Sunday, May 17, 2009

first long

It's good to hear from you Sandy. I am envious of the way you can take 2 weeks off, then get up and run 5 miles, just like that.
I attempted my first long since the 1/2 marathon today. I planned to go 6 miles and my goal was to be under 15-minute miles. I also wanted to run the whole thing. My long term goal is to do the next 1/2 marathon in 3 hours 4 minutes, which is 14-minute miles. Somehow I forgot to make the turn I needed to make, and kept going up Houghton instead. By the time I realized, it was too late, so I continued on Houghton to the freeway and then turned around. After about an hour I was just too tired to go on, so I stopped my timer and slowly walked home. I mapped it and the whole thing was actually 6.5 miles.
I ran most of 4.4 miles, which is close enough to the 6 I had planned, and did 14.7 minute miles, which is progress. So all together I feel pretty good about it. I think I'll do 5 mile longs until I can do them with 14-minute miles, and then slowly increase the distance. I also think I will do a run:walk ratio of 2 minutes: 30 seconds. There's really no reason for me to run the whole way because walking works a different set of muscles, so I want to do both. Also my ankle is none too happy, so maybe the walk breaks will allow it to heal from whatever is wrong with it.
A mile is a mile, and 100 calories per mile means 670 calories for today, so that somewhat compensates for the Lucky Wishbone, 5 donuts, and Panda Express I had this past week. It's bound to be another hard week... the last 3 days of school will push my patience to its limits, and then I have Jessica's graduation, which I am prepared for in every way except emotionally.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

back in the saddle

Well I hit the gym today for the first time since the marathon. Felt fairly decent, good to be back. I had the unexpected gift of a lazy day at the gym, meaning my two kids went to friends houses so I got to spend as much time as I wanted. I spent an hour on the treadmill and got in 5 miles, then I sat in the hot tub, steam room, and then took a leisurely shower and shaved off every stray hair on my body followed by scented moisturizer. Then I sat on the patio and read the paper whilst eating a tuna wrap and fresh fruit. It rocked. I love my gym.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

I pushed

I just went all out after not running since Friday, and did two 12:20 minute miles. Woohoo! For once it was my lungs getting in the way, not my legs. I gotta work my weekly mileage up slowly, so as not to get sick again.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

I've crawled to the mountaintop

Well I did it! I met my goal of running a marathon before I turned 40, beat it by almost a year in fact. I'm so relieved that I don't have that hanging over my head anymore. But I also don't think I'll have the need to do it ever again.

The first half went beautifully. Me and my sis bonded at the start line and offered up a prayer to goddess for strength, power, grace and endurance. Then we took off. I felt really good for the first few miles. There were lots of downhills and it wound through beautiful neighborhoods, along the coast and through a natural wetlands area. I was frustrated because I had to stop and poo around mile 6 even though I'd taken an immodium. I think I wasted about 10-15 min in line, it seemed like forever.

I started getting real tired around mile 10 but kept going although I walked through all the water stops. At mile 12 the marathon split from the half marathon and I was really envious of those folks turning left towards their finish line. I was tired. I thought of my sister who would be done soon, and my other two sisters who were already done with their 5k. And I thought about how long they would be waiting for me to finish, and whether or not they'd be drunk by the time I got there.

My path took me up a giant hill over a freeway (which I walked) and then wound through streets. At mile 13 I asked a cop what time it was and he said 9:25 so I knew I had done well on the half despite the bathroom break. After the first half my agreement with myself was that I would walk/run the rest as I felt I could.

I passed our hotel and I thought briefly that I could just go on up and lay down, it was tempting. Then we wound through a mall and a guy cheered for me and said "only 10 more miles" and I said "Really? Only 10 more?" and he laughed but I was serious because I hadn't seen a mile marker in awhile and I wasn't sure. I knew I could pull off 10 more.

But then the sun came out. Miles 17 and 18 dragged on and on. When I saw mile marker 19 I was furious because I thought for sure it would be mile 20, so I gave a mental "f-u" to mile marker 19. When I hit 20 I started to feel some desperation with the heat and knowing I had 6 miles left. But I knew I could do 6.

I ran the downhills and some flat parts until my body was just screaming at me to stop. My hamstrings were aching and my feet were burning. Until mile 23 we were running along this moldy wash with desert on the other side and not a body in sight aside from the desperate marathoners around me. I was pissed that they couldn't come up with some better scenery for this part. I was quite tempted to hitch a ride on the ambulance parked there for runners in trouble. I was repeating over and over in my head "never ever never ever never ever again".

In mile 24 we went through this sort of bad neighborhood and I was staring longingly at the grass along the sidewalk just imagining how nice it would be to lay down for just a minute. But I knew that if I did, I wouldn't get up again, and someone would call the paramedics and I'd get carted off.

Mile 25 I started running again, thinking I have at least another mile in me. But, I didn't. As I approached the fairgrounds I could see the finish line and I started running again only to be fooled by such trickery as a detour to take us all the way around before we got to the finish line. Mean spirited marathon planners!

As I passed the 26 mile marker I was listening to "Dick in a Box" and I had to chuckle at that, as I know I'll always remember what I was listening to as I brought this challenge to a close. So, I started running again because I had to be running when the sistahood saw me.

