San Francisco Giants

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!

Summer Doldums and Long Runs

Buster and I

Buster and I

It’s been warm in San Francisco. It is August, but you never know what summer will be like in The City. Travel 50 miles south to San Jose and it’s always hot in summertime. Same with Walnut Creek in the East Bay, it will be hot, hot, hot. But in San Francisco Proper, the wind blows the fog in from the ocean and more often than not, it stays cool all summer long, fooling the tourists, who think it’s going to be just like home. They huddle in groups, freezing in shorts and tank tops and newly bought San Francisco sweatshirts.

But it hasn’t been that way the last two weeks. It’s been sunny and warm or hot and humid. There’s only two weeks until the San Francisco Giants Step, my next race, a Half Marathon, so I needed to get one long run in today.

I started early, at 7:30am. I picked a course from my apartment, up to the Presidio National Park down around the SF Bay and wind up at AT&T Park, running 12 miles. I made it 10.44 miles. A few things cut it a bit short.

Chrissy Field

Chrissy Field

It was mostly a decent run. There were a few uphill parts and I did well on those; no walking, running slowly, everything felt good, my Ghost 8s are great, socks, great…but it was warm… I ran up to Golden Gate Bridge, then ran down to Fort Point under the bridge and down around Chrissy Field, the Marina and through Fisherman’s Wharf, which was just starting to get busy.

As I got to the Embarcadero past Pier 39, my right IT band, the one that usually causes the problems starting feeling tight. I stopped and stretched out for the first time in my run. This was after about 8.5 miles. It felt better for a little while. But after the 10th mile, it acted up again, I kept running until I got to the Ferry Building and stopped; it wasn’t worth pushing it farther.

Even though I roll out my IT band muscles, as well as most of my leg muscles, out every day, it looks like I need to do it more than once per day and maybe I need to ramp up strength training even more.

Whatever it takes to get through this and push my running even more. It’s hard getting older, but running it worth it. I love being out there. I love it when I’m moving and everything feels good. I feel as if I could keep going and never stop. And when it feels good, I sometimes think I won’t ever stop…

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….

THRIVING AT THE GIANTS RACE

After race crowd in AT&T

After race crowd in AT&T

When that lightbulb goes off in our heads, we don’t plan it; we have no idea where we will be or what we’ll be doing, it just happens. I’m sure when the great prophets in history received their revelations they didn’t happen in convenient or comfortable places, they happened in the most difficult times.

Mine happened today in a porto-potty. That’s right, as I was re-adjusting my running belt and making sure there was no toilet paper stuck to my shoes, I suddenly thought of something so profound, that it made things so clear to me for the first time in a very long time.

As I stepped out of that smelly and dank capsule and suddenly realized and KNEW that I no longer want to just “exist”. I’m tired of thinking how my life will be once I’m thin, or have more money, or have a better job or……..you fill in the blank.

It’s time to enjoy my life AT IT IS. Not “enjoy it as soon as I have this” or “enjoy it as soon as it’s the weekend” or “enjoy it if only this or that happened”. Even if there doesn’t seem to be anything positive, I will find something positive and if I can’t at all, then I will make changes until I can.

Sure, this is easy writing down (actually it isn’t and it wasn’t easy thinking about today), and it won’t be easy putting into practice. There are some changes I must make in my life RIGHT NOW. Not tomorrow, not in an hour from now, not next week, but right this very second I will change certain things.

One of the changes I must make RIGHT NOW is to stop putting myself down. Even small things like “I didn’t run fast” or “I don’t look good in that picture.” WHO CARES??? I need to that I can run or I should focus on the features of myself I do like. I must steer clear of being negative about others. I must stop trying to correct people. I’ve been working on this, but sometimes I get a stubborn streak and if someone annoys me, I feel the urge to want to show them up in some way. I don’t know why I do this, but I do. I will work on ending this, and if not ending this, than being more aware of when and why I do this. I know it annoys others and it isn’t doing anything to make me feel better either.

There are a few other things, but I’ll write about those in a day or two. This is a lot to work on right now.

There’s a song by Switchfoot that I really like called “Thrive”. I love listening to it when I run because it really gives me inspiration. Like the singer, I want to Thrive. I know it’s also used in ads by a certain hospital system, but it really says what I want to do. I want to do more than merely live.

