baseball

SF GIANTS HALF MARATHON

This year, the San Francisco Giants Race was held on 9/11 and I really love the shirt design. I also love the Brandon Crawford bobblehead! I was very close to time I ran it last year, which was a little over 2 minutes faster. Unlike last year, I felt zero IT band pain and my run itself was good.

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Crawford Bobblehead, shirt, bib, and my running companions 🙂 

Let me start in at the beginning. The race does have a great packet pickup. I LOVE picking it up in AT&T Park. It’s really cool to be able to go inside an empty park, plus they have a lot of vendors, race reps and plenty of samples.

The half marathon and 10k started at the same time this morning: 7:00am, with the 5k starting later after 10:00am. Perhaps this was one of the problems. I spent the first 3 miles, jockeying constantly through walkers doing the shorter race. How great it was to finally breathe and space out once they had turned around! I would like to see them start at a later time so those of us trying to actually better our times and not just out for a stroll could get past the walkers.

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Beautiful 9/11 Tribute

One of my biggest peeves since I’ve bene doing this race is the same one I have for every race EXCEPT the Hot Chocolate Race….not enough porto-bathrooms! Come on! There are thousands of runners, can you get a few more? The Hot Chocolate folks are the only ones who seem to do this right, they have plenty! And, can you believe someone tried to cut in front of me in the line. Yeah, didn’t happen! I had been waiting for 20 minutes and wasn’t about to let anyone cut in front of me. Had they had a small child and ask nicely, I probably would have, but just trying to hog in without waiting, NO!

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Best Seat in the Park, for a few minutes

Another thing Hot Chocolate does is divide the runners and walkers up into more corrals. The first few specifically say NO WALKERS. I do apologize because I’m sure they’re wonderful people, if they are walking in a line blocking everyone’s way, it’s a huge pain. Every race should have signs posted: “Walkers Stay To The Right.” It really is up to the race directors to provide guidance to participants, especially because many of the Giants fans there may not have done other races and don’t know how things are usually done. Race direction is getting very lackadaisical anyway.

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I’ll just sit here a little while longer…

And maybe I’m alone in this, but those runner/walker types can be annoying, especially if they don’t bother looking behind them when they stop running, or if they think they can keep walking in the left with all the runners. No, you too, stay to the right.

The last thing that made me a little cranky was at the nutrition stop, I heard they were going to have Clif Shot Bloks, which I love. When I got there, they were giving out sample size Clif Bars, I’m not going to eat that during a run! Fortunately, I normally bring my own fuel so I don’t have to worry about it, but don’t BS me, Folks!

Other than those irks, I felt good, my legs felt good and there were some nice food giveaways after the race. It was also excellent to sit in the loge seats afterwards. I’ve never been in those before, and probably never will again!

Now for a couple days’ rest and back to tackling my next goals. I’ll let you know soon what I’m up to!

Cheers!

 

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The Giants Race 2015

Empty AT&T

Empty AT&T

This Half Marathon was the second one for me in a month. I was confident it wouldn’t be as difficult as the first one because three days before that first one, my back went out. But I was wrong.

That’s one of the things I love about running. It is never, ever predictable. You can go to the same gym, day after day and do the same exercises, sit at the same bench and be predictable, but running never is. Even if you run the same course, you’ll find things you’ve never seen before if you look around.

Buster pre race

Buster pre race

And today’s race was really hard. I am completely at fault for this. I took it too easy yesterday. I rolled once in the morning, but that was all. I should have at least gone for a walk and gotten some nice stretching or maybe yoga in, but instead I had a lazy day.

This morning when I got ready to run, I rolled and stretched, but as I walked towards AT&T Park, I could feel my right IT band getting a little tight. I prayed it would be all right for the race.

Everything was fine, though. The weather was great; it stayed in the low 60s, which is perfect and didn’t warm up until near the 12th mile. I ran around 11-minute miles and even when using a porto-potty, there was no line, so I wasted little time.

I felt a little knee discomfort around Mile 3 and thought “oh no…”, but it went away and didn’t act up again. I only walked going up a steep hill around Ft Mason, both out and back and when eating or drinking. Otherwise, I kept a slow, steady pace.

Me with friends

Me with friends

But then at Mile 9 my right IT band started acting up. I took short walk breaks when needed until Mile 12 when I knew if I didn’t run straight through I’d never make my PR, and I so wanted that. So, I ran the last two miles with a bit of pain.

I had a great finish by nearly sprinting into the park, giving Lou Seal (the Giants seal mascot) the metal sign and high fiving him. After the finish line, I was beat, I gave this race and finish everything I had.

The 5K race started a couple hours later. I stuck around to meet up with friends and chill. It was fun to sit on the grass of the outfield. How many chances do we get to do this?

I’m very proud of this race and my finish – 3 minutes under my SF Marathon 2nd Half time.

SWAG! And Buster

SWAG! And Buster

Now I’ll take a couple days off to rest and recover and then I’ll start my full marathon training for the California International Marathon in December.

Oh you can follow me and Buster on Instagram! We each have an account. Follow me at: @Martha_Runs_SF and Buster @busterrunstheworld

Cheers!

Emotional Halloween

When I was a kid, Halloween was my favorite holiday. As I grew only and went to college, I still loved it, because my friends and I threw amazing parties; they were the best around and were talked about throughout the year.

