Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Final Thoughts

Just a few more words about my entire marathon experience. Surprises, lessons learned, and random thoughts I have had about it.

I think I was most surprised by how difficult the training was. Not the actual mileage part-- I knew that would be tough-- but emotionally. Pete has said on several occasions to me, that he is always surprised by my inability to consider that something may go wrong, and to then plan for such mis-happenings. This was another one of those situations. It never occurred to me that I would be wrought with so much injury and pain. Even when I was on crutches with severe plantar fasciitis, I never considered the possibility that it would interfere with my training. I figured I would get the cortisone shot, stay off it for 2 weeks, then voila!, good as new. As those who followed my training know, that was not the case. I had 3 shots, physical therapy, custom made orthotics, enough motrin to kill a cow, and still ran in pain, every single day. Most of the time it was tolerable pain, but pain none the less. In fact, my foot still hurts. The plantar fasciitis seems to be mostly gone, but I have been left with joint pain in my foot. Poor Pete was subjected to my constant complaints of pain, worries about making it to the race, etc... It was draining for both of us.

Running and what it meant for me changed during the training. Running has always been an enjoyable experience. It was my escape, often times my only alone time in the entire day. While training, that changed. I was so focused on my training schedule, and so stubborn about pushing ahead, that every little ache or pain sent my anxiety level through the roof. Instead of escaping, I would hyper focus on everything. I was so sure that every pain was going to be the race ending injury I was so fearful of, a stress fracture, or something worse. I am looking forward to running for pleasure again. ( I am currently not running, waiting for my body to heal)

Despite the trials of training, the race itself was an enjoyable experience. It was exciting to be a part of something like that. While running I looked around and soaked in the beautiful views of San Francisco. Yes, I was in pretty severe pain the last hour, but that did not deter from the overall experience for me. I am still struggling with accepting my time. I had a goal for myself, and I do not do well with what I consider to be failure. I can't help but think I should have/ could have done better.

Now for the big question-- Will I do it again? After the race, I was not sure. I just didn't know if I could go through all that again. I know Pete was/is hoping I don't. Now that I have sat with it for a bit, I think I have too. I need another chance to improve. Also, it was just so exciting! It has to be different next time though. I can't endure all the pain, medical visits, and stress that all that entailed. I will research training schedules, and maybe even talk with a running coach. I will attempt to train in a way that will cut down on the injuries. And if problems do arise? I will stop. I am hoping since I have already done a marathon, I won't feel like I have something to prove. Why did I feel like that in the first place? The only pressure on me to do this run was self inflicted, I see that now.

So look out Napa! I am hoping to run the Napa Marathon, March 2010. (But don't hold me to it!)

Monday, October 20, 2008

Marathoning by the numbers

"Whether you think you can, or think you can't, you are right" Mary Kay Asher

Yesterday was the Nike Women's Marathon in San Francisco. I did it! Below are the highlights.

My pre-race dinner, a chile rellano

418 -- The number of miles I ran in the last 18 weeks while training

3 -- The number of cortisone shots in my heel while training. Ouch!

26.2 --The number of miles I ran on Sunday!! Woo hoo!

5 -- the number of times I pooped before the race. Got to love that nervous stomach.

1 -- the number of times I pooped during race (in porta potty, not my pants!)

The tattoo with my pace times, called a "pace tat"

50 -- temperature at the starting line. brrr!

2 -- the mile where there was a donation bin to drop jackets

Waiting for the race to start

2.5 -- the mile where I fell down, hard. Why? I have no idea. Some skinned knees and a bruised ego, otherwise I was fine.

The course map. Check out the elevation marker! They brought Mt Everest in just for the race.

6 -- the mile we ran by the Golden Gate bridge. It was absolutely stunning, as were most of the views

The view from the course

2 -- the number of big hills. There were countless small hills. I rocked those hills!

8 -- the mile I saw Pete for the first time. It gave me such a boost!

12 -- The mile Pete joined me on his bike, then proceeded to ride up and back with me the rest of the way. It helped more then words can describe.

13 -- The mile my foot started to hurt, but not enough to really bother me too much.

16 -- The mile my left knee started to bother me.

20 -- The mile where my knee pain became excrucitating. : -( The last hour was run in significant pain.

26.2 -- The finish line!!

54 - the temperature at the finish. Brr!

4:31 -- My official time. 15 min slower then I was hoping for. I am very dissappointed.

