Friday, March 2, 2012

Pre-race jitters

I am so excited to be running a marathon again, I can hardly focus. Here’s what I’ll be thinking about throughout the Little Rock marathon on March 4.

Starting line: I will look around and take in the energy of all these runners, anticipating their marathon. We’ve worked hard, we can hardly wait. Some of us have done this before, some are running it for the first time, but we all are part of this crazy running community. I’ll hug my friends and wish them a good race. As the National Anthem is played, my heart will swell with gratitude, I’ll sing along and let the tears flow.

Miles 1-3: I will focus on holding back, keeping my breathing even and enjoy the run across the bridge.

Miles 4-6: As we head back over the bridge and go through downtown again, I’ll get ready for my first fuel intake and celebrate 10K accomplished.

Miles 7-9: During this point, we go past the state capitol. I’ll think of those who are public servants and pray for the upcoming elections.

Miles 10-12: I think about this being my 13th marathon and how thankful I am for my health. I’ll be fueling again during this section and I’ll be thankful for my new fueling strategy and how much more energy I have now. As the halfers separate for their turn to the finish, I’ll clap for them and me, now there’s more room!

Miles 13-15: Now it’s time for the big, long climb up Kavanaugh. This is what we trained for. This is why we ran Golf Ball Hill over and over. We are ready for this, it’s just a bump in the road. The houses around here are beautiful and the flowers are probably all in bloom.

Miles 16-18: Downhill section, what relief, easy on the quads now! Refuel again. I’ll be praying for Dorothy and Angie, two other bloggers or podcasters who give me inspiration and are running marathons in other states today.

Miles 19-21: Turning around on Riverfront, I can see who is behind me and greet my friends, assuming there are any there! I’ll encourage, encourage and encourage and look for all those Marathon Maniacs so we can give a shout out to each other. At mile 21 I'll start counting my miles as #1, - 6, just a mental trick to stop focusing on how many miles I've run and focus on only 6 more miles.

Miles 22-24: I’m in my final 10K “sprint,” I will not give in to pain (unless it’s my knee). I will think about my son, Chris, who went to his eternal home during his 23rd year. I’ll rejoice that he is in Heaven, having the time of his life, and he’s watching me race with pleasure. I know he’s cheering me on.

Miles 25-26: I’ll continue to think about Chris, these past two years that he hasn't been with me, and I’ll run this segment for him, for all those things he didn’t get to do with us and I’ll make sure that I run strong. I will trust in God to give me strength and help me persevere when I want to walk. As I go under the Broadway underpass and see that lipstick stand, I’ll grab the prettiest mauve and prepare for my finish.

Finish line: I am running strong, I don’t know what my finish time will be, but I’ll celebrate that I am running a marathon again, after being off for a year. I’m a marathoner x 13 and I have a HUGE dinner plate size medal around my neck!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

End of Year Wrap Up

I graduated from my physical therapy on Wednesday, December 14. I had mixed emotions about being done with PT. I loved going, I received excellent strength work while I was there and Ryan kept me from making stupid mistakes by doing things my knee wasn’t ready to handle. I know I would have attempted R66 full if it weren’t for him and I would have been miserable walking those windy cold final miles. Instead, I feel good about my half finish and I’ve had no set backs. Since therapy was now over, I wanted to push my knee harder the rest of December. At my last therapy session, I was able to jump on my injured knee, repeatedly, which indicated it could handle more turnover. My main challenge was my conditioning, I am still averaging an 11 minute mile. So, for now I’m a healthy turtle.
For my long run that Saturday, the 17th, we planned to do 15 miles. That would be my longest run since R66 half, perfect to see what my knee could do. The first 6 went fine, the next four were ok and the last five were snail pace. I got it done though and my knee survived with little swelling and pain.
The next Tuesday, we ran up to Golf Ball Hill (thank you Lyle Robertson), and even though I took it really slow, I did it again. Kavanaugh-you will not defeat me in Little Rock!
On Saturday before Christmas, we did our own little Christmas lights tour through the Maple Ridge area. We wore our Santa hats, had our jingle bells on and took in the sights. We even saw Santa Cluas out for a run. We did an easy 6.
The day after Christmas, Carmie and I went out for another run, this time 9 miles. I felt so good to get out after eating all the Christmas goodies, especially the carrot soufflé and baklava. Tuesday, another tempo run, then Thursday, hillwork again on Golf Ball Hill.
Saturday, we did 12 miles, our last run for 2011. 7 of them were around Jenks and 5 on the Creek. I broke one of my fuel bottle tops on the run. A week before that I washed my shuffle with my running jacket and it didn’t survive. Looks like it is time for some new gear. My knee is a little tender, but the swelling goes down by the next morning.
Tomorrow, I have my first run of the new year. I better do only 5 since I’m doing hill work on Tuesday. It’s so hard for me to choose the shorter distance when most of the group is doing 10, but that is what got me into trouble last year, I don’t want to make the same mistake twice.

