Feb 17, 2015

My Life Lately...

February started off with the Surf City Half Marathon on 2/1/15 and then it seems like things have really been all over the place since then. While my knee continues to approve, my hip bursitis flared back up after my half marathon and I have just been taking it one day at a time. Work has been crazy busy and I feel like I have really been earning my paychecks lately. I love my job but the first time in a log time, I have been feeling a little overwhelmed to the point where I just want to come home and relax and not go for a run. I never thought I would be saying that but I am so mentally exhausted some days that all I can think of is just throwing on my sweats and laying on the couch with my dogs! These fur babies really bring me a sense of peace when I need it. 

Lets move on to something more positive. If you follow me on Instagram then you know that my son has been on a quest to lose a little bit of weight and he has started running on a regular basis. This meant changing his diet and adding more exercise to his daily routine. He is actually training for his first 5K in April and has been doing quite well. The truth is that he doesn't really like running all that much but he has found himself challenged by it. He can run up to 2.5 miles now and his pace is also improving. We tell him that he does not need to really focus on the pace because that is the least important aspect of reaching his goal. I find myself wanting to run with him because I am so impressed by his progress and I want to be a part his goal. I also work at keeping him motivated and feeling proud of himself. 
He has also dropped about 11 pounds and feels really good about that. He signed up for AYSO soccer this season which also help him improve his fitness. We are really proud of him to say the least.
I guess you can say that I am not giving up on running but I am just learning to accept the obstacles that are thrown my way without stressing out too much. Other than Ragnar So Cal in April, I am glad that I do not have any races on my schedule until May. This will allow me some time to think about how I will approach my race. My hopes are that I will be well and ready for my November marathon where I would really like to set some goals.

How has 2015 been treating you so far?

When is your next race?

Feb 2, 2015

2/1/15: Surf City Half Marathon (Half Marathon #20)

This makes half marathon #20 for me. I can't believe that I have ran 20 of these darn things! After seeing the new Beach Cities Challenge medal I decided to sign up for this race at the last minute. I swear I will do just about anything for some nice bling. I have one more race to run in the series before this bad boy is mine!

As I mentioned in my last post, I have a cyst in my left knee that has been causing me all kinds of running problems and pain. I have been in physical therapy for two months and I know that I have lost my endurance and the ability to run at the paces I have in the past. My running confidence has been in the dumps but I knew that I had to pull myself out of this funk and just go and run a race.

I went to the expo on Saturday morning right around the time it opened. There were no lines so we were in and out of there in no time at all. The long sleeved shirts were really nice this year so I has to put in on a take a fun picture with my running buddy!
I had no idea how this race was going to turn out. I didn't want to set any goals for this race because I didn't want to put any pressure on myself and I didn't want to be disappointed either. My other half asked me what my plans were and I told him that I would be lucky to cross the finish line in two hours. Having said that, this is how it went.

I ran this race back in 2013 and I made all kinds of weird mistakes. I wasn't sure if I was ever going to run it again but the medal made me do it! This is a local race for me and the half marathon starts at 7:45 am which means that I can still wake up an hour later than I do to go to work to make it to the race on time.

I woke up at 5:00 am and left the house by 5:45 am. There was no traffic but the parking for this race is kind of crazy. Most of the parking is taken by the marathoners since the marathon starts at 6:30 am versus 7:45 am for the half. Parking is basically on residential streets and you have to walk about a half mile to get to the start. All of the streets were full by the time we arrived but I got lucky and a resident who was parked in front of his house happened to be leaving. He was not happy about all of the parking on his street.

We made our way to the host hotel and used the bathroom and hung out until about 10 minutes before the start. There were so many runners in one place. It was awesome to see all of them from the balcony of the host hotel.
It was 55 degrees at the start with the sun out and shining brightly. I started in the 2:00 hour corral and just ran my own race. I wore my Garmin but told myself not to stare at it but just to find that comfortable pace and stick with it. The first 6 miles flew right by and right around Mile 7 my knee started to feel a little off. I slowed down a little but kept going. It was right around Mile 10 that my knee really started to bother me so I started walking through the water stops from this point on and I slowed down a lot too.

The last 5 miles of the race were tough. It is a straight 5 mile shot to the finish while facing the sun the entire time without any shade whatsoever. I don't wear sunglasses when I run so this part of the course always gets to me. My visor did not do much good and I was feeling pretty warm out there. There were definitely those moments that I felt like giving up but I just told myself to suck it up, run a comfortable pace and finish the darn race. This race was definitely not about the time. It was really about finishing and gaining some confidence back that I have lost over the last few months.

I did better than I expected to and I am grateful that I was able to finish the race. This was also a course PR for me by a whole 6 seconds!! Woohoo! I finished in 1:53:20 (8:39 average pace) and earned my cute little surfboard medal.

After I race I spotted Emily (Haute Chocolate Runner) who I met on Instagram. I went over to introduce myself and chat for a little bit. The girl ran another BQ and is pretty humble about it. She is super nice and I am glad I had the chance to finally meet this pretty lady in person. She didn't even look like she just ran a marathon. I was a sweaty mess from just running the half!

After chatting with Emily for a while, I took my son to play in the ocean. He had a blast with my running buddy who also ran the half marathon! This was his treat for waking up early and waiting for me to finish the race.

