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!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Week Thirteen

Sept 7- 13th

Mon-- 8 mi
Tues-- 5 mi
Wed-- 5 mi
Fri-- 17 miles

total-- 35 miles

Whew! 17 miles! I really felt great. My time was 2 hr 46 min. I felt even better than last week when I ran 16 miles. My foot did not bother me at all on the run, the best it has ever been. I did have to stop at a porta potty , but no other issues.

Unfortunately my foot started hurting a bit the next day. I am approaching the 3 week mark since my last cortisone shot, so am concerned that it is wearing off. I just need to get through the next 2 weeks of training, then I back down on my mileage. If I can just get through that...

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Week Twelve

The trails I most like to run

August 31- September 6

Mon--5 mi
Tues-- 8 mi
Wed -- 25 min of hill training (2.5 mi)
Fri -- 16 mi

total--31.5 miles

I have had to change my training schedule slightly to do my long run on Fridays. Vincent has soccer every Sat at 9 am and I do not want to miss that. I thought about doing it on Sunday, but I don't want to be stressing about it all day on Sat, so Friday it is.

My 16 mile run went so much better than last week! I did my 8 mile run twice, that way I could refill my water bottles at home. As an aside, Pete was not waiting outside for me, so I was afraid he would worry that I didn't make it back. So I left my empty Luna Moons wrapper on the porch for him to find. Did he even notice it? No. He did worry and took off in the car looking for me. He went a different route though so never found me. God forbid I ever get kidnapped and try and leave him a clue! Anyway, I felt pretty good after my run, which I did in 2 hr and 36 min, 1 min faster than last week. At least I am consistent! No diarrhea ( I took imodium) and only minimal foot discomfort. Yay!! Next week, I am scheduled to do 17 miles.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Week Eleven

August 25-31

Mon-- 4 mi
Wed-- 7 mi
Thurs-- 4 mi
Sat-- 16 mi!!

total-- 31 miles

Yay!! I survived the 16 mile run. Barely. It was really tough. My foot held up fairly well, which was good. I ran out of water at about mile 10 and was so thirsty. All I could think about was how thirsty I was. I finally came across a lawn with the sprinklers on, and filled up my water bottles. Next week I will go out and hide some extra water on my course. My time was 2 hr 37 min. I took imodium before my run and it worked.

"What's wrong with Mommy? She won't get up!"

On Monday I got my third and final cortisone shot. My podiatrist is concerned that my "cuboid bone is now slipping", whatever that means. What it means is that I now have to lay down the big bucks for some custom made orthotics. The problem stems from my flat feet which grew and got looser over the course of having 4 babies. Just one more thing I can blame on my kids, along with flat boobs, darker hair, and varicose veins on my girly bits! Thanks boys!!

Getting casted for my orthotics. Now my podiatrist thinks I am a total loon for taking a picture while getting casted.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Week Ten

Aug 18- 24

Mon-- 4 mi
Wed-- 6 mi
Thurs-- 4.5 mi
Sat-- 14 miles

total--28.5 miles

The good news I felt MUCH better on the 14 mile run than I did at the NYC half marathon. I found something called Luna Sport Moons which I ate half way. So much better than the Gu or Sports gel which makes me want to vomit. My time was 2 hr 15 min. I really am disappointed at how slow I am.

Unfortunately after my run I had several hours of what my friend Suzie calls "side effects". I won't be vague. It is my blog therefore no such thing as too much information! I had horrible stomach cramps and diarrhea for several hours. What is up with that?!! I actually googled it and found all sorts of information on the so called "runner's trots". Remind me again why I'm doing this?!

On the foot front, I decided to put my SuperFeet orthotics back in my shoes. They were really bothering me (my Aunt Margie stated the sensation was like walking around with a tampon half hanging out. Yep, they are that irritating!), so I had called the podiatrist about some custom ones. I was told they ran about $500! Sooo, I am trying to make these things work. They left blisters on the arch of my good foot. Maybe my arches will toughen up. The plantar fasciitis is bothering me a little, but is tolerable. My podiatrist wants me to have one more cortisone shot, so I am scheduled to get that on Monday. Fun!!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Week Nine

August 11-17

Tues -- 6 mi
Wed -- 5 mi
Fri -- 5 mi
Sun -- 12 mi

total-- 28 miles

Overall I am feeling good. My heel pain is better, but not gone. I can feel it while running, but it is tolerable and does not affect my gait. For the most part I do not feel it while walking, unless I am walking bare foot on hard floors. I am afraid that when the cortisone shot wears off in the next week it will get worse again. Time will tell.

My 12 mile run I did in 1 hr 53 minutes. I had to estimate the mileage based on time since the batteries on my garmin are low and it is not tracking the mileage right. I ran out for 60 minutes then turned around. That is a bit slow for me, but the last 20minutes was uphill so I figured my pace was much slower than usual. If anything I may have run a bit more than 12 miles. I felt good the rest of the day, not sick like after the NYC half marathon! My long run next week is supposed to be 14 miles. I hope I can do it!!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Week Eight

August 4- 10

Mon-- 75 min on exercycle
Tues-- boot camp
Wed-- 20 min exercycle and 45 min spin class
Thurs--boot camp
Sun-- 11 miles!!!