2012, here we go, and I'm going to do everything I can to stay injury-free.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Solitary Success

We decided to skip running on Saturday because the weather report indicated a 100% chance of rain in the morning. In retrospect, bad choice, weather was fine early morning. So some of us were going to run on Sunday. But Sunday came and no one could run with me. I hadn’t run alone in months, and definitely not since my surgery in August. It wasn’t that I couldn’t do it. I didn’t want to do it. I had become dependent on the stories and life-sharing we do while we are on our runs. I wasn’t sure I could survive on my own. I need to be consistent. I need to get my mileage up. I need to do this no matter what, no wimping out. I didn’t want to run at River Parks by myself on a cold Sunday afternoon. So I drive over to LaFortune. It looked desolate. I see a couple of runners. I get out of my car and tell myself to quit poking around just get on with it. I start my Garmin, I start my music. Mandisa tells me it ‘s a good morning, even though it is afternoon. I move my feet and begin to enjoy the fresh crisp air. I decide to do 6 miles instead of 9 but to try and run all of it. I see other runners and walkers with their dogs. It’s not so lonely. I run the first three miles, stopping only about 30 seconds for a recovery walk a couple of times. I start the second loop. Everything is in sync, I’m not tired. Halfway around the second loop, I’m listening to Danger Zone from Top Gun. I feel strong; my pace is 9:30, which it hasn’t been since pre-surgery. I’m able to maintain that pace for about a ½ mile. It feels so good, no pain. I do some quick recovery walk intervals with my running. I finish the second loop, look down and see I’m at 6.19 miles. I can’t stop here. I’ll go for 7, a perfect number. I play Danger Zone at least three times. I finish my best run since surgery.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Half the distance, twice the fun! Route 66 Half-Marathon

Today, I got to do something I haven’t done since March… run in a distance race. It was only a half-marathon but I LOVED being out there. The anticipation of the race, laying out my clothes the night before, getting ready early in the morning, checking the weather, freezing before the start, seeing all my friends, huddling together in the corral, I’ve missed all that sooo much!

I’ve been working hard in my physical therapy and I was so relieved when my physical therapist told me I could do the half, as long as I didn’t push it hard. To be totally honest, I was disappointed that he frowned on me running the full marathon, but now that I have finished the half, I see that he was right, and I see how I usually bite off more than I can chew.

So, on this very chilly Sunday morning I headed to downtown Tulsa, thankful that I was wearing my capris instead of shorts. As I met up with my friends, we all lamented about the weather and groaned as we heard that it was drizzling outside. But the moisture went away quickly and we headed out to our corral to await the starting gun. This year the start line was moved to 7th and Main and there were 4 corrals so it took us awhile to get across the start line. Meanwhile, I still had my gear bag with me and I didn’t know where the gear check was. I found out it was just before the start line, just a block from it so when it was time for our corral to move forward, I sprinted to the gear check and got back just in time to go out with my group.

I was excited to go out the first mile because we would pass right underneath a pedestrian walkway where my church was located and I knew some people would be there to cheer me on. Sure enough, I could see them through the windows and one of them, their husband was running his first marathon. After this first mile, we came to our first major hill on 15th Street, a long one and I really wanted to run all of it. I managed to run most of it but did take a brief walk just before the crest. Next we went through Swan Lake, an area I love because the homeowners really support the race and cheer the runners. From there we headed through Monte Casino, another area I love, the students are great cheerleaders and I love their drums. Next we went through Woodward Park, this is another difficult area, with more hills but very pretty. Soon we were out on Riverside for a couple of blocks before we turned back into Peoria and headed south through Brookside. I was surprised that more people weren’t out to cheer but it was pretty chilly. We went back out to Riverside and I really enjoyed this part of the race because I could see who was heading back out to the north and I could tell people hello and cheer them on. I loved seeing all the other Maniacs too and was so glad that I am part of this crazy group.
From the very start of the race, I had another friend, Teresa, running with me and I so enjoyed having company. I fully expected to run the half by myself because I knew I needed to take it easy and having a running partner was an unexpected treat. Finally, we came close to where we would split and we hugged and I headed for the finish line. I ran strong through the finish and loved slapping Jack Wing’s hand. Throughout the race I kept thinking, “I can’t wait for coffee at Doubleshot when I’m finished.” First I went to the Maniac tent and had some great food from Genghis Grill, yummy chicken teriyaki and rice. I was trying a different fueling strategy at this race and I started with an empty stomach, so I was really hungry at the end. I headed back to my car and my hands were so cold, even with gloves on, that I could barely get my keys out. I got some warm clothes on and headed over to Doubleshot. Ummm, that coffee was soooo good and HOT! I went over close to the finish to watch for some other friends to finish and almost shook myself to death, it was getting so cold! I’m so glad I waited for them to finish because I saw lots of other friends finish too and again was so glad to be out there, enjoying another race.

