Tuesday, October 23, 2012
What I can tell you is that every year for six years, I have run the Union Street Tavern Trot in Windsor. For the past three years I have done so reluctantly. It falls on a Sunday in late September, right in the prime of Hartford Marathon training. In training season, Sundays are my rest days. So duh, when I run 20 miles on Saturday, my body can recover the following day.
Three years ago, I incorporated the race into my long run. I ran 10 miles, then did the 3.5 mile race, then ran home. Last year, I can't remember what I did, but I'm thinking I may have skipped the long run that weekend because I placed 2nd in my age group... and I probably wouldn't have done that with a tired body. This year (only 5 weeks ago), I was stupid. I ran 21 miles on the Saturday prior to the race and tried to place the very next day in my category again.
Did I place? NO! Which makes it all that much more stupid. I was 5th in my age group :o( and I injured myself in the process. It was during the Trot that I felt something go askew in my hip. I shook it off thinking it would be passing pain. I continued running through the pain and even did 21 miles the following weekend.
Then I started to limp... and the limping has yet to subside. My last long run prior to the Hartford Marathon was three weeks ahead of the race. I took it easy until the marathon then ran it anyway. It twinged with almost every step.
3 days PM, I ran five slow miles and felt every excruciating step. My hip/leg was killing me. I realized after that fiver that maybe I should cease running for a bit. Maybe even go to a doctor?! I haven't given up a workout routine, but have definitely modified it. Biking/spinning and elliptical is all I know right now. Weights and abs too...
So yesterday I saw my Orthopedist. He is an ex-runner and soccer player. Still fit and appreciative of athleticism. I like him because he will not discourage a patient from stopping doing the sport they love. A lot of doctors are against running because of a few ill-effects. Well F them! LOL. Dr. Y knows the benefits of running far outweigh the risks.
What is the diagnosis you ask? An ilioinguinal strain. Fancy talk for a groin strain. If in 3-4 weeks of NO RUNNING, there is no improvement, he will order an MRI and check for a tear. He is confident it is a strain though.
So in these 3-4 weeks of no running, I can't run my fifth marathon (in Philly). I can't even run to the end of my street. He prescribed physical therapy and exercise such as yoga, swimming, elliptical and biking.
I'm sad, yes but there's nothing I can do other than deal with it. I'm that person that feels like I haven't gotten a good workout in unless I've run, so let's see how creative I can get in these next few weeks with trying to burn those calories. I'll tell you one thing... I'm NOT getting fat! And I WILL run Hyannis in February.
Resting my hip will take me right up to Thanksgiving. I figure I'll start training for Hyannis the day after Thanksgiving. That's a good day to get back in the swing of things.
In other news, I'll be on vacation soon. I can get my swimming in while in St. John. Looking forward to a week away with the fam in the warmth of the Caribbean. The countdown is on...
Now to find someone willing to run with my Philly Marathon bib... I'd hate for $125 to go to waste.
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Race day began before the sound of my alarm. I was up on my own at 5:30 am. Dressed, ready and out the door at 6:00. At the pacer meet spot at 6:30. It was a cold morning. 30 degrees in fact. I was bundled in disposable layers but the chill in the air still went right through me.
Any racers looking to be led by a pace leader were encouraged to meet at 7:00 on the steps of the Bushnell Theater. Slowly, a crowd started to form. Some people were looking for me. Others were looking for pace groups in the Half-Marathon category. Others for the 3:30 group (yes, for the full). I chatted with a few people whom aspired to finish in 4:25. Some were vocal about joining me. Others just sorta stood there. It was at this point I realized just how big my responsibility was. I feared the possibility of failing the people that were depending on me to pace them to their own victory. OMG, What did I get myself into?! I maintained a smile though and we discussed the strategy at hand.
The plan was to maintain a 9:55/mile pace. We'd walk through 13 water stops, allowing ourselves 20 seconds at each. Good plan, right?
Well, for miles 1-3, we were dead on. Pace was right. The group was together. The mood was great. We made small talk. All was well. Miles 4-6 we got a little ahead of ourselves. We were about two minutes ahead. We needed to slow down!! These people were depending on ME to keep their pace at 9:55. We were doing more like a 9:30. Eeeek! They're going to burn out! I'm going to fail them!
