Sunday, February 28, 2010

If it's broken, you have to fix it

I sprained my ankle a week ago running a half marathon. Right at the beginning I twisted it on some cobblestone. Then I ran 13.1 miles on it. Ok, maybe 12.5 miles. I ran low miles twice last week. It felt ok on the treadmill.

Yesterday, I ran the Cowtown 10K. I was looking forward to running a 10K because the last one I ran was long and not chip timed. The one before that was 9 degrees. I knew I was capable of running a sub-55:00 and I wanted that on record.

I ran Cowtown as hard as I could. Brick roads. Crap. I twisted an already tender ankle, again. I ran the rest of it in pain, but knew I was going to beat that 55:00. And I did. I ran a great race, albeit a stupid race, but it was good. I finished in 53:58, a PR and 20th in my age group. Not too bad for a big race.

My marathon plan had me running 14 miles today, my longest run ever to date. I met one of the gals who is also training for OKC at the running club. Right of the bat, each step was a sharp pain up my leg. Maybe it will go away. Mile 8, I have to run down hill. I had to walk it. It hurt. My buddy got really tired at mile 10 and told me to go on. I wanted to get done, so I went on.

Another friend of mine caught up with me at mile 11. She kept my mind off my pain and kept me going until 12 when she was done. I had to go out for another one mile and back. I hit 13 turned to go back and another buddy saw me. He said, "You must have raced Cowtown yesterday, I've never seen you run at this slow of a pace."

Ok, not only did my stupid ankle hurt, now my damn ego hurt. He didn't mean anything by it, he just knew I was not performing at 100 percent. I was hurting and it showed. I knew I wasn't performing at 100 percent but I didn't want to admit it. That was no one's fault but my own. I finished that 14 miles in 2:19:00. A 9:57 min/mile. It was ugly.

I spent the next several minutes talking to a lot of my buddies at RAW. They showed me good stretches to do, because now my damn IT band hurts because I changed my stride in an effort to get pressure of my ankle. They convinced me that I wasn't going to lose my base by laying off this week.

Lesson learned--again, the hard way. I can't wish this away or pretend that it doesn't hurt or keep crying about it. If it's broken, I have to fix it. And that means sitting on the sidelines for a few days. I may get on the stationary bike, but I'm not running. I may do a little walking.

I've worked too darn long and hard to kiss OKC Marathon goodbye for simply not listening. But just like running, this is mind over matter. I need to keep my goal in mind. It's not the little races before then, it's completing a marathon. And to do that, I need to be at 100 percent. Anything less is not acceptable.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The first number starts with a "1"

Half marathon number 4: The Stonebridge Half Marathon...and I wanted the first number to start with a "1" so badly.

I ran Austin last week with a 5-min PR of 2:05:41. I later found out I ran it with bronchitis. I knew I could do better. So today, Feb. 21, 2010, was my chance. I knew going into this that a 6-minute PR would be hard, but doable. My training pace had been around 9:20 min/mile. With the right course and conditions, I could do it.

The course was good. A few hills, but certainly NOTHING compared to Austin last week. A decent hill at mile 4 and a few others, but really nothing that I haven't trained on.

The conditions were not good. Right off the bat, I twisted my ankle on this stupid stamped concrete that looks like cobble stone. It started raining at mile 4 a little. At first it was nice, cooled me down. Just a light drizzle. Then the downpour hit! And I mean Texas sized gully washer! Certainly this can't last long. They never do in Texas....except today.

My pace had been dead on until...

Mile 8: Lightening. Thunder. Questioning my sanity. But what am I going to do? Can't go back. Not anywhere near the finish line. I'm soaking wet. My shoes must weigh 5 pounds each. I have a river going in between my toes. Only thing to do is press on.

Mile 10: Hail. Ok, this hurts. I turn to the guy next to me, "This is by far the stupidest thing I have ever done." He told me that he's 1 mile from his house. I nearly invited myself to a stranger's house. Well, only 3 more miles. That's a 5K. I'm slower, but I think I can PR this beast.

Finish line: Guess what, the rain lets up with .25 miles to go. Just my luck. But if I kick it up, I'm going to see that first number be a "1".

1:59:49 - I did it! I broke the 2-hour mark. Damn, this feels good. REALLY, REALLY good! I seriously never thought I would see this at my 4th half marathon.

I started reflecting on how far I've come:
Nov. 7, 2009 - First half marathon 2:11:46
Dec. 13, 2009 - Second half marathon 2:09:41
Feb. 14, 2010 - Third half marathon 2:05:41
Feb. 21, 2010 - Fourth half marathon 1:59:49

I'm starting to wonder if adversity and a challenge is what drives me to perform. God forbid I have nice weather for RnR Dallas on March 14.

