Mar 30, 2014

And I Ran...

Running has not been my favorite subject to talk about lately. It is a great topic when you are able to run and everything is going as planned but as you know, that has not been the case for me. The past few weeks have been tough since I have pretty much kissed my goal race goodbye. I have lost three weeks of training and my confidence level is pretty low at this point. I really have to think about how I am going to approach this race. I want to make the smartest choice so I need some time to digest all of this.

On a positive note, I ran this week. It was only a few miles, but I ran. This is better than nothing and the miles were pain free. 
The hip pain seems to be gone and I hope that it does not return. I have been doing all of the things that you great people have recommended to me. I have been icing, foam rolling and doing lots of different stretches which have helped a lot. 
Ragnar Relay is this coming Friday and I really want to run it. I don't have a lot of miles so I think if I keep the pace super easy then I might be okay. I have 12 miles to run and I think I can handle that. Thankfully we run this race for fun and we will be wearing tutus because #tutusrock! 

Who else is running Ragnar So Cal?
It looks like the weather is going to be great this year! Last year it was so hot so I am looking forward to the cooler weather!

Mar 23, 2014

Trying to Stay Positive

I have been avoiding blogging lately because I don't want to come here and be super negative because who wants to hear all of that! I am finally coming to terms with what all of this may mean for me so I guess I should talk about it. Life is not always perfect so here it goes..

This past week was probably one of the toughest weeks that I have had in a long time. Why? Because I did not run a single mile! After trying out a new pair of neutral shoes, I developed a bad pain in my hip that kind of radiated to my IT Band. The hip pain has gotten a lot better but the IT Band pain is still there and it has this weird burning sensation. I don't think that I have ever felt that before. I have to say that it was the shoes because I did not have this pain until after I ran in them. It is amazing how shoes can make such a difference in your running!

On a positive note, I think I may have found my Wave Inspire 9's that I have been desperately searching for. Since they are no longer made, I figured that if a website didn't have my size then they were no longer a future prospect for me. It turns out that was showing my size on their website on Friday night when they had not in the past. The website allowed me to buy two pair so I did. I just need an email confirming my order so I know that this is actually going to happen. The last two stores that claimed to have my shoes did not. After placing my order, they sent me emails stating that their inventory was incorrect and they refunded my money. Amazon seems to get more sizes in on a regular basis but they never seem to have my size. I think they had it once and when I went to buy it, it was no longer available. 
I did hop on the elliptical for 45 minutes on Friday and that was doable. I had no pain but it was painful to be on that treadmill staring all of the runners on the treadmills in front of me. I think they need to put one elliptical for me somewhere in the corner facing the wall for the time being lol!
I have been icing, foam rolling and most of all crying NOT running. Not being able to run is the hardest especially now that the weather has decided to cool down. We have had perfect running weather for the past week and that kills me even more. 
I am really worried about my two races that are coming up in the next couple of weeks. I Ragnar So Cal in a couple of weeks and I don't want to let my team down. I won't run through this pain so hopefully something changes before then. I only have 12 miles to run so that is the positive thing but I need to be able to run. I won't do anything stupid! I also have my goal BQ race on May 25th. I am thinking that is probably not going to happen now since I have lost two weeks of very critical training and the race is just 8 weeks away. I am hoping to be there but will definitely have to adjust my goals and possibly find another marathon to target at a later time. I am hoping to be able to run next week but if not, I will have to sit down and figure all of this out. THIS SUCKS! Sorry, I had to say that...

In the meantime, I am trying to stay as positive as I possibly can and hopefully my family won't move out of the house to avoid me and my mood swings!

How do you stay positive when you are injured?

Mar 16, 2014

The Week After and the Shoe Dilemma Continues

I haven't done much at all this week in the running department. This week was spent resting and recovering and trying to get my thoughts together. The most important thing for me was finding a pair of shoes! I was not able to find my beloved Mizuno Wave Inspire 9's so that has been a big issue for me. The pair that I wore for the LA Marathon can no longer be used for running. They have over 400 miles on them and they were not very comfortable during the LA Marathon. 

I got fitted for new running shoes and was told that I should go with neutral shoes. When I started running back in 2010, I was wearing neutral shoes but after my injury in 2012, I was told that I should try stability shoes. Now I am heading back into neutral shoes and hoping for the best. I am trying out the Brooks Ghost 6. I ran in them for the first time today and did 3.1 easy miles with my other half.
They felt different and I swear that everything was hurting but we will see how I feel tomorrow. My other half got some new running shoes too. He is now running in the Mizuno Wave Inspire 10's and he like them a lot. I am so jealous of him right now. I guess the 10's work for him but not for me.
I didn't really miss running this week because of my shoes and my calf issue. I am actually a little nervous about running in different shoes because I am afraid of what will happen since I had issues when I tried the new model of my Mizunos. The calf pain is still lingering around and if it doesn't go away real soon I am going to have it checked out. I know it is not normal and it bothers me. My goal race is right around the corner and I don't want to go into this race with this hanging over my head. 
My next event is Ragnar So Cal on April 4-5 so I am glad that I do not have the pressure of a big race hanging over my head until May. I don't have a lot of miles for the relay so I am thankful that I didn't challenge myself with too many miles. My team runs this for fun so there is no pressure in the pace department either :)

Anyone else running Ragnar So Cal? 
What is your team name name/number and what time do you start?