In retrospect: here’s what I did right this morning:

I checked the weather and made a wardrobe change from shorts to capris, my rule of thumb is 50° and over-shorts, 35-49°- capris, and under 35°-long pants. Note: although I do long training runs in long pants, I have never run a distance race in temps under 35° and I would hate running 26.2 miles in long pants!
I made slits at neck and bottom in my throw away shirt so it would tear off easily because Dorothy Beal said so:
I put lots of cream on my face to protect it from the cold
I did not throw away my shirt when I took it off because I figured the wind would chill me later on...and I was right!
I wore heavy knitted gloves instead of my usual thin ones
I paid attention to my breathing, didn’t push myself, after all, I’d have to face my physical therapist on Tuesday
I downloaded new music thanks to this blog:

What I wish I had done differently:
Worn thicker socks
Packed a hoodie instead of a wind jacket
Read the map better about gear check

All in all, I had a great time, a perfect re-entry into racing again Route 66 is a well put-together marathon, Chris Lieberman and his team do an excellent job at putting this event on. Now I’m getting ready for Little Rock on March 4.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone and maybe I’ll see you at VonFranken Family Run on Thursday.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Spring Recap and Knee Rehab

I haven’t posted in awhile so here’s a rundown of how Spring events went and what’s going on now.
After Lake McMurtry, we went back to Stillwater on April 16 for “Remember the 10,” an event to honor those that went down in the plane crash of 2001 where 10 members of the OSU family were tragically killed. This was the 5th year for the event and it is well supported. There is a 1 mile fun run, a 5K and a 10k. The route goes around the OSU campus, is mostly flat with a couple of hills. This is an event that I will probably repeat, the proceeds benefit the OSU Counseling Center and the bling is nice too. Most of all, the event is a sweet celebration of those lives and a means to support others who would benefit from the services of the counseling center. Since I am working on my masters in counseling, this is an area dear to my heart. After any event, we have to go eat and we decided to detour to Pawnee to go to Click’s Steakhouse. If you’ve been there, you know how good it is, if not, try it sometime.

The next event was the Princess Warrior Trail Run at Keystone State Park, April 25. I was super excited about this event because I trained with Chrissy Whitten for our first marathon in 2007 and I wanted to support she and Michael as they celebrated the life of their little girl, Lillian Grace, who fought for her life for 103 days. Since we had lost a baby after only 18.5 hours, due to Trisomy 13, I had walked a few steps in their moccasins. The weather that day had been awful, rain was threatening, but it held off for most of the races. There was a 1.03 mile and a 10.3 mile. We did the 10.3, which was 5 miles through trails at Keystone and 5.3 miles on the road. I loved this event! The food was great, there was a costume contest, the t-shirts were awesome and nice bling. I will definitely do this one again. The only drawback is that it is on a week night, so that it falls on Lillian Grace’s birthday, but after a day at work, it’s hard for me to get there on time and I’m not fresh when I get there.

Next, we were doing a relay for the OKC Memorial Marathon on May 1. We had run the marathon before and we knew that wind could be a factor but we weren’t concerned at all because we were doing only a relay, so what could go wrong? If you ran OKC, you know the havoc the weather created for all of us that day. The race start was delayed by ½ hour and it had about every element of bad weather that you could think of. Three of us were going to run the first three legs together and two of us were going to run the last two together. We planned on meeting at 12th & Broadway and finishing together. When the first three finished their relay legs, they about froze going back to the hotel and when I called them as we got close to Broadway, one of them said, “we c-c-c-can’t meet you at the finish l-l-l-line, we're about frozen to the bone!” During our last leg, we even got hailed on. I commend all those who finished the ½ and full marathon, especially the first timers. Those were definitely the worst conditions I ever raced in, but this is another event that I love so much! I’m sooo glad we did only the relay!

I was planning on running the Aquarium half but I had been running so tired and slow that I didn’t want to turn in a poor time. I understand they’ve changed the route now so it goes into Jenks more and out on the Creek and that would be a great improvement. I ran it in 2008 and 2009 and even though it was flat, hot and boring, I always had personal best times there.

I also planned on doing the El Schorcho 25K on July 16, but they filled up so I am going as a cheerleader.

