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.