My team number is 57 (Runners High) and we start at 6:45 am.

Mar 13, 2014

ASICS LA Marathon: 3/9/14

The LA Marathon was my fifth marathon and my first big race with over 25,000 runners! I would also have to say that it was my most difficult marathon both physically and mentally. For the past few weeks I have been struggling with pain in my calf and shin which returns after every run. It all leads back to my shoe issues but that is whole different story. I had doubts that I would even be able to run this race. I didn't want to do anything dumb and end up feeling worse yet at the same time I did not want to settle for a DNS if I could still run. I thought about it for the week leading up the to race and decided that if I could run at a decent pace on the Thursday before the race and be pain free on race day then I would go for it. This was able to run 5 Miles@8:30 pace on the Thursday before the race which was encouraging.

I talked about it with my other half and he told me that I should run it and not be arrogant and worry about my time. I told him that I can accept a time that is not within my goal range but I did not want to be out on the course for 5-6 hours struggling in the heat that was expected on race day. The course is a point to point so getting back to the Start would not be easy so I had to really think about it. I knew that I could not get my money back for the race or my hotel room so I really wanted to run the race even if I did not finish it.

We checked into the hotel and immediately headed to the expo to pick up my bib and and to see the famous wall with all of the names of the runners. The expo was not all that great for such a big race. I did not buy anything and did not stay for very long at all.

There was still a 5o/50 chance that I would run. My niece and her friend were also running the marathon so we headed out there together. I was still going to go and cheer them on even if I decided not to run. We went to dinner together and boy did we carb load! I haven't had a cupcake from Sprinkles in a long time so it tasted pretty good!
We talked about our race plans for the next day and the plan was that I would call my niece and her friend in the morning and let them know what I was going to do. Our hotel offered shuttle service to and from the race so we were planning to catch the shuttle at 5:45 am. The seeded corrals closed at 7:00 am so I needed to be there on time.
I did not sleep well that night because my mind and thoughts were all over the place. I was also nervous about the time change. I set my alarm but wasn't sure that my phone was going to cooperate. The clock in the hotel was not going to change and upon check in the front desk gave us a memo telling us not to rely on the clocks inside the rooms. I must have woken up every hour to compare the time on my phone to the time on the hotel clock. I woke up at 3:30 am and never went back to sleep. I stayed in bed for an hour thinking and decided that I was going to run the marathon and just accept the outcome no matter what. 

I called my niece and told them the plan and when it was time to head down they were not ready. I ended up catching the shuttle alone because I didn't want to be late and get shut out of my corral. It was a short walk to the get to the shuttle bus and the line was pretty long. It took about 20 minutes to get on a bus and there was standing room only. 
The race was just a few miles away so the ride was quick but crazy. The bus what about half way to Dodger Stadium when a car cut the bus off and the driver slammed on the brakes! Those who were standing lost their balance and pretty much fell into the person next to them. The man next to me slammed into my back and stepped on my foot so hard I wanted to scream.

The bus arrived at Dodger Stadium around 6:30 am. The lines for the porta potties were so long so I decided to skip the bathroom and head straight to the security check since it closed at 6:45 am. There were so many people and it took me a while to figure out where the seeded corrals were located. 
I was in Corral B and it was not crowded at all. One could easily find a spot to sit, stretch and eat until it was race time. Once I found my corral, I sat and ate my bagel. I said a prayer before the race and left it in His hands. Before I knew it the wheels chairs were off, the Elites were off and then it was everyone else.

The race starts in Dodger's Stadium so the first .40 miles are at an incline. Once you exit the stadium there is a short downhill and then a series of never ending climbs with small areas of flat roads in between. Some of the climbs were steep and some of the climbs were gradual but lasted for a while. If hills were not a big part of your training, it was going to be tough race for you! So yes, it was tough for me. I won't lie to you!

Mile 1: 8:30 (very crowded)
Mile 2:8:02
Mile 3: 8:34
Mile 4: 8:37

It did not help that the weather was 57 at the Start and about 85 at the Finish. I have never ran in this type of weather so I was really nervous about it. I ran into Monica at Mile 2 and we ran together and chatted about the race and the weather for about a bit. I looked at my Garmin and our pace was 7:45 so I told Monica to have a great race because I knew I could not keep up with her. The weather wasn't bad at all for the first half of the race so I had this crazy idea that I would try to maintain an average pace of 8:35-8:40 until the weather dictated otherwise. I was feeling good and only had minimal pain on the inclines. The hills at Mile 4-5 were a little tough but didn't last too long.

Mile 5: 8:49 ( hill)
Mile 6:8:55 (another hill-crap!)
Mile 7: 8:23
Mile 8: 8:31

I basically ran the course according to the elevation. When it was flat or downhill, I used that to make up for the times on the uphill. I did not push myself too much the first half since I knew that I would pay for it in the end. This was the first race that I did not wear my hydration belt which was a big change for me. The course had water every mile so I carried my hand held and refilled it as needed. The course was scenic and there was tons of course support which included the media, cheerleaders, Mickey Mouse, the Pope, hot dogs, oranges, pretzels, Vaseline and drag queens. The course support is the most amazing part of the LA Marathon!