This brings me to the weekend of Memorial Day. On Saturday we thought we would do 10 miles and then 18 on Monday. I was thinking, “why should I run 18, I don’t have a marathon until fall?’ But I didn’t want to miss the “fun” of a long run and lots of girl chatter! Well, about mile 8 I said, I’m exhausted, I need to turn back and I felt fine about going back by myself. But we were almost to our halfway point and ready to turn back so we headed to the Adams Mark (we started @ Turkey Mountain), had a little break and headed back to Riverside. By the time we got to the 10th mile, I said, “I’m going to walk/run.” Then we got to 14 miles and I needed to walk. It was my right knee and it hadn’t been bothering me prior to this but every now and then, I would get a little hitch in it and it would go away right away. We finished our run and headed out for coffee. In hindsight, I should have iced my knee while we had coffee, when we got up to leave, my knee really hurt and I figured that I needed to give it a couple of days of rest and ice and I’d be back to running. My knee remained the same until Thursday of that week, when I had to go down a flight of stairs and then I went down another short set of steps but I was in so much pain by that point that I slipped a little and used my right knee to stabilize myself. So…now I was really in trouble and that brings me to today. It’s my meniscus and it appears that I’ll be walking for awhile. It’s a classic overuse and overtraining injury, I’ve been running so tired the past year. So, I am finally taking a break and will be walking until my knee doesn’t hurt when I run. Remind me of this please because I have tried to run two times and my knee has swollen up again. I’m having a hard time keeping myself from running, it is truly addictive! I am registered for two marathons in the fall, Marine Corps and R66, I have a good base and I keep telling myself that I don’t need to panic, I’ll be fine for the fall, I’ll be fine for the fall, I’ll be fine for the fall.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Lake McMurtry I was a little anxious about this trail run. If you have read older posts, you know that staying upright is not my forte but I had heard that this is a beautiful area and the weather left me no excuse to back out. Plus, my running group was running and I didn't want to miss an opportunity to hang out with everyone. After the Little Rock Marathon, my longest run had been 12 miles, 2 weeks ago, and on that one, I ran/walked the last three due to stomach trouble so I wasn't confident that I was ready for this event. Lake McMurtry is just outside of Stillwater and the trail run gives you many views of the lake. There were some fishing boats out there and I'm sure we nixed their chances of a good catch. Since it had been so dry, the trail was not challenging at all, except for watching for the roots. If there has been a lot of rain, this trail can be really hard because of the slippy/slidedy mud. I kept a very slow pace and didn't fall, but had a couple of close calls. The trail was well-marked, although someone removed some caution tape which confused some people. Ken Childress was johnny-on-the-spot and replaced the caution tape very soon. The aid stations were well-stocked, the only thing I missed was Diet D.P.and water at the end. I had seen the Diet D.P. on Ken's shopping list but I was too slow and it was gone by the time I finished. Thanks goodness, Marolyn had cold water bottles for us, thank you, Marolyn! I'm glad I did this, even though I don't like trail runs, it was a good work-out and enjoyable scenery. I was really tired from miles 11-14 but the last 1.5 miles went really fast and before I knew it, I was going up the steps to the finish. The medals are really pretty and I love the pink shirts. This is a trail run you should definitely consider, it has three distances-12K/25K/50K. I did the 25K and it was harder than a 1/2 half-marathon, duh, it's 15.5 miles! But it is also on a trail so you use different muscles, my ankles are always really sore after being on a long trail run. My feet really hurt after this one, lots of pounding, and I did have one toe blister. I used my Stick immediately afterwards and a couple of times later on Saturday. By evening, I could hardly hold my eyes open but had to stay up to see the outcome of the Uconn/Kentucky game, then I crashed. On Sunday, I felt minimal soreness. Next race, Run for the 10, 10K.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

A Lemon Freeze

I ran the Wish Lemons 5K this past Saturday. This race is put on by the Youth and Family Center at First United Methodist Church, where I have attended for the past 33 years, yes, that is probably longer than some of you have been around! I have missed this run for the past 2 years because I have been occupied with long runs for OKC marathon during that time but since we're doing the relay this year, I decided that I could run this race. I was underdressed, wore my shorts, should have worn my capris and I wore only a long-sleeved shirt and left my jacket in the car. I hibernated in the church until I absolutely had to go outside. The course is an out and back, first going out at 12th and Main, a good downhill, my first mile split was 8:38, much to my surprise. Since I ran that 5K last week in New Orleans, all I wanted to do was finish in less than 29:46 and when I saw my frst mile split, I knew that I shouldn't have any trouble with that. I ran very relaxed the entire time but when we headed back up Main for the last half mile, the wind was in our face and it was brutal. I was so glad I was running only a 5K! I never got warm during the race and when I finished, I was pleased that I had a 28:48. No one that I run with was there but several of my church friends were so I hung around for awhile to moan and groan about the cold. Next weekend-warmer temps and Lake McMurtry 25K.