Monday, January 28, 2008

2008 ING Miami Half-Marathon

Well, I finished. And that's what counts. :)


Actually, it could have been a lot worse. After all I have been through since running Columbus in October, I should be thankful I was able to run the half at all. And I am. However, once you run a full 26.2 miles, you sort of lose a little respect for 13.1. And you (and by you here I mean me) tend to forget how brutal a 13 mile run can be on the old body.

Official chip time - 2:18:29. Not bad at all, especially considering the circumstances. It falls pretty much right in the middle of the two other half marathon times I have and it's a 6 minute improvement from my time last year on the same course (my very first Half-Marathon). In that respect I am very happy.

What sucks is that my leg REALLY started to hurt at mile 6. And I had to dig deep down inside to figure out how to run another six miles in pain. Another thing is I was completely exhausted by mile 2. I started the race sort of bummed that I wasn't doing the full. The weather was beautiful, humid but cool and dry (thanks P.O.M.! ) and I was ready to go. But after trying to keep up with my training group who started waaaay fast, I was so tired and my leg just wasn't having it. A full 26.2 miles would have been a nightmare.

Another bummer...Jeremy's leg gave out at mile 3. He had to run with intense IT band pain for TEN miles. Yeah, we weren't the happiest runners out there. More like a couple of old gimps run/hobbling down the road.

So basically, I don't remember much about the race. I was tired and in pain and just focused all my energy on finishing and not having to walk back. It was odd. It was the first race I have run (with the exception of a 5K) where I really didn't take in much of the scenery or people. The whole thing was just a blur and it seemed to go by really fast since I was so focused on being done. I imagine this must be the same way races are for elite runners. Although the blur is probably a lot blurrier.

There were however a few cool things about the race yesterday:

1. Weather was amazing. Which sadly, is rare for this race. I do remember running up Ocean Drive and the sunrise was BEA-U-TI-FUL!

2. Around mile three I felt a little tap on my shoulder and turned around to see Jess running next to me! I was amazed that she was able to find me in the middle of over 10,000 runners! We said hello but my group was taking a walk break and since she was plugging along at a good pace we parted quickly. It was great to meet her in real life though. And she is freakin' cute as hell! Which I'm sure she gets a lot :)

3. The new medals this year are so pretty!

4. After the race I got to witness all of my group finish the run as well as a lot of other friends. About 3 of them PR'ed too! :)

5. A LOT of port-o-potties. I didn't wait in line once!

6. While waiting for my friends to finish the full, I got a lot of fun shots of all the usual suspects that make running marathons so much fun.

Here are some more shots of the whole event if you're interested.

7. I finally go to meet Sonia.

Like with Jess, I was amazed that she was able to find me in the mess of people that day. She was there with her parents who love to come cheer her on as she runs her races. One of the first blog entries that ever made me cry was about her marathon where her dad followed her around the course snapping as many pictures of her as he could.

We got to chat for a long time and it was so good to meet her, she is even nicer in real life than online and it felt like I was catching up with an old friend :) Sonia I hope you had a great time the rest of your stay and a safe trip back home. You and your parents were so great.

So even though my race was a little painful and I feel like I got hit by a dump truck today. I am extremely grateful I was able to run yesterday. I am a firm believer that the worse the race, the better a runner you will be for it. That being said, I am sooooooo glad I don't have another race to train for ...for a few months anyway. ;)


Saturday, January 26, 2008

Pre Race Rundown

So, we went to see Spirit of the Marathon Thursday night and it was pretty amazing. If any of you guys missed this one-day showing, I think they have added another date in February. I highly recommend it to anyone who needs a little bit of inspiration. It definitely helped me get into the mood for tomorrow.

This week has been good. I only ran twice, but they were two solid runs. While I was exhausted both times, once again, no leg pain which is pretty awesome. I told my PT on Monday of my progress and she was so excited for me that I was going to be able to run tomorrow. Yeah, sucking it up and paying the dough to switch back to her was the best decision I have made in a long time. I have no doubt that if I had stayed with Mr. 70's Velvet Sweat Suit, I would not be running tomorrow.

So today we went to the expo and picked up our swag.



Other than the $15 parking, the expo was pretty good. Although I live in Miami, so a $15 parking fee shouldn't phase me, but somehow it still does.

After the expo we headed home and just chilled on the couch switching back from "Best Week Ever and The Real Housewives of Orange County. I love Saturday afternoon T.V. Later, we headed down to the Footworks pasta party that was held at the Knights of Columbus Club in the Gables for some pasta and cake. The cake was made by our friend Ralph's wife and was amazing. She duplicated the medal from last year perfectly!



