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.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Great St.Charles Road Race

I've been in New Orleans for a conference and when I got here I noticed they were having a race. I thought, why not? It was in a pretty part of the city (Uptown) and I could get there on the streetcar. So up I got early on Sunday morning and headed out on the St Charles streetcar to De La Salle High School. This race was put on by the New Orleans Track Club. Funny how runners are the same everywhere although I didn't see any familiar faces but I saw lots of fluer de lis! It was a 5 and 10K, I opted for the 5K since I needed to get over to my conference. It was a very small race, probably about 100 in each race. They had a 1/2 mile fun run for the kiddos and they went off at 7:45. Then we headed out on St. Charles, shortly after 8. New Orleans has a beautiful park, Audubon, and we ran about a half mile there and back out on St. Charles. It was a completely flat race but even that early in the morning it was already sunny and hot. The neighborhood is beautiful, lots of Greek Revival homes, an upscale area of New Orleans. They did their scoring really different. You were given a label at the end of the race, you wrote your name, age and finish time (honor system) and then dropped them in one of 2 boxes based on gender. Then they sorted them out and stuck them up on a board, based on finish time. I've never seen that before! They took pictures of most of the race and all the age group awards and they had it up on FB the next day and even a video of the race. They served jimbalaya after the race and even though I was hot, it tasted really good! The awards were all handmade by the art students at the high school and there were lots of the high school students there helping at the race. I'm so glad I ran this for four reasons:

1. I was chicken to go out to the race by myself, worried about the crime, the hotel front desk assured me that it was safe but I didn't trust them, thought they were trying to sell the safety of the city. But once I got on the streetcar (about 5 blocks from my hotel and it was still dusk when I walked to it) I was fine.

2. I needed a new baseline for my 5K.

3. The food here is great and I needed a good run!
4. I got to see a part of New Orleans that I probably would not have taken the time to sightsee otherwise.
Another benefit was the goodie bags were the leftover bags (gear bags) from the MardiGras marathon, including all the goodies inside, very cool!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Little Rock Marathon and future runs

After running the Post Oak events (10K trail on Saturday and 1/4 hilly marathon on Sunday) the weekend before, I was a little apprenhensive about how much I would have in the tank for Little Rock the following week. I did not run at all after Post Oak and felt rested for Little Rock. I wasn't running with my ususal running group since some of them did the full marathon at Post Oak but I had made arrangements to meet with some other runners that I run with during the week. We said we would "look for each other" at the start. I thought I was supposed to be in the open corral even though the 5 hour pace group was in the D corral. I don't know why I thought that except for the fact that I saw bibs with C or D and mine had no letter and rule follower that I am, I didn't want to be in the wrong place. Once the race started and I saw how s-l-o-w the pace was in my area, I realized that I had made a huge mistake and wished that I had lined up with the 5 hour pace group. I did manage to catch up with them around mile 4 and thought I'd see the group I was supposed to run with but they must have been further ahead. I managed to stay ahead of the 5 hour pace group until I hit the long hill at Kavanaugh and then they got ahead of me. I let myself get really discouraged on this hill and mentally checked out and could not wait to finish this marathon but I took it really slow, lots of alternate walking and running.
The marathon overall is well-supportedby spectators, nice expo and an ok course. I don't think it is very scenic but a nice variety of rolling hills, two good sized hills (at the middle and at the end) and relatively flat from 20 until that hill at the end. The weather for me was perfect, mid 30s at the start and high 40s at the finish. I enjoyed seeing one of my friends achieve a PR and the medal is what LR is famous for. I also enjoyed meeting Angie who has a podcast "Marathon Training Academy." This was my first run as a Marathon Maniac and I enjoyed greeting other maniacs and talking about our marathon experiences. I did not feel like a maniac on this day though! We plan to do it again next year for the 10th anniversary of the run and plan to run as a group.
I didn't run again until Thursday of this week and still felt sluggish but when I ran on Saturday, I felt like a new woman, did 8 miles and felt really good. Saturday was a picture perfect day and I felt so good to finally have a good run. Then we had a really good time getting together at IHOP and hearing about some other marathons and running stories.
I am going to take it easy for awhile, Little Rock was an endurance event for me, did not enjoy it at all, I am really tired for some reason. I love running too much to let this get the best of me. My next races will be short ones, Wish Lemons 5K, McMurtry 25K trail run, Run for the 10, OK Memorial Marathon as part of a relay, Jenks Aquarium Half Marathon, El Scorcho 25K trail in July and the Marine Corps Marathon in October.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Post Oak Challenge