Of course, my running partner Bojana ran this with me. And we agreed, we're either hard core or crazy. Or a little both.

I also had the chance to Tweet up @asianstyleguy and @libbyruns at the race. And big special thanks to @AprilBRuns for her volunteer work at mile 4!

Race details
This is a small race, a little under 200 people. But the PlayTri group is fantastically organized. Always enough water and volunteers on the course. And God bless those volunteers who also had to brave the weather.

The course takes you through the neighborhoods of Stonebridge Ranch. Nice houses and a little canal to by (although I swear I ran through it). It was a nice change of running through city streets.

Not a lot of bells and whistles, got a nice medal and a long-sleeved shirt. The race was priced right at $60 (got a $5 discount through my running group, so $55 for me).

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The blind squirrel finds its nut

--Update 2/15/10 Went to Doc, I have bronchitis. I ran this race with bronchitis--

I just came off of a really crazy week--been fighting and denying a cold for the past week, had the busiest and most challenging work week of my career, North Texas got 12.5 inches of snow in 24 hours (the most ever in recorded history). And I had to run a half marathon on Valentine's Day in Austin.

I was really looking forward to this race for several reasons: 1) It's Austin 2) I was running as part of Team Athletes Honey Milk 3) OMG a weekend with my husband sans child 4) Bojana was running with me.

I have been training really hard. I have never felt more prepared for a race. But then my cold got worse. Despite Airborne, Odwalla C Monsters 4 times a day and lots of meds, I was getting worse. Then Thursday's snow storm knocked out our power. I woke up Friday without a voice and my house was 40 degrees. Friday, my husband says, "You think you can run Austin?" Come hell or high water, I was going to Austin. I told my husband, I'll finish even if I have to walk the last half, I'm going to finish and I'm going to have fun. I needed this race, not for a PR, but for some sanity for all the crazy stuff going on in my life.

On Saturday, my husband drops me off at the Expo and I had the chance to meet up with the Team Athletes Honey Milk folks! We all know each other from Twitter and, of course, have a passion for running and Athletes Milk--@jaker @andersp @runningcouple @acokertx @krysteilen @celluloidcinema.

Sunday 4:30 a.m. I wake up before my alarm. I had coughed the entire night. My nose is stuffy and I'm feeling pretty crappy. Not going to let it ruin my day. I'm not giving up that easy. I've worked too damn long and hard. Sudafed, Advil, Airborne, C Monster, bagel and a coffee. Ok, I'm ready to run.

Headed to the start line and met Anders, Jake and Bojana. Here goes nothing. I'm feeling a little better, but I know it's masked by the meds and adrenaline. I get to around mile 1 and I hear Taiko drummers. And I smiled. It's Chinese New Year!

Before I knew it, I was at mile 5. Really? Already? Rolling hills, eh, not bad. I hit 10K - 55 minutes. Wow. I could PR this thing. Doing ok, but then I get to mile 8. Legs feel good. Chest tightens. It's hard to breathe. I start coughing. I can't stop. I had cough drops, but I threw my coat off at the start line and they were in my coat. Crap. Ok, let's have some Gu.

Mile 8, pace is slower. But I can still PR. Mile 10, WHO THE HELL PUT THAT BEAST OF A HILL THERE? Really not funny. I heard a guy to my left coaching his friend, "What goes up must come down." This hill is short. I can do this.

Mile 11, Hi Anders! Oh ok, video. I think I said something like, "I feel like crap." Glad he caught that on film.

Mile 12, long steady. I can do this. Mile 12-something. OUCH. THIS HILL IS EVEN WORSE. This is a hill I've only seen in San Francisco. I realize I'm running it slower than I can just walk it. So I walk it. At the top, deep breath, let's go. We're at the Capitol. I can hear the crowd. Time to push it, less than a 1/2 mile to go. Hey, it's Heath from my running club there to cheer on Danyah! I think I said, "Hey babe." Ooops. I was looking for my husband and thinking about when I would see him. Hell it's Valentine's Day.

The finish line, I'm about to cry. I WILL PR!!! I sprinted faster than I ever have in my life. 2:05:40 -- a 4 minute, 1 second PR. And with a cold. I found Christian and he asked me how I felt, "Like crap. My chest is so tight. It's hard to breathe." But who cares I PRed!

I didn't drive the race ahead of time because I didn't want to stress and worry. I didn't look at my Garmin too much for fear that my times were slow. I went into this blind, which just proves that every now and then, the blind squirrel finds it's nut.

Watch Anders cool video here