I didn't bring any clothes to change into so I just wet my feet a little and then watched them from a distance...and played on my phone.

Anybody else run Surf City? 

Tell me about your race :)

Jan 25, 2015

I Finally Have Some Answers!

I finally have some answers as to what is causing the pain in my left knee. I am also relieved that I don't have what I would consider an "injury" that I brought on by running or doing something dumb. I am very grateful that nothing is torn and all ligaments and tendons appear to be intact. I have what is called a Baker's cyst behind my knee. This is basically what it is:


What is a Baker's cyst?

Baker's cyst is a pocket of fluid that forms a lump behind the knee. A Baker's cyst is caused when excess joint fluid is pushed into one of the small sacs of tissue behind the knee. When this sac fills with fluid and bulges out, it is called a cyst. The excess fluid is usually caused by conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis that irritate the knee. It may also be caused by an injury. Sometimes the pocket of fluid behind the knee can tear open and drain into the tissues of the lower leg. This can cause swelling and redness in that part of the leg. A Baker's cyst may go away on its own. If a cyst does not go away, or if it is causing a lot of pain, your doctor may drain the fluid with a needle. (source)

I have been in physical therapy for two months now and it seems to be helping. My doctor is hoping that the cyst will shrink on it's own or else he will have to drain it. I am trying to avoid that because I hate needles. I am thinking that I will have another MRI to confirm that the cyst is shrinking or if the pain goes away then I will know that it has and it will not be necessary.
I have been able to run while in physical therapy because I have not had pain while running. There are times that I still have the knee pain but it is always the day after. I also noticed that running hills also irritates my knee so I am trying to avoid hills as much as possible. I am going to continue to run but I have to take it easy for a while since anything over a 9:00 pace seems to trigger the pain the next day.

Running has been different lately. It hasn't been about pace at all but simply being grateful to run and accepting it for what it is. Having said that, I have decided that I am going to run the Surf City Half Marathon on Superbowl Sunday. I am thinking about completing the Beach Cities Challenge again because the medal is super nice.
I am not sure what to expect and I am going into this without a time goal. I know it will not be a PR but I will set a goal to finish the race. I know that I will get back to running the paces that I was before this knee problem so I have accepted that and I am looking forward to getting back into it when my time is right.

Who else is running Surf City next Sunday?

Half or Full Marathon?

Jan 11, 2015

1/10/15: Citrus Heritage Run Half Marathon

So I finished my first race of 2015 but the truth is that I almost didn't. I had all intentions of running this race but as race day approached I started feeling like I didn't have it in me to finish it. The longest distance I had ran in the last couple of months was 9.5 miles and those miles were at a really easy pace due to my knee issue. I do have some answers on that but I will talk about that in another post.

I woke up on race day and told my other half that I wasn't going. He said "Yes you are. Get ready. Just treat this as a training run and do what you can." I figured that he was right so I got dressed and out the door we went.

I ran this half last year and I really liked it. It is a local race, offers same day bib pick-up, long sleeved shirts, super nice medal, free parking, real bathrooms and a course is a little challenging. It is a small race but it is well organized and I think I only paid a $50 registration fee for signing up right after I ran it last year. The race director happens to run with my running club so I wanted to support her as well by signing up.

Bib pick-up started at 6:30 am so we arrived right at 6:30 am. I picked up my bib and my shirt and then went back and sat in my car since it was 46 degrees.  The parking is super close to the start so it was nice to actually be able to go back to the car and stay warm until it was time for the race to start.

The event offers a 5K and a half marathon. The half marathon started at 7:30 am and the 5K started at 8:30 am. I saw Megan when I arrived at the start and then I lost her. I started towards the back of the pack and once I started running I spotted Megan. She was running faster than I had planned on running so it took me a bit to finally catch up to her. The girl is getting faster and I can see that she is become a stronger runner! We stayed together for 12 miles of the race and talked the entire time. It was nice catching up with her and having some company. This girl is down to earth and is the real deal so I kind of like her.

I think it was right around Mile 7 that Megan noticed that we were about .4 miles ahead of the mile markers. I thought someone had moved one of the mile markers but I found this out after the race. 
Last year I picked the race up at exactly 13.1 and the course was the same this year so the extra distance kind of messed up our time. I guess we did better than we thought we did :) Megan had already ran a few miles before the race to get her marathon training miles in so we were both decided to stay in comfortable mode. The course is challenging but I like that it offers all different types of terrain. We ran in the dirt, trail, sidewalks and streets so mixing things up was kind of nice.

The last 2 miles of the race are a straight stretch and I just wanted to be done. I ran the last mile or so of the race on my own to see what I had left in the tank. I counted about 8 runners directly ahead of me and I told myself to try and pass as many of them as I could. This kept me distracted and helped me get to the finish. It felt good to finish the race strong.

I finished in 2:07:18 but with the extra distance I think my overall pace was a little better than 9:43.

My Garmin shows the following so I am going with this :)

The spinning medal is so nice! I am so glad that I decided to run this race because I was able to run it with a friend and sometimes that is better than a PR! Thank you Megan for letting me tag along and putting things in perspective. I will definitely be back to run this race again next year.

Have you ran any races in 2015?

What is your favorite distance?