Mile 8, three minutes ahead! Ahhhh!!! I was freaking out! We needed to slow down. We approached a water stop with a port-o-potty. A light bulb went on. I told the group that we were going too fast and that though we felt good now, we had a long run ahead still. We shall use this time to take a break, enjoy some fluids and use the potty. In three minutes, we'd pick back up.
I was one of the people that needed to use the potty. As soon as I was done, I looked for my group and found no one. Did they continue on? Were they in the potty? Did I even know what more than two of them looked like?? Where the hell did they go? I didn't know, so I began to run on. By mile 9, I realized my pace was right on target. But where was my group?
Some runners ran up from behind me and asked if I was on pace. (I was easily identified as a pacer with my "4:25" singlet on). I said yes, in fact I was dead on. "Well the 4:20 pacer is way back there. You must be ahead." Several people said this to me. My heart was sinking. I felt I could start crying. I knew I was on pace, but my lack of group had me lacking confidence. I was second guessing myself. WHERE was my group???
I had told them I was making a pit stop. I encouraged them to do it too!! But where the F*%$ were they?
Then, all of a sudden I heard, "oh there you are!" I later would find this voice to be my saving grace for the entire race. Mike was a guy I had been running with until mile 8. He was a man whom I learned was running his 49th marathon-- in Hartford-- on this day-- with me. The following day, yes the following day, he would run his 50th in Vermont. He had lost me at the potty but found me again. I still didn't know where the rest of the group was, but as long as I had one guy, I was content.
I apologized to him. I let him know how upset I was for failing him. I don't think he thought it was such a big deal. So, okay maybe I was overreacting?
Mile 10, 11... on target. Mile 12... Oh there's my mom!!!
For the past three years of doing the Hartford Marathon, each time I get to mile 12 (then again at 22), I welcomed the sight of my mom. She greets me with food and fluorescent signage. This year she had no food because I planned on grabbing a peanut butter sandwich from my aunt at mile 14. Boy, do I wish I had depended on my mom.
As I reached mile 14, I looked for Aunt Gila. She wasn't there!! Correction: she probably was there but I missed her. Miles 14-16 are big cheer spots so she must have just blended with the crowd. I missed my re-fueling opportunity! Ut oh.
Mike offered me a GU. I turned it down at first. I needed calories, but not in semi-liquid sugar form. I wanted a sandwich!! I did cave though and ended up taking it. It was chocolate flavor. Tasted like cake frosting. It could have been worse.
Miles 15, 16, and 17 came and went. This part of the race takes us through the beautiful historic district of South Windsor. Foliage, rolling fields, old homes. Cows, farms, etc. Just gorgeous!!
17.1 or so is the turn around. It's literally a cone in the middle of the road that you turn at. At 17.5, I passed a couple of high school friends (thank you Katie!) with signs which was unexpected but awesome! I passed the same crowds from miles 14-16 at miles 18-20. There was a guy on his front yard with a microphone greeting each of the runners as we passed. He'd say, "Hey 1504, I missed ya! Welcome back!" There was a table of neighbors handing out Dunkin Donuts munchkins. Lots of music and signs! The crowd support was awesome. I got to see a fellow runner friend Jen in the crowd around mile 18. She'd been there since I passed her at mile 16 but we too missed each other then just as I missed Aunt Gila.
Miles 19-21... "Oh boy, I'm done with this race I think. I'm ready for it to be over." My heart just decided to not be in the race anymore. My knee began to hurt. My hip had been hurting. I told Mike I was ready to throw in the towel. He started telling me about himself to distract me.
Mike was retired military who still worked as a civilian for the US Army. He was doubling up on marathons this weekend just as he did the week prior. He lives in Texas but originally was from Long Island.
Mile 22... "Hey, there's my mom again!!" And there she goes... Mile 23... The CANDY table!! Oh how I love this feature! Bite sized Snickers and flat Coke. YUMMMM!!!!
By the way, where the hell is the group Mike and I were originally running with?
Okay, so three simple miles left... A 5k. That's it. I've done 5k's without my heart being devoted. It's a quick 30 or so minutes... Let's get it over with. Mike told me to relax my shoulders. Don't think... just let my legs do the work. I tried that. It worked. Mile 24... 25... oooh the crowd is getting loud! The finish is soon.
We were still on target! I knew that were were right in line with finishing in 4:25. Knowing this, I was able to kick it up a notch. I actually sped up!
