marathon

This Is It!

Sunday is my next race – the San Francisco Marathon. I dare say it’s been really difficult getting there, perhaps even more difficult than the California International Marathon last December. My right IT band has been troubling me and lingering doubts over whether I could even finish have plagued me.

This past week I’ve been taking it easy. I’ve gotten a couple small runs in with lots of stretching and rolling. My leg has felt good and I am mentally in a good place going into race weekend.

The military have a saying “Embrace the suck.” So I’ll be doing that if it gets real bad Sunday, for I do NOT plan on giving up…I WILL finish this race.

But my goals have changed, for the next year anyway. I no longer think I should try to keep going longer. I think after Sunday, I’ll stick to half marathons and shorter and lose about 15-20 pounds, to be in prime shape. I want to run faster before I go farther. If I can kick this IT band thing, then I can run marathons much more efficiently and relatively pain free. RELATIVELY.

So, I’ve been quiet in here, at times frustrated, and trying to stay positive, which isn’t always easy. But it is always necessary. I will write all about my race with lots of pictures after it happens!

Cheers!

Advertisements

Finding Grace Through the Long Run

Opposites, they happen in running, especially during long runs. One week can be sheer disaster; they can be all pain, horrific to get through and then the next can be everything you want it to be: smooth, relatively pain free, even FUN.

Today, as opposed to last week (When Runs Go Bad), was incredible. I ran 16 miles and except for a couple tight spots, it felt good the whole time. I spent extra time at the gym on my core and rolling. Endless rolling. I’ve been nervous about this run for days. I was so nervous about it that it was hard to get to sleep last night.

I woke up early this morning, had a good breakfast, coffee of course, as I can’t live without it, and went out into the morning. I chose a route that didn’t have many hills and I had to pick one away from my normal spots because the Escape From Alcatraz Triathlon happening today.

About Mile 2 I got nervous; my knee started getting twangs of pain, but it went away after a couple moments and I sighed, relieved. It wasn’t until after Mile 8 on a long, straight stretch of 3rd Street that I had to roll my leg out. I thoughtfully brought my hand roller with me. It was a life saver!

Dancers on the pier

Dancers on the Pier

I only used once more a few miles later, but the rest of the run everything felt great. I kept my pace nice and slow, but not super slow, at least for me. It was a nice pace and one that if I could keep up with in the full marathon, I would be very happy with. I’m so pleased with my run and grateful to be able to run. There was a feeling early in this run that I would be OK, though. After my knee scare, I knew that if I could keep my pace slow, the rest of the way would be fine.

And the weather was quite warm, which I think it will be in late July at the time of the race. I’m a happy runner tonight. Next week, I go for 18 miles. Let’s have another week of good runs!

Cheers!

PLANS CHANGE

The last few weeks I had been ramping up my mileage in preparation for my upcoming marathon. I was also getting in plenty of strength training, doing lots of rolling and stretching.

But I have found that I am mortal after all. My IT band on my right leg, the bane of my existence,  started bothering me during my last two long runs. After today’s long run, I decided to switch from a full marathon to a half.

This saddened me, but I knew it had to be done. I know that at this time, with the nagging aching of my IT band after eight miles or so, I couldn’t finish 26 miles. I can handle 13. It might not be the best half I’ve ever run, but I’ll do it. I’m already registered to run the full San Francisco Marathon, held in July, so I’ll start training for that at a much slower increasing pace with plenty of time.

It’s only been three months since the California International Marathon, much too soon. I know that now. I guess I thought I could handle it. Now I know.

After a few hours, I’m looking at it in a more positive light. I will work harder, be a better runner, get as fit and trim as I can. And I will write all about it.

Cheers!

 

VALENTINE’S DAY RUN

I’m not a big Valentine’s Day fan. I’ve been single a long time and even when I was in past relationships, I saw no need for anyone or any date on the calendar to tell me this was the time to be nice to my significant other. After all, we should our loved ones how much we love them all the time. But, many people love it, so I hope they have had a great time today.