Year later, though, Halloween doesn’t hold the same appeal as it used to. I do love the ancient Celtic idea of Samhain though. They believed that this night marked the New Year, and that the veil between the living and dead was the thinnest. They communicated with passed away loved ones and blessed the just harvested crops to hope they lasted through the long winter. This more serious idea of October 31st means more to me than drunken debauchery, considering I don’t drink and don’t like to be around crowds that do. I miss the Halloweens I used to enjoy, but I don’t miss the drinking or the hangovers…

Speaking of drinking and celebrating….the San Francisco Giants won the World Series this week. And what a series it was! I couldn’t have asked for a better set of games had I planned it myself. Talk about Torture!!! Somehow, they pulled through victoriously and today was the parade. So, I split my time at our work Halloween costume party (I was Ozzy Osbourne) and going to see part of the parade. I got to see Hunter Pence, Gregor Blanco, Joe Panik, and Jeremy Affeldt. It was fun. It was also raining, but that didn’t damper the spirits of the few million who came out to watch their heroes.

Last night I went out for a great 2.5 mile run. I really enjoyed it and everything felt great. But during the night, the IT Band of my right leg started feeling tight, and this morning it was a little painful. During the day, it downright hurt and was sometimes hard to walk. It was a little upsetting. I really don’t want another thing holding my running back, especially since I’ve been working so hard to do things right.

Since I’ve been home from work I’ve been rolling and stretching it. It does feel better. I won’t run tomorrow….I’ll roll it, stretch it and see how it feels. I’ll try an easy run Sunday and see how it goes. I can only do so much, the rest I’ll leave up to God….

Getting Back….

It’s not easy coming back from an injury or a forced time off. I was in Go Mode getting ready for The Giants Step, the San Francisco Giants baseball team annual Half Marathon/10K/5K. Training was going well, my runs were getting longer and I was feeling fine. 

But during a 6-miler, my right knee started hurting very badly about 3.5 miles in. I kept going and finished the run. but not without a lot of pain and walking rests. The next week I was in pain. I got a brace for my knee and took a second week off, hoping it would feel better. 

Unfortunately, after a trial 2-mile run, my knee still hurt. I went to the Orthopedic doctor after another two weeks. He said that my knees were OK and that they hurt because my IT Bands, thighs and core wasn’t strong enough. He gave me some strengthening work to do, as well as walked me to the physical therapy department of the hospital. They worked with me a little and gave me a set of exercises that should help make the areas stronger. The doctor also said I should be able to run again in 4 to 6 weeks, which is just about the date of the Giants Step Race. 

I felt quite relieved. I switched my race to the 5K. I can handle running/walking for 3.1 miles. 

So, I’ve been working at the YMCA, getting my upper body, core and thighs in order. My knee doesn’t hurt much now, which is good. I had a pretty good workout last night, so it was a tad sore this morning. The brace helps when it’s like that, but most of the time, i go without it. 

I’m also starting a Pilates class tomorrow night. I think that will help as well. 

It certainly feels better being active again! 

A TALE OF OPPOSITES

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(Martin St. Louis)

I watched two games last night on television, two different games in two different sports. Both important games in their sport yet each athlete I honed in on are so polar opposite I felt the need to share.

It’s NHL Playoff season. The series are long and brutal. Each series lasts seven games. The winner of each series moves up to the next stage until the reach the championship for the Stanley Cup, the granddaddy of all pro sports awards. Nothing beats it. Nothing.

My New York Rangers were 1 win, 3 losses against the Pittsburgh Penguins. One more loss and they’re out of it. So, they had to win last night. One of their new star players Martin St. Louis also had a personal tragedy. His mother, after a long, extended illness, passed away on Thursday the day before yesterday.

He flew home to Montreal immediately to be with his family and after a brief visit talking it over with them, decided to play Friday night, his father telling him that’s what his mother would have wanted him to do. He played with a courageous face and a brave heart. He put it all on the ice. He commented that she was with him the whole game and indeed she was, in his heart and in his soul.

Contrast that emotionally charged, beautifully touching picture with this: a bravado, cocky young Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team player, Yasiel Puig so full of himself he makes a big deal out of every hit he gets. In fact, he celebrates nearly every walk, every hit, every on base that comes his way. He throws a tantrum each time a pitcher dares throw a strike past him. And if he’s out, he nearly stomps up and down in protest. He flips his bat even when getting a single and saunters to first base, taking his time. He hit a home run last night and took extra time to brag about the moment towards my team (SF Giants’) pitcher Madison Bumgarner. This angered the more mature Bumgarner, as it would anyone, which if it had been an isolated incident wouldn’t attract any attention, but because Puig does this every time he’s at bat makes him the Justin Beiber of Major League Baseball. Puig’s behavior is tolerated by the Dodgers’ organization as Beiber’s disgraceful behavior is tolerated by the commercial music industry.

But what do these individuals have to do with a fitness and health blog, namely MY blog? Because like St. Louis and Puig, we all have the chance to act in life. We CHOOSE how to act in our lives. We’re never perfect. Humans make mistakes. Each and every moment we’re given the chance to make choices how we treat ourselves and other people. If we screw up, we can choose not make those same choices again.

When someone like Martin St. Louis, who knows his team is relying on him to him to help them win the team’s most important game of the year, even in his moment of pain and despair chooses to stand tall and put aside such heartbreak and be the stronger for it, he’s made a choice. When Puig acts like a spoiled princess because he can’t get his way and stomps his feet, treating others like crap, that’s the choice he made. But he makes that choice over and over and over again. He never learns that this is not the way to behave. Whether he has no one to teach him otherwise, or if he’s been told this is the way to act to get what he wants is unclear, but somewhere along the line, something went wrong.

So, we have a choice to make. Will we be our stronger selves today and make the right choices or do something else?

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(A tearful Puig?)