total run- 11 miles

I started off the week with lots of cross training. My heel was a bit better, but I could still feel it while walking. If I felt it while walking, I was afraid to even consider running. On monday night I was doing a simple stretch and felt it pull again. I was in tears! The next morning it felt better, but not as good as it had felt. I went back to the podiatrist on Tuesday. He gave me another cortisone shot and said I might even need a third (and final) in a couple of weeks. Have I mentioned those things hurt?! By Saturday my heel felt great, but I was afraid to go out and run on it. Sunday it felt even better, so off I went. I felt great and strong while running! It felt so good to be out on the road again. I could feel the heel, but it was not bothersome and did not affect my running. In NYC I felt myself rolling on the outside of my foot while running. That was not the case at all this time. For some reason I did feel some pain in my right groin that started less then a mile into the run, similar to the pain I had before. Not sure what that was about. I completed the 11 miles in 1 hour 43 minutes. Not fast, but I did it!! I am crossing my fingers it continues to hold up and that my hip issue is not returning.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Week Seven

July 28- August 3

Wed-- 60 minutes on exercycle
Fri--- 45 min spin class
Sun-- 60 min on exercycle

After the half marathon, I was pretty sore all over. My foot did hurt more, but then quickly went back to the baseline pain I had prior to the run. Thankfully it does not seem like I messed it up more by running in NYC. I am hoping 2 weeks off will take care of the problem, then I can get back on my training schedule. I don't think I can afford to lose more then that. Riding the exercycle at the gym is incredibly boring. I am not sure how much of that I can take!!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Week Six

My new night brace-- much more comfortable

July 21- 27th

Tues- 45 minutes on exercycle
Wed- 45 minute spin class
Sun- 13.1 mile NYC half marathon

Not sure how to classify the cycling. A 45 minute run for me is about 5- 5.5 miles, so I guess it is equivalent to that. I did make it through the half marathon, but am continuing to have pain. Read the details of the race here. My time was 2 hr and 7 min. Not bad considering I was on crutches a week prior, was having heel pain during the run, and had to stop once at mile 5 for diarrhea! I was really hoping to break 2 hr, and probably would have had the circumstances been different. I am grateful that I was able to finish. We will see what the next 2 weeks brings for me in terms of pain.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Week Five

July 14- July 20th

Mon- -4 mi
Wed--5 mi
Thurs--2 mi plus boot camp
Sat-- 3 miles---> my heel went out!

14 miles :-(

My plantar fasciitis had been pretty stable. On Friday I went to a push therapy session and it felt great after! Better then it had felt in weeks. I woke up Saturday still feeling really good, so decided to go for an 11 mile run in preparation for the NYC half marathon the following week. I had essentially no pain when I took off running. Then 3 miles into my run I felt a sudden sharp burning pain in my heel. I stopped and tried to stretch it out. I tried to run again and I could not. I called Pete and he had to come pick me up. I was unable to bear weight and had to use crutches the rest of the day. I iced it, took lots of motrin and started some prednisone.

On Monday I went first to a highly recommended sports medicine doctor. She told me I partially tore off my plantar fascia, no running for 3- 4 weeks, keep treating it the way I am. She also admitted that feet were not her specialty and that I may want to check in with a podiatrist. I left her office in tears. I then called the podiatrist. He said I did not tear it, it was just very inflamed. He gave me a cortisone shot (ouch!) and told me if it felt better, I could run the half marathon still. Sigh... What to do. It now feels 90% better and I am walking without a limp. Of course I want to believe the podiatrist. I will play it by ear. In the meantime I am icing, taking motrin and wearing a splint to bed at night.

Looks comfy huh? It sucks. I found a more comfortable that I am going to buy tomorrow and try out.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Week Four

July 7th- 13th

Mon--4 mi
Wed--5 mi
Thurs--3 miles plus boot camp
Sat--10 miles

22 miles

My time for the 10 mile run was 93 minutes. I feel like I should be going faster then I do. It was a very hilly run though, so maybe that is the deal. My heel did not bother me at all during the run, but I felt it after. If I can keep the pain at this very tolerable level I should be fine! Pete went out and did the exact same run when I got home but did it in 72 minutes. Stinker! Only 2 more weeks until the NYC half marathon. Yay!!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Week Three

June 29 th- July 6th

Tues--4 mi
Wed--5 mi
Fri--1.5 mi
Sat--8.5 mi

19 miles

Friday, July 4th was our neighborhood fun run, hence the very short distance. I am quite a competitive person so I felt the need to run that as fast as I could. As I was turning a corner I turned my ankle and did one of those slow motion stumbles, but actually caught myself before hitting the pavement at a full run. I did have a sore and slightly swollen ankle for a few days after, but nothing that prevented me from continuing to run (and kick butt in my age category! So what if there was only about 10 others in my category. It is the win that counts!).

I felt great on my 8.5 mile run and completed it in 75 minutes.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Week Two

This week my friend Suzie was in town. She joined me on my 6 mile run. It was beautiful and we had a great run!

Week 2 (June 23-29) --19 miles
Mon- 4 mi
Wed - 4 mi
Fri- 5 mi
Sun- 6 mi

I felt great on the 6 mile run. No hip pain at all! But now I am having some mild plantar fasciitis pain in the right heel. Ugh!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Week One

My love of running started in 1985. My family had just moved from Washington down to Southern California. It was the summer before my senior year in high school and I did not know anyone. I began to run with my aunts who were runners and did many 10k races those first few years. I have been running off and on since, but mostly on. In all that time I have never run a marathon. I have never even had a desire to run one until this year. This year I will running the Nike Women's Marathon in San Francisco on October 19, 2008.

I have just completed my first official week of training. One down, 17 weeks to go. I just completed a 2 week running hiatus in attempt to get over a hip problem I have been having. Between the running break and physical therapy, I am feeling pretty good!!

Week 1 (June 16-22)

Tues-- 4 mi
Thurs-- 3 mi
Fri-- 5 mi
Sun--5 mi

17 miles