Lou Seal is on the medal

Lou Seal is on the medal

THE GIANTS RACE

My 5K went well today. I had planned on running the Half Marathon but couldn’t do it because of my knee injury. The Giants race organizers were so helpful and kind switching me over to the 5K. At first I felt bad for not running the 13.1 race, but after getting into the mood of the pre-race and seeing all the excited and happy running Giants fans, it was hard to feel bad about anything.

It had been cold during the morning, but then the sun broke through and turned into a beautiful day. The 5K didn’t start until 10:50am and got there way too early. I went and grabbed a cup of Philz coffee and some water while I waited.

I ran a nice, slow easy pace. I hadn’t run for a month, so, my pacing wasn’t up to what it was previously. I also wanted to go slow to make sure my knee was feeling all right. It felt fine through the first two miles. Surprisingly in a good way, my knee felt fine through most of the race. It wasn’t until the start of the Mile 3 when I started feeling some pain and that didn’t last too long. When it started to hurt, I stopped running and walked for a couple minutes. In fact, the race was over before I thought it would be, making me feel pretty hopeful that I should be running regularly again soon.

Now I have to focus on two things to get back into running properly: 1) lose weight to take some pressure off my knees and 2) go to the YMCA three times a week to do weight training/ core work and stretch out my IT Bands.

The race was organized pretty well. It wasn’t the best organized race I’ve been to, but it certainly wasn’t the worst (I’m looking at you Mermaid). Race announcers/motivators, whatever they call them, should on the whole, do a better job in telling walkers to stay on the right and leave the left side of the course for runners. There were many spots on the course where it was quite narrow and with walkers going three in a row (why oh why do they do that???) it was hard motivating around them.

The starting corrals had the longest wait times in between starting. I think we waiting in #3 10 minutes to start after #2 did.

Strollers have long the bane of races. I’ve gotten used to single strollers, but double strollers? Come on, stay at the back of the race. I’m sorry if you’re a fast runner but your double wide stroller clogs up the course.

After the end of the race, there wasn’t any direction towards the food giveaways. I missed it entirely and have to beg an usher to let me back on the field, which he did. Thank you for that.

It was a great day to spend with my big Giants family. Now let’s sweep Detroit tonight!

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! 

See Krista Run 5K

The skies were relatively clear for my race last night. It was windy, though, as it usually is in China Basin, with few trees along the water to block to gusts. I was both nervous and excited as I rode Lightrail N down to Mission Bay Resort, hoping that I wouldn’t be the slowest runner there.

View of the SF Bay from Mission Rock

View of the SF Bay from Mission Rock

 I signed in and got my bib. I took a seat on the back balcony which was protected from the wind and have a nice view of the southside of the San Francisco waterfront. I had been to this place once a long time ago, but I don’t remember it well. It was nice meeting some of the other runners. Everyone was fun to talk to.

The City Beer Runs happen once a month, or thereabouts. This one was a fundraiser to help out a runner who through a bad infection lost her arm and her leg. It was the least we runners could do. There was no showy bling, no t-shirt, but everyone got a free beer at the end and the chance to help someone get closer to running again, which to me, means much more.

“See Krista Run” was the race’s official name, and it included a raffle and silent auction for things like yoga instruction and massages afterwards.

Here’s the Facebook page that will give more information about it:

https://www.facebook.com/events/1465649617011603/?ref=br_tf

The course was flat and fast. It started and ended at Mission Rock, going up the course of the Bay, along Third St, over the Third Street Bridge, past AT&T Park, home of the San Francisco Giants, up the Embarcadero and back down.

I started slow, the way I usually start races. Most people pass me up when a race starts. It used to bother me a lot until I realized that starting slow is not a bad thing to do. I kept a steady pace, finding my rhythm, breathing in time with my footsteps, going in a good pace, faster than my long run pace, but not fast enough to tire me out too quickly.

And then I felt good and knew I could keep this up for a while. It was then when I started passing up runners, runners who had started too fast out the gate. I passed up about nine total in the race. I was still more towards the back of the racing pack than the front, but I wasn’t last and for that, I was satisfied with my time, which was 33:05. Considering this was an evening race and my first 5K race since last fall, I’ll take it.

City Beer Runs is a great group of people, I’ll definitely be doing more runs with them. I want to thank Steve Snyder for inviting me and the ride home. I’ll see you at a race soon, Steve!

Unless I sign up for another race, my next race is the Giants Step Half September 7th and my running is gearing up!

Cheers!

Me and my friend Steve

Me and my friend Steve