I learned later in the day, people had been following me (us) the whole time. It may not have been the vocal group I had started with (then lost), but runners sought me out and silently followed me and depended on me to pace them through the finish line. I was successful in doing so, but not without help from Mike.
Did I hate running for a blip in time while racing? Yes.
Did I ask why I even attempt these things? Yep.
Am I sorry now that I ran the Hartford Marathon? Nope.
Do I think accomplishing such goals makes me a better person? You bet.
Am I ready for the next one? uh huh. Bring it on!
I'm not sure what makes a person desire to run. It can start with the need or want to lose weight, be healthier or as an outlet. Why I started running, I can't even say for certain. I think I was sick of feeling unaccomplished. I wanted a "thing" that was mine that I could be proud of. Running is in my blood some would say. My dad and sister are "Iron Men", having completed three of the iconic races between them, and dad being a Boston Marathon finisher, maybe subconsciously I felt my "thing" would be athletic in nature.
I'll never forget my first run. I'm pretty sure I was high, after all I smoked pot every day from 1999 - 2009. I headed out on the Greenway behind our apartment in Simsbury. Did a mile out and a mile back. I felt so good. I bragged about my success for a long time.
Bragging has since been replaced with sharing my successes as a way to empower other people. Running is easy. It's one foot in front of the other... over and over and over and over... it's staying committed that's the hard part. That being said, not everyone enjoys running. If running isn't your thing, find your "thing". Commit to it. Accomplish it. Talk about it.
Friday, October 12, 2012
Yesterday I went to the Healthy Lifestyles Expo. Not even for packet pick up, but on official business. I went with my boss to meet with one of the women who works for the Hartford Marathon Foundation. She is interested in having our event planning company produce her expo next year. It was interesting to say the least, discussing all that goes into such an event. My boss is certainly a local icon in the industry and it was pretty neat hearing them discuss all the things they would do to make the event better.
While I was there, I did walk around for my own personal benefit. I bought Justin a cute shirt that reads: "Future Marathon Runner" and I grabbed some temporary tattoos that say "26.2". I was thinking about putting them on my arm but since it will be ONLY 30 DEGREES at the start of the race, I'm going to have to put them on my cheek.
So a 30 degree temp at the start of the race may scare some people but not me. Looking forward to chilly conditions. The temperature won't get above 55 all day. If there's one thing I hate, it's running in heat, so tomorrow's weather will be welcomed!
If there's anything October is good for, it's unpredictable weather. The last two years I ran this race, it was warm. I wore shorts and a tank top. After last year's race (repeat- in a tank top), we were greeted with a foot of snow the very next week. Silly New England!
Okay, well I'm off to get my massage and then to Missy's for family pasta dinner. Looking forward to seeing my family, especially my sister and two of her kids who flew in from Vegas on Wednesday and I've not seen them yet.
Tuesday, October 9, 2012
I've been nursing the poor thing for a while. Running less, doing the elliptical more. And lots of stretching! I managed to get two yoga sessions in and will be doing Bikram once more this week. Got a massage on Friday too which I'm looking forward to.
If nothing else, I'm hoping a double dose of Advil coupled with some IcyHot will do the trick. I'm determined to finish this race... and in my goal time. I'm leading a group of other racers that aspire to do the same, so it WILL happen. 4:25 is the goal. we will average just under a 10 minute mile and walk through water stops. If I could only find a damn map of the race route, I'd be able to learn about where the water stops are and how many there are. For whatever reason, it's not in a likely location.
I'll assume there is a stop every two miles. I can't remember from previous years.
In checking the marathon website for maps, I found out the pacer information was published. My bio and pic are in the newsletter! Woot woot!! It's very exciting!
So the weather looks great for Saturday. High 50's and some cloud cover. I'm considering registering Justin in the kids fun run. He was so proud after that one run he did. I would love to see his expression after another.
Okay, so it's late. I'm falling asleep. Was up early today at the gym then finished the day with a great Bikram class. Stay tuned for a post race wrap up!
Monday, September 17, 2012
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Was just reading my last entry to see where I left off. It’s been a while since I last blogged (for the record I hate that word) so I figured some catching up was due. I DID place in my age group for the Burn Calories for Fuel 10K last month. I was second in my age group which is exactly what I thought I would do. Yay! Cheers to victories! Justin did amazing in his fun run that day too. It was priceless watching him run and cross the finish line. We framed his number and he was given a medal. Something to cherish for many years!!