So now I think I'm going to take a warm bath, do some light stretching and make sure I have everything ready for the morning. The weather is calling for rain showers from 6am-11am now, which scares me after last years monsoon that came at the beginning of the race. You never know what kind of weather you are going to get down here in South Florida. Well, at least I know we wont get snow.

Wish me luck (and dry weather)!!!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Bring it Miami...

Decision's been made. I'm in. I'm doing the Half on Sunday.

I am happy to report I had three FANTASTIC runs this week. Jeremy and I ran 4.6 on a beautiful and cool (51 degree) Tuesday morning. Leg tightened a bit at the end, but no pain at all. Then we ran 5.6 on Thursday which was the best run I had in months. While, we didn't run it fast and I felt completely out of shape and tired the entire run, there was no pain or tightening at ALL. I was so excited. I'll take exhausted over painful any day.

Then Saturday morning I ran my final run of the season with my Miami Marathon Training Group (Roadrunners). I designed some running t-shirts this week for our group to wear after the race. We should be getting them in sometimes this week. I can't wait to see how they came out.


I am pretty sad that this is the last week we will be running together and a little bummed that right when I am starting to feel better and run with them again, it's ending. But I have to say, it is going to awesome to get to sleep in on Saturday mornings again. This whole getting up between 3am-4am to run every Saturday morning, especially since I have been biking most of these runs since October, has gotten very, very old. I have been getting up early to run on Saturday mornings since October of LAST year. And by last year I mean 2006, not 07. Jeremy and I have been training for something it seems like FOOOREVAH. Sooooo ready to hit the snooze for a few months.

Anyway, the final run was great. Other than feeling EXTREMELY tired and out of shape again, I felt really good. No pain or tightening at all and we ended up doing about 9 miles. Thats the farthest I have run since Columbus, and it felt great.

So, I am going into the race this weekend with a lot of confidence. I have zero hopes for a PR, but I am pretty sure I can run the distance without too much discomfort. At this point, I think the hardest part will be the fitness part. When I run lately, I just feel like I am running through a vat of Jello. I am not sure if it is just me not used to running, or the humidity. Whatever it is, I can live with it. Like I said, as long as I am not in pain, I'll be OK.

I am also pretty excited to meet up with Jess and Sonia afterwards. It should be a beautiful race day guys. Hope you are ready! :)

Tuesday, 1/15 - 4.6 miles/45:39 - 9:58 pace
Thursday, 1/17 - 5.6 miles/55:44 - 9:57 pace
Saturday, 1/19 - 9 miles/1:39 - 10:59 pace
Sunday, 1/30 - Gym, lift, 30 minutes elliptical, stretch

Total Weekly Mileage: 19.20

Monday, January 14, 2008

Plugging Along

First of all...

What the hell happened to my Buckeyes???? Seriously, COME ON!!!


Two years in a ROW??!?!?!?! Sigh...

Other than that my week has been OK. I had another session with the weird PT that was bizarre. He had me stretch out my leg on this machine for 10 minutes and when I was done and he came back, my back was so tight I could barely walk. He had to get another PT to massage it for me until it was better. Needless to say, I cancelled my last appointment.

Wednesday morning I went for a slow three mile run around campus and I felt great. No pain at all, just a little stiffness. Then I had an appointment with the original PT that worked on me and I love her. She worked on my leg for a whole hour and I felt so much better when I was done. Sooooo worth the money.

Of course, then I tried to run again on Thursday morning (stupid) and I had a horrible time, I had to stop after 1.5 miles and walk the rest of the way home. I was pretty bummed out even though I shouldn't have been. I knew better than to try and run two days in a row, so it was my own stubborn fault.

The rest of the week I spent stretching a lot and Saturday morning I met my group on my bike for their training run. Since they are in a taper they "only" had a 12 mile run. I biked the first 6 then passed off the bike to another leader and attempted to run the rest.

I am not sure if it was the group dynamic, or if I was just running a bit slower than I do when I run alone, but I felt pretty good. Not great, by any stretch of the imagination. My leg got pretty tight. Especially when Ralph, the other leader sped up and had us doing Cross Country drills. But the pain never went to the knee, which is a good sign. All in all it was a much needed mental boost to my running.

I talked to my PT again this morning (or she talked while I writhed in pain and sobbed like a baby as she rubbed knots out of my leg) and she told me since I didn't really have an injury but more or less just REALLY tight muscles all over one side of my body, it wouldn't kill me to do the half. She told me to just stay conservative, have fun, walk if I need to and to NOT even think about a time. She also reminded me that there is no shame in having to stop during the race, especially since I'm injured.