Last year some of my friends ran the Post Oak Marathon Trail run and the 10K, I volunteered and thought that I would like to do a shorter version of it. I love the Post Oak Lodge, I've been out there several times for conferences and women's retreats, the area is very peaceful, close to the city, yet out in the country.
So this year, the organizers switched the events up some and made all the marathon-type events on the road and then had a separate day of trail events. So, I was in and decided to do the 10K trail run and the 1/4 marathon. I have a marathon to run the following weekend so I wanted to keep the distances short. There was some rain on Thursday so the trail got nice and and soggy. This was my first trail run and I am not sure of foot so I took it slow and easy. I ran with my good friend Teresa and she was good company for me throughout the run. It wasn't very hard, I picked my way through the rocks and slippery mud and marveled at some of the runners who flew through the course. The trails were well marked and we had one really good climb to Holmes Peak. When the sky is clear, you can lookout from here and see downtown Tulsa but on this day, there was a lot of fog, so all we saw was...more fog! All went well and we managed to finish injury free.
On Sunday, I ran the 1/4 marathon. The organizers promised that the marathons would be hilly and they delivered. It was the hilliest and hardest course I have ever run! I'm really glad I did both events and the medals are very unique and beautiful.
Here's a shout out to three of my buddies who ran the full marathon in great style, finishing just over 5 hrs and to Carmie Anderson, who won her age group!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

2010 Wrap Up Outer Banks, Route 66 and St. Jude's

Since we're into the second month of 2011, I better post about my last two marathons of 2010.

My most fun marathon of the year was Outer Banks in November. We went to celebrate Marv Winter's completion of North Carolina as his 50th state. The Outer Banks community rolls out the red carpet for all who come into town for the marathon weekend. When we arrived, the winds were gusting to 40 mph and we had an 8K to run on Saturday morning. We were dressing up like pirates and we sure didn't want to freeze our booties! By Saturday morning, the wind had died down somewhat but it was still pretty nippy waiting for the race to start. We were quite the topic of conversation, we thought there was an award for best costumes so we were all decked out but we learned that the costume competition was for the marathon the next day! The 8K went through some beautiful trails which shielded us from the wind. By doing the 8K and the marathon, we got a special Blackbeard's Challenge medal. After the 8K we warmed up and toured the town some, including going to Kitty Hawk (those Wright Brothers had amazing persistence), had great burgers and fries at Five Guys and later went to the pasta dinner for the marathon. The pasta dinner was super fun because a lot of Marv's marathon buddies were there from all over the US. The next morning we braced ourselves for some more chilly weather but the wind was much better. We were bussed from Nags Head to Kitty Hawk where the race started. The first half of the marathon was through neighborhoods, Kitty Hawk memorial, some trails and then the last half went out onto the highway and into Manteo. The course is really pretty and not challenging, you could PR if the wind wasn't bad. Our Tulsa group stayed together and took the race easy and slow and we had a blast. Lots of picture taking and just celebrating Marv's endurance and encouragement to others as he ran 50 marathons. I love how both the 8K and the marathon started-the most amazing, heart-felt prayers of blessing on all involved and singing the national anthem at each race. After the marathon, we hung out in the pretty town of Manteo, then headed back to our hotel and chilled our legs in the surf. We had a wonderful time that evening at dinner and continued to celebrate this big event for Marv. In the morning we went back to Manteo to the best Christmas ornament store and then headed out to the Currituck Beach Lighthouse and climbed all 214 steps, all of us climbed to the top! We hurried out of there and barely made it in time to the airport to make our flight...we so hated to go!
The next weekend we ran Route 66, some of my group did the full and I thankfully did the half, what a blustery run!

Then, on Dec. 3, we headed out to Memphis for the St. Jude's marathon. I was super excited to do this one because this was my 3rd marathon in 90 days, therefore, I would be an official Marathon Maniac! I really liked the Memphis marathon course and the charity it supports. The wave start went vey fast. I did not like the fact that there was no singing of the national anthem before the race. I think it is the only marathon of the 11 I have run that didn't have the national anthem, very disappointing. And I didn't like the town, my personal opinion, if you're doing the 50 states, choose Nashville instead of Memphis. Since we had lots of Christmas things to take care of, we were anxious to get back on the road and head back to T-town. What a long drive back and we were so hungry because the hotel didn't allow late check out and we didn't eat when we left Memphis. We stopped at a Cracker Barrel later in the day and when we pulled into the parking lot, we saw a school bus pull up at the same time. You never saw 4 tired, sore ladies run so fast into a restaurant, no way were they going to get in ahead of us starving runners!

What a year of running-5 marathons and made many new friends. No PRs and we'll see what's ahead for 2011. I can hardly wait to wear my maniac shirt at Little Rock on March 6!