With that said, I had a long run scheduled for today, so I woke up at 4:30 this morning and headed out at 7:00am.

I’ve been pushing myself hard lately. My gym workouts are hard, and leave me knowing I’m doing everything I can to get in great shape. But I think I’ve been perhaps asking too much of my body, especially my legs.

After Mile 9 on my run, my right IT band started acting up. Thank goodness I brought my little roller along with me, so I was able to roll it a little during a short break. I did plan to go father than I would up running, but I had to cut it short because my legs ran out of steam. I did 15 miles, but I pushed those miles.

Before my marathon last December, I wold have been a little panicked about not getting my intended miles out, but it’s OK, I still have time and I will do this.

And, it was meant to be because my run ended exactly IN FRONT of the Trader Joe’s at Fisherman’s Wharf. How’s THAT for distance timing?? I picked up what I needed for some meal planning for the first part of the week and went on home for a nice warm shower and rest. All after a good foam roll session, of course.

Cheers!

SNAGS AND SETBACKS

I’ve been reading this book “The Untethered Soul”, by Michael A Singer about reclaiming your life and true Inner Growth. It’s an interesting read, one that can help me quite a bit, as I tend to worry a lot about things out of my control. I’ll write a complete review of it in here when I finish it.

Stress is the big killer. Combine stress with unhappiness and it can lead to many things, none of them good. And it has been getting to me lately. I simply must find a way to let go the stress I’m experiencing these days.

It is a work in progress. I’m including meditation in my evening routine, as well as getting back into eating healthy and striving to reach my fitness goals. This will take three things: 1) time, 2) patience and 3) money. And I need to do a better job at all three.

But it’s OK. I will do them all. My first goal is to not be so hard on myself. The greatest damage we can do is to be our harshest critic. So, I’m going to smile back at myself in the mirror more and carry on!

I ran six miles last night through Downtown and along the Bay. It was wonderful! The weather was mild, absolutely no wind and I felt so free. Tonight, I hit the gym, ready to work out my trouble spots: Core, Glutes, Shoulders, Arms.

And tomorrow as Scarlett said, is another day.

Cheers!

 

PS: I’ve revamped my blog/website. It’s now much simpler to reach and it will have a lot more content, including exercise instruction, recipes and reviews. Let’s just say that it will be a great place to check back often!

CIM 2015

CIM 12-6-15 a

On a chilly Friday morning, I took Amtrak up to Sacramento to run my first marathon in 28 years. I was nervous beyond belief and excited! It was finally time; I just hoped that I’d be able to finish and that everything would go OK.

I stayed at the Embassy Suites right next to the Sacramento River and Old Sacramento. It’s a beautiful hotel with very large rooms. I’m not used to having a whole living space just to watch TV and eat when I travel! The view from my window couldn’t be better; I had a magnificent view of the Tower Bridge.

CIM Tower Bridge

View of Tower Bridge from my hotel room

It had been a few years since I walked through Old Town. If you have an interest in history and don’t mind more touristy areas, Old Sac is interesting. It’s done up like how the town was during the Gold Rush of the 1860s, with wooden plank sidewalks and old fashioned shops and people dressed in costume. There’s a terrific Railroad Museum as well. I found a decent pizza place and settled into my room for the night. It was a chilly night in the Valley; I was very happy I bundled up for cooler weather.

Saturday morning I woke up with a sore throat and I felt a bit tired. “Oh no!” I was getting a cold! I did NOT need this the day before my marathon. On my way to the race expo, I stopped off at a drug store and picked up some throat lozenges and cold medicine.

The CIM Expo was the best race expo I have ever attended. I was there over two hours scoping out everything. There were so many races represented and so many products! I got lots of samples and bought some Wright socks (my favs) for a great price. I meandered back to the hotel to rest for the afternoon and hope my cold didn’t get any worse.

CIM Buster

 

The alarm went off at 3am (!!!) Sunday. I was sleepy, but I felt OK. No sore throat, very little congestion and hardly any sickness. I was so relieved. But nothing was going to stop me from running today. I had too much invested in this race to stop now.