We'll see. I am still up in the air about the whole thing. I will be there either way, but it may be a game day decision at this point. Either way, I am just glad I am seeing a bit of progress. Yay! Progress rocks!

Sunday, January 06, 2008

My mind is made up...

What a crap week.

My emotions have taken a ride on the proverbial roller coaster. One minute everything seems to be going my way and then wouldn't you know it, my stomach is doing flip-flops from dropping down another hill.

Without boring anyone with details, lets just say I had a lot of things planned out for how the next year of my life was going to unfold. We (J and I) have been planning certain things for almost a year and this week a lot of what we had planned pretty much flew out the window. Tough to deal with on many different levels.

I may have had an easier time with all of it, if at least my plans for running had been going my way. Since all the nagging injuries I have had, which seem to change from one thing to another every time I run, running is just another thing on that list that seems out of my control. Another thing that I am longing for that I just can't have.

The thing that really sucks about it, is that running is the one thing that would actually make me feel better about all this other shit. Running clears my mind, makes me take better care of myself, which makes me feel better about myself. When I don't run, I eat and drink like a pig which just makes me feel disgusting, weak and sad. When I feel healthy, I feel better about everything else. I need running now more than ever.

So this is why I was so bummed out this week when I went to my new PT. Before he even evaluated me, or let me finish telling him what was wrong with me, he immediately told me to forget about running the Miami Half.

"Not gonna happen." he said.

Of course that was after he hurried me along while I was trying to explain to him my problems. Then he automatically told me I have a back problem, which is fine, but he completely missed the part about my tendon issues and the IT band pain, which was why I was there in the first place. Never mind the fact that he wore an awful 70's sweatsuit, didn't wear underwear and rubbed his junk all over my knee when he was stretching my leg, cut me off every time I opened my mouth to speak, rubbed my back so hard I thought he was going to break it (it was bruised the next day) and just generally made me uncomfortable. Oh and of course, when I told him what my other PT had told me, he basically told me she was stupid. Of course.

So after he stretched me, rubbed my back and had me do back exercises he had me run. When my IT band started aching he seemed surprised, like, "Oh, you have an IT band issue as well?!?!?" Sigh. Maybe if he would have let me finish explaining myself!!! Grrrr.

Now, I know it sounds bad, but I am not saying this guy is unqualified. He is a well-known PT in the area, owns his own popular running store, taught as an adjunct at various Universities and written countless articles on gait analysis and running. He knows his stuff. I just think that our personalities do not match at all and I just got a really weird feeling about him.

So after telling J how I felt, he agreed he was weird (he is going to him as well), but he knows his stuff and it only cost us 15 bucks, so we should give it another chance, blah, blah, blah...

Then, after he found out some running gossip about him from a reliable source, he agreed to let me go back to the first PT if I told them I was limited to 2-3 visits. I called and made an appointment immediately.

I went back to him for a second visit though on Friday (it was too late to cancel and I figured I should give him one more chance to redeem himself to me). Maybe I was being too judgmental. Anyway, he was better, but I am just not convinced he is the right fit for me. I have another appointment with him tomorrow, but on Wednesday it's back to the first PT. I hope I am making the right decision.

So the good news is that after having our gait analysis, we figured out the correct shoes we need to be in. Jeremy and I both have narrow feet and slightly overpronate. He was in a neutral shoe, and my shoe was fine, but too wide in the middle. So I switched from my beloved Saucony's to a new pair of Asics 2130's.


Pretty snazzy huh? I broke them in on a 3 mile run tonight and good news all around! First off, love the shoes. I thought they wouldn't be cushiony enough for me, but they are. And since they are snug in the middle they seem to really stabilize my feet.
But even better than that is that this is the longest run I have had since the Columbus Marathon where I wasn't in excruciating pain (yes, 3 miles is my longest run in two months and I want to run a half-marathon). At the very end, I could feel my leg getting weak, like the pain was coming, but I stopped in time.

Since the Miami Half Marathon is three weeks away, I have made up my mind. I am definitely running it. I think if I work my way up to a slow 10 mile run in two weeks, I can do it. I was thinking about just dropping out completely, but you know what? Screw it. It's already paid for. If all else fails, I'll power-walk that bitch. No more feeling sorry for myself. I don't care what annoying PT's in bad attire tell me.

I'm doing it damn it!

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