging the details.

I'm wondering if some of this pain/discomfort is only in my mind.

  • I can have runs without any notice of pain or discomfort.  That was today. 
  • I can have runs with some pain and discomfort.  That was Sunday.  
  • I can have runs in which the twinge appears quickly.  That was Sunday.  It took about two miles to appear. 
  • I can have runs in which the twinge takes longer to appear.  That was the SF Half.  It took nearly 8 miles for it to appear.  

I can't figure out its modus operandi.

Right now it feels vaguely achey.  This nebulous vague ache makes me believe that my mind is to blame.  I can't pinpoint where in my right thigh the pain exactly is.  It feels everywhere and nowhere at the same time.

I'll return to work in one week.  With that return, I'll be the new girl for the first time in 11 years. There is a bit of anxiety wrapped up in being the new girl.  I think that anxiety may be manifesting itself with this vague ache.  When I was a little girl, I would have leg aches the day before traveling.  It never failed.

My worry tends to live in my legs.

I'm hoping that with the distraction of work the pain/discomfort will disappear.  I'm rolling and stretching and icing, too!  I have two races coming up:  Big Sur Half Marathon in November and California International Marathon in December.  I want to run better than I did in those same races in 2011.

I need to get healthy.  I need to NOT worry.

29 July 2012

2012 San Francisco Marathon: 2nd Half Marathon Race Report

Background:  My training for this tanked.

When I started training, I was employed at one place with no plans to leave.  Then one of those once-in-a-lifetime job opportunities popped up.  I applied and interviewed for the job.  That was stressful.  I got the job offer, and then had to resign from my other job of eleven years.  That was also stressful.

Then as soon as the oppressive summer heat hits, I started feeling this very persistent pain and discomfort in my right IT band.  I initially thought it was my shoes.  New shoes seemed to do the trick.  Then the pain would return.  Sometimes at mile 4.  Sometimes at mile 5.  It was unpredictable.

I rolled, and I rolled, and I rolled.  I screamed through the rolling.  My IT band has issues.

Then I vacationed for a week in Washington, DC.  Because of my IT band issues, I decided to NOT run in DC.  Wise move considering that running in the DC humidity and heat would have really destroyed me.

The week off seemed to help.  I continued rolling.  And stretching.  And stretching.  The pain and discomfort seemed to be absent from many of my runs.  My last eight miler featured NO problems.

Because of the injury and the stress, I skipped a few runs here and there. Or I made them easier.

It wasn't the best training cycle that I have done.  Therefore, my goal was to finish.

Yes.  Just to finish.

I knew that I didn't have a PR in me.  I didn't train to PR.  I trained to maintain my running in the summer so that when marathon training starts, I'm ready.  Plus, I wanted to baby the IT band.

Alarm Failure:  Oh my goodness.  My alarm went off, but I didn't hear it because the ringer was turned down.  Stupid smart phone user.

I woke up 37 minutes before I had to catch the bus to the start.

It was a little stressful.

But I made it.

The Race:  I didn't find the start area for the second half marathon to be particularly well-organized.  I couldn't hear the announcer.  The announcer didn't repeat anything.

This meant that I didn't start with my wave.  Oops.

Whatever.  I hurt no one.

The first six miles of the second half marathon is in the Golden Gate Park.  Slight hills.  Repeated often.  I knew that the park featured the most uphill portions.  I wanted to make sure that I didn't go out too hard.  I actually kept telling myself to take it easy and run my own race.  I even thought, "This isn't a race."  I really didn't want to hurt myself.  I was clearly mentally out of the race.

The park dragged.  I really wasn't enjoying myself that much.  I was so glad to get out of the park and onto Haight Street.  A bicyclist trailing a sound system provided the right music to make the race fun.

Then some painful downhill.  I don't like running downhill on steep grades.  Scary and it hurts.  But I survived.

And then around mile 7.5, the familiar IT band discomfort popped up.  Then disappeared.  Then reappeared.  It wasn't persistent, nor was it particularly strong.  But it was enough to disappoint and discourage me.

I finished with a time of 2:25:24.  Better than I expected, honestly.  Maybe better than I deserved.  It was actually my fastest half time for a race in San Francisco.

Because I have now ran both halves of the entire San Francisco Marathon, I got a fancy Half It All Medal.  It spins.

Afterward:  Strangely, this bad performance is motivating.  I felt like this was my worse race, but it wasn't my worst time.  I wonder how I could have done had I actually been able to train well.  I feel strangely compelled to do more hill work in my training.

But I know that I need to work on that IT band first.

21 July 2012

Now I've Done It!

I've destroyed a pair of Lululemon running crops merely by running.

It took a little over a year.

I'm simultaneously devastated by the loss and impressed by my mileage.