Mile 9: 8:31
Mile 10: 8:28
Mile 11: 8:40 (refilled my water bottle)
Mile 12: 8:28
Mile 13: 8:45
Mile 14: 8:43

I knew that Mile 15 was going to give us a break since it was downhill so I could hardly wait. I needed a small break at this point and it felt great to not see a climb ahead. I swear that all of the mile markers were sitting on top of hills when you spotted them.

Mile 15: 8:16 (downhill!)
Mile 16: 8:33
Mile 17: 8:59 (gradual uphill climb)
Mile 18: 8:51 (gradual uphill climb)

Right after Mile 18, the heat was really starting to set in and I was stopping at every water station to drink and wet my head to stay cool. Shade was scarce so things started to get tough right about this point in the race. I knew that it was time to bring the pace down because I knew that I could no longer maintain sub 9 miles in the heat without crashing.

Mile 19: 9:00
Mile 20: 8:59
Mile 21: 9:29 (uphill and hot)

At Mile 20, I realized that I could run 10:00 miles and still come in under 4 hours and I was good with that. It was hot, I was tired so I told myself that I could ease off a little bit but no walking! 

Mile 22: 9:54 (uphill, hot and serious calf pain..oh crap)
Mile 23: 9:57 (worst, tired, salty mess, painful, losing hope and all of that good stuff
Mile 24: 9:48

Change of plans! At this point I had to stop and walk even though I didn't want to. The hills were becoming more painful and it was just getting tough out there. I massaged my calf and kept on walking for about a minute or so until the pain lessened. I really wanted to quit but I was so close to the Finish. I saw a friend of mine who was supporting his running group and he gave me that extra push to keep on going. Thank God I saw him. His wife later told me that he said I looked very focused. I guess he was being nice.

From Mile 24 on, the course starts to head downhill but I couldn't really feel it until about Mile 25. I had a good talk with myself, pulled myself together and sucked it up. I knew that I was not going to be done until I hit 26.45 miles because I did not run the tangents properly. I tacked on an extra .25 miles by dodging back and forth to find the shade. This probably cost me a couple of minutes but I had to do what I had to do to survive out there.

Mile 25: 9:15
Mile 26: 8:53
.45 (8:19)

I finished in 3:53:40. That finish line never looked so good! It was not a PR but I was not disappointed with my time since I was secretly praying hoping for a 4:00-4:15 finish. I did my best on what I would not consider an easy course for me. Lots of runners had a hard time out there due to the heat so I have a lot of respect for every single one of  them who went any distance of the the LA Marathon! It was really about hanging on and finishing the race and not about the time for most of us.
The medal is really nice and I feel like I really earned it more than any other medal that I own. Running a big race is a tremendous experience! The crowd support is awesome and the event is very well organized. This is a perfect race for a first time marathoner. This marathon taught me what mental toughness is all about. It taught me how to push myself when the conditions are not ideal.  I will take these lessons with me to my goal race in May to push myself to fight for that BQ!

Did you run the LA Marathon this year? Any other year?

Mar 3, 2014

February Recap and My Goal for LA Marathon

These past two weeks have been tough. My whole ordeal with finding shoes has really put a damper for the past two weeks. The pain that I have been having in both my right shin and my left calf are still there and I am not sure where the pain is coming from. I don't feel the pain once I get going on a run but sometimes it takes a while to get into my run and it has been frustrating. It has also been raining her in So Cal so I have been doing most of my runs on the treadmill which I didn't really want to do either. I made it through February with 123 miles since I missed my long run last week. I should have come closer to 140 miles if I would have completed all of my scheduled runs.
On Friday, I just need a good run. It was raining and I headed to the gym for an hour run on the treadmill. It was painful in the beginning but once I got going the pain was gone. It felt good to have a decent run since I have been scaling most of runs back my decreasing the pace.
I am still going to run the LA Marathon but unfortunately I have to go into this race with no big goal. My original thought was to shoot for a 9:00-9:09 pace and attempt to come in under 4 hours but I am not sure if that is going to be possible on Sunday. The last thing that I want to do is injure myself or have a terrible race that lingers in my mind for my goal race in May. Looking back at my last marathon, the Long Beach Marathon, I went into that race feeling pretty confident about my goal because I had such a great race in May. 

I am really feeling thankful right now that I did not choose LA Marathon as my goal BQ race or I would be feeling pretty bummed right now. I am really hoping for a solid race where I don't hit the wall and I can cross the finish line in one piece wearing shoes that have about 400 miles on them! If I can come out of LA Marathon feeling strong even if it is not at the pace that I had originally hoped for, I will be somewhat satisfied. 

This week I will attempt two short and easy runs and hope for the best on Sunday. After this race, I am going to get busy looking for some new shoes and looking into out why I still have this lingering pain in my legs.