2,386 --calories burned by 115 lb woman running for 4 hr 31 min.

? -- the number of times I will do this again. I am glad I did it, but it was tough!

Holding my Tiffany bag after the race

This is the necklace we got at the finish line, handed to us in a little blue box by men dressed in tuxedos. The back says "NWM SF 2008"

Overall, a wonderful experience.

Pete, I can't thank you enough. First, for all the support during my many hours of training and all the mornings you got all the boys off to school without me so I could run. Second, for listening to all my complaints of pain during training and not smacking me upside the head and telling me to just drop out already. And finally, for sticking with me during the hardest miles of the race, reminding me that I could do it, and not letting me stop when the pain was trying to tell me otherwise. You are the best!! And you were right-- I should have eaten more breakfast.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Week Eighteen

Oct 12-18

Tues--3 mi
Thurs--3 mi
Fri--2 mi

total--8 miles

What can I say? The race is tomorrow. It felt so odd to only run 2 and 3 miles. I wasn't even warmed up yet or in my running groove. My foot is feeling great and I am raring to go!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Week Seventeen

Oct 5- 11

Mon--3 mi
Wed-- 5 mi
Thurs-- 3 mi
Fri-- 8 mi

total--19 miles

Friday was my last run of any significance. Next week I only have a couple of 3 mile runs until the race. Only running 3 miles feels very strange to me. I am barely in my running groove by that point, then to suddenly be done leaves me feeling a bit off kilter.

I was able to wear my orthotics on my 8 mile run without any problem. Looks like I will be using them for the race after all. I will have Pete hold onto my other inserts in case they start to cause me problems, I could switch them out. Check out my other blog here to hear about my last minute jitters.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Week Sixteen

Sept 28- Oct 4

Mon--8 mi
Wed--5 mi
Thurs--5 mi
Sat--9 mi

total--27 miles

My first taper week! Yeah!! I have to admit, it does feel like nothing to run 8 or 9 miles now. I feel faster now as well. I ran my 9 mile run in 81 minutes. I looked back thinking that was faster than before, but I guess it is the same. On my real long runs I was closer to a 10 min mile, so bumping back up to a 9 min mile feels so much faster.

I am slowly getting used to my orthotics. I can wear them all day now without them bothering me. I will try them out for runs next week. Still not sure if they will be of much help for my race though.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Week Fifteen

I treated myself to a pedicure after my 20 mile run. I was so embarrassed at how bad my feet looked!

Sept 21- 27th

Mon-- 8 mi
Wed-- 5 mi
Fri -- 20 miles

total- 33 miles

I skipped my short run on Sunday. I didn't feel like I had recovered enough from my 18 mile run 2 days before. Interestingly, my foot feels, for the most part, OK during my run, but hurts after. It then takes most of the week to get better, just in time for the next long run.

I survived the 20 mile run!! That is the last long run on my schedule. I will start tapering after this. I was certainly tired after the run, much more tired than after the 18 mile run. I am sure that is to be expected. When I first started this training, I would look at the 20 mile run and wonder if I would ever be able to do it. I would also think that after running 20 miles, 26.2 wouldn't be much different. Now that I am on this side of 20, they seem completely different! I mean, an extra 6.2 miles is another hour of running! I wonder if I should have chosen a training schedule that had a longer run in it. Woulda, coulda, shoulda...

My orthotics (finally!) came in. They hurt. Alot. It feels like walking around with a big rock in my shoe. I can barely walk in them, I can't imagine ever being able to run in them! I am going back to the podiatrist today to get them adjusted. If there is anyone more ready for this marathon to be behind me then my husband, it would be my podiatrist. At least he is getting paid to listen to my constant complaints of pain. Poor Pete is getting nothing out of it!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Week Fourteen

My view from my 13 mile mark

Sept 14- 20th

Sun-- 5 mi
Mon--8 mi
Wed--5 mi
Fri-- 18 miles

total--36 miles

I felt amazing on my 18 mile run!! My time was 2 hr 46 min, the exact same as my 17 mile run last week. I am not sure if that meant my mileage was a bit off, or if I ran faster. I did feel like I was running faster, but it may have been a little of both.

Still no orthotics! They are taking much longer then I was led to believe. I am not sure how helpful they will be for this marathon. My foot felt fine for the long run, but was hurting after. Up to 20 miles next week!