The buses to the starting line picked us up about a block from the hotel. It was cold out, but with the forecast calling for rain, it probably wasn’t as cool as it had been the past couple of days.

The marathon starts in the small resort town of Folsom, which sits at the man-made Folsom Lake. Folsom is a quaint community that is a lot more active in the summertime than in winter, but the Christmas lights and decorations made things much more festive in the early hours.

The race starts a couple hundred feet above sea level and gradually goes downhill into Sacramento right in front of the state Capital Building. There are some uphills, but they’re of the gentle, rolling type and never last long. It’s a very forgiving course, and one that’s known for producing very fast marathon times. I myself am not fast at all, but it was a great course to conquer for my first marathon in a very long time.

I’m going to guess it was because of my cold or maybe the cold meds, but I had to visit the porto-pottys three times for the first third of the race. I’ve never had any problems like that before! Thank goodness the race was well supplied and I never had to wait for long, so maybe at the very most I lost 5 to 10 minutes. (Sorry of that’s TMI!)

The rain started weakly at the start, but enough to dampen my feet and socks for the entire 26.2 miles. They felt fine though, the entire time. My Brooks Ghost 8s did fine work. I’m quite pleased with my shoes and socks (Asics).

I also wrote my Ultimate Direction hydration vest which always comes in handy in the longer races. I was surprised by how much water I drank though, my bottle was nearly through when it was over. And I ate Black Cherry Clif Shot Bloks, which I prefer over Gu.

I finished completely exhausted and sore, but victorious. I absolutely LOVE the medal and the shirt! I stuck around and cheered runners who finished after me and then waddled slowly back to the hotel that seemed a lot farther away than it did previously.

CIM 12-6-15

I took an Epson salt bath and rolled out my sore muscles. Then I ate a bacon cheeseburger. It was delicious! The bath really helped with the muscles, because the next day I was sore, but not overly so and by the second day I was nearly back to normal. And my cold was completely gone.

This was the best race I’ve ever done. I will do this one again sometime.

Cheers!

THE SWEET SPOT

Some runs start out hard; I forget my Garmin (I know, but it happens) and I have to go back and get it, I run the first mile too fast, forget to roll, run too close to eating, and then I know the rest of the run is going to be so, so hard. Sometimes, the run doesn’t turn out to be as bad as I imagine and I wind up pleasantly surprised. Other times it’s agony for miles.

But then there are those runs when everything feels RIGHT. All cylinders clicking perfectly. The weather is wonderful, drivers are mindful and yes, pedestrians are courteous. At some point on one of these runs I’ll feel good, really good, as if I could run 25 more miles just like I’m doing. I may smile, I may turn up my music a little more and maybe I’ll check out the scenery I’m passing a bit more carefully.

On my last run I felt this, it’s called a Runner’s High, and what a great feeling! Many times I get my “high” after I run and am filled with adrenaline, but that sheer joy of finding comfort spot during running is a bliss I truly appreciate and enjoy. I kept going on this run, moving past the point I had planned, because it felt so good. My body embraced the steps, this is True Freedom. If I had allowed myself, I could have probably gone a couple more miles out of happiness alone.

But then a cyclist nearly ran into me and jolted me back into reality. Even with all the happy thoughts, I still have to remember that it’s a dangerous world for us runners; need to constantly be on guard.

In between my runs I’ve been spending a lot of time at the YMCA. I’ve learned to enjoy core and weight work. It’s a different kind of appreciation and workout. It’s more tightly controlled and inside. And it’s around others, most of the time. But without all the strength training and stretching I do, I couldn’t run, so it’s necessary.

My longest run in decades is coming up this Sunday. I’ll go for 20 or 21 miles, which will be the only 20+ mile run I get in before my marathon in December. I wanted to do more, but because of all the happened with Dad, it didn’t happen. I hope it’s enough.

Tomorrow night is a 9-miler, so I’m looking forward to hitting that sweet spot once more.

Cheers!