I heard them before I saw them and broke into this wide goofy grin, and temporarily forgot about my bodily pain. They were screaming at the top of their lungs, and one of them jogged alongside me outside the barriers. It was so awesome to have them there, and hear the announcer call my name as I crossed the finish line. When I crossed I didn't feel that joy and elation and emotion that some marathoners report, but I did feel a huge sense of relief and I did get a little teary hugging my sisters. When I finally was able to lay down in the grass, they stripped off my shoes and started rubbing my feet!! Then one snagged a massage table for me and I was able to get my legs and feet stretched and massaged, it was incredible.

I love my sistas and am so grateful that they accompanied me along this journey.

Peace, out. Until next time.

My first 1/2 marathon

I'm pretty sure there will be more half marathons. Maybe even a whole one... who knows?
I planned on going 3 this morning but my stomach is upset from eating crappy food for 2 days. So I got a mile in and had to take the shortcut home, and quick. I'll try again tomorrow.
Sandy wanted us all to write our account of the race, so here is mine:

"The miracle isn't that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start." - John "The Penguin" Bingham

Riding the shuttle to the start line was exhilarating. There was so much energy on that school bus! It reminded me of when I was a kid, on the way to school. All the freedom, optimism, and gleeful anticipation of life, all in one place.
When Sandy and I got to the start line, we were a little disconcerted that there was no water. There was a port-a-potty village, so we did our business and made our way to where we would be lining up. We discovered there were only 3 corrals, and we were in the same one, so we sat down on the curb to wait. The time went by really fast... we watched all of our fellow racers talking, jumping up and down, stretching, bouncing, passing the time. We saw one guy with a fro-hawk, which was really cool. I ditched my sweatshirt before the race even started.
People started to line up and we joined them. We stayed on the right - I was worried about being in front of much faster runners and I didn't want to be in the way. We sang some lines from Eminem, activated our wonder twin powers, hugged, spread the love, and encouraged each other. The horn sounded and before long we were moving forward. We crossed the start line and Sandy took off in front of me. It took a while for me to settle in because there were so many people! Tons of people were passing me and I felt bad about being in the way. But I was also passing some people so I figured I was ok.
I got caught up in the excitement and ran the first mile way too fast. Right when I passed the Mile 1 sign, a lady ran by and said, "We got an 11-minute mile going." I didn't even know I could go that fast! I knew I had better slow way down or I would be more than miserable at the end. I turned on my timer and started my 1:1 walk-run ratio.
The first part of the course was through neighborhoods. People were out on their front lawns but they weren't cheering for the most part - just watching everyone go by.
Halfway through mile 2 I saw the ocean. It was so beautiful. Mile 4 I passed the Balboa Island Bridge, which was the first time limit. I knew for a fact I was well under my goal time, and I felt great about that! I could see probably a mile behind me and there were many people on the road, so I stopped worrying about having a police car following me because I was dead last.
Running through the Wildlife Preserve was amazing. I saw ducks and other kinds of birds all over. It was really refreshing to see all the wildlife and greenery.
When I got to the giant hill in mile 11, I said to the person next to me, "This is pure evil!" Then I thought to myself, "But it's not going to break me." I could see that every single person in my field of vision was walking up that hill - nobody was trying to run it. It was long and tiring and I'm pretty sure it's why my shins are still sore! There was a Kool n' Fit station not long after that, which helped revitalize and refresh me for the few remaining miles. There was a sign at the water station that said, "You've come this far, you might as well finish!"
After that we started running through neighborhoods again. People were cheering and rooting us on. They kept saying things like, "You're almost there! Only 2 miles left! You're looking great!" That was really helpful. I wish I could thank all of them.
The finish line was the most amazing thing I have ever seen. People were lined up the last tenth of a mile, probably three deep, and cheering. All I could think was, "These people are cheering for me! Then I saw my sisters in their matching pink hats, screaming their heads off for me. I thought, "I actually did this! I completed a half marathon! Me!!!" I don't think I have ever smiled quite so big. When I ran past my sisters, I pumped my fists in the air. I looked at the clock and saw that I was well ahead of the time limit, and knew that I had come very close to 15 minute miles for the entire race. I crossed the finish line, got my medal, and promptly started crying. I had a little trouble for a few minutes, trying to catch my breath and cry at the same time, but I was ok after a few minutes. I got water and food, and went out in to the grounds. I walked for a short time because I knew it was the best thing to do, but after that I just planted myself on the grass and stretched. I was still in awe of the fact that I had finished. My sisters took very good care of me, and then I went to the finish line to cheer for Sandy, would would be coming in soon. Cheering the runners on was exhilarating! I had a blast.
Running the half marathon was a life-changing event for me. Never again will I allow self-doubt to inhabit my brain and say, "You can't do that," for I know now that I can do whatever I decide to do.

Friday, May 1, 2009

too much rest?

I still get tired between 8 and 9 at night, but the last 3 days I have been up well before the crack of dawn. I've got plenty of energy during the day so I guess it must be the lack of running because that's the only thing I am doing differently. It's weird... I can actually feel my body sort of healing and tightening up and storing energy, like my muscles are springs waiting to be released. Yesterday's 2 miles felt really good. So I think I will feel really good